From so-called superfoods to fitness fads to salvation diets your best friend swears by, there is a lot of nutrition information to wade through when deciding what to eat. Unfortunately, some of it is false and even damaging. So let's sort out a few of the more common food myths that might be compromising your health.
‘A "low-fat" diet is healthier’
The problem with low-fat foods purchased at the supermarket is what the companies replaced the fat with to make the food still taste good and have the right consistency. Low-fat options often have more sugar and man-made hydrogenated fats that are less healthy and natural. These foods also tend to be less filling so you crave more. A better plan is to be sure you are getting the healthy fats you need first and then choosing more food that naturally has less fat.
‘Carbs make you fat’
Carbohydrates that contain sugar or high fructose corn syrup (many processed carbs do) are undeniably bad for you. But simple food carbohydrates like rice and even bread and pasta are healthful in small to large doses, depending how active you are. Carbs are essential for highly active people and people trying to gain muscle.
‘We crave what we need’
We may be programmed through hormones and evolution to seek out high sugar, fat, and protein foods, but this is because food used to be scarce and our brain has formed happy associations, not because our body needs certain nutrients. With fatty sugary foods available on every corner, it has become more important to make healthy food choices in spite of what your gut may be telling you. It is not easy, but it is possible to retrain our brains to accept some other positive non-food response to cravings.
Healthy food choices these days require conscious effort and a better understanding of nutrition. It's certainly not as easy as the drive-thru menu, but it is important to stemming the tide of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. You could start by debunking one food myth at a time and making a simple change. The key may be eating more naturally complete foods. Happy and healthy eating to you!
Written by: Emmeline Hiatt