Health Food Myths

1. Eggs are unhealthy

Egg yolks contain a significant amount cholesterol and have for years been deemed to be unhealthy. What studies have shown is that it is not the cholesterol we eat that affects our blood cholesterol, but the foods that the body uses to make cholesterol (i.e. saturated, trans-fat and refined carbohydrates). The current guideline is 6 eggs per week, either one a day or 2 every second day.

2. Carbohydrates make you fat

It is not just one nutrient, but overindulgence of ANY nutrient that can make you fat. It is true that the sugary, refined carbohydrate rich foods are unhealthy for our body and may cause weight gain, but only because they cause unstable blood sugar levels, often cause cravings, and this generally leads to overindulgence. Carbohydrates such as dairy (milk and yoghurt), fruit, legumes, starchy veg as well as some grains such as brown rice, quinoa and oats are a healthy addition to meals. But remember that for best control of blood sugars it is best to add lean protein and healthy fat with the carbohydrates.

3. Potatoes are unhealthy

Potatoes are a good source of fibre, potassium and vitamin C, but they have been given a bad rep because they are white and are a high GI food (raises the blood sugar level quickly). The potato is also a food that many people overindulge in, especially when it has been prepared in an unhealthy way. Roast potatoes, slap chips, crisps are definitely an unhealthy choice, but a medium sized baked potato added to your meal of protein and veggies is a perfectly healthy choice (and the ‘meal’ is not high GI because of the protein and veggies).

4. Fruit is unhealthy because it contains too much sugar

It is true that fruit contains sugar, but this does not make it an unhealthy food choice. Firstly, the sugar is fructose rather than sucrose (you want to try to avoid added sucrose and specifically limit foods that are high in this added sugar, such as sweets, biscuits, chocolates and fizzy drinks).

As well as containing sugar, fruits are also a good source of vitamins, minerals and fibre, so if you eat fruit you are getting healthy energy as well as other goodness. Fruit are a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth, but remember portion is important. You should not overeat on any food, healthy or unhealthy!

5. Certain foods can burn fat and make you lose weight quickly

People often believe that foods like grapefruit, celery or cabbage soup willhelp them lose weight. These are healthy foods which you could definitely incorporate into your daily diet, but they don’t contain any magic ingredients that ‘burns’ fat and helps you to lose weight.

6. Frozen vegetables are not as healthy as the fresh ones

Frozen vegetables are just as nutritious. This is because they are picked and packaged at their peak, which is when the nutrient levels are the highest. Fresh produce has often started losing some of its nutrients along the pathway from picking to buying. Frozen vegetables are also very convenient, allowing you to have vegetables available at all times.

7. Calories eaten at night are more fattening

Calories are calories, whether eaten at night or during the day. However, I have found that when people eat too little during the day the tendency is to eat too much at night, leading to weight gain because of the overindulgence. Bottom line is you can eat a good supper meal (with healthy carbs), just don’t overindulge!

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