15 Food “Facts” You Need to Forget
We all want to eat healthy and be good to our bodies, but with all the fads, trends, diets, new products and claims, it’s no wonder we don’t know up from down anymore. The package may say “all natural,” but flip to the ingredient list, and you may start to question that claim. It’s about time that we started following our gut, avoiding the hype, educating ourselves and eating smart real food. We dished on 18 snacks that aren’t as healthy as they seem, and now we’re setting the record straight on some food “facts” that need to be forgotten.
1. Probiotic Yogurt: It’s true that probiotics do a wonderful job maintaining healthy flora in the tummy, yet most of the yogurt brands stating this claim are filled with lots of sugar, negating the health effects of probiotics. Be good to your gut, opt for plain flavors and don’t fall for the gimmick. (via Liv Whole)
2. “All Natural” Food Labels: You know that package of crunchy, cheesy Cheetos that claims to be “all natural?” You feel good about buying that bag of crunchy goodness because “all natural” means healthy, right?! Sorry, unless that label is on meat or poultry (translating to no artificial coloring, flavors or irradiation), you’re outta luck. That “all natural” claim holds no meaning when it’s on a bag of Cheetos. It’s simply a word that’s not regulated or defined by the FDA. If you want all natural, look to your garden. (via Vox)
3. Whole Grain Processed Foods: Big food companies have convinced us through some stellar marketing ads that products made with whole grains are more nutritious. Now, a box of Fruit Loops made with “whole grains” is understood by consumers to be healthy. The truth is, processed food is processed food. The cereal, bread or crackers you’re putting in your grocery cart may be made with whole grains, but because they’re processed, the nutritional benefits that whole grains have to offer is null and void. For the real deal, turn to quinoa, brown rice or oatmeal. (via Bowflex Insider)
4. Gluten-Free: Speaking of grains, what about this gluten-free craze? Some of the people submitting themselves to a gluten-free diet don’t even know what gluten is! A label that reads gluten-free doesn’t mean it’s healthy. These foods can be processed and full of sugar and filled with artificial ingredients, too. Those diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten sensitivities, need to eat gluten-free, but it’s not a weight-loss program, people. (via Good Housekeeping)
5. Low-Fat Foods: The next time you’re at the supermarket and you reach for that low-fat product, pick up the full-fat one and compare ingredient labels. You’ll find that “low-fat” is synonymous with salt, sugar and cheap carbs. The fats are replaced with inexpensive ingredients to impact the taste. Don’t feel regret. Simply stop counting calories, eat less processed foods and reach for the full-fat product. It’s actually better for you. (via Men’s Health)
6. Vegetarians Don’t Get Enough Protein: We tend to associate protein with meat. However, protein doesn’t have to walk or squawk on two to four legs. In fact, protein thrives in beans, whole grains, nuts, seeds and leafy greens. Don’t fall prey to the myth. Some of the strongest animals on earth are plant eaters, e.g. elephants, hippos and gorillas. (via Parents)
7. Eggs: This egg-ceptional breakfast staple can’t crack its bad rap with cholesterol. Yet eggs are one of the healthiest foods you can eat. To unscramble this myth, it’s important to understand that eggs do contain cholesterol, but they do not raise the amount of cholesterol in humans. Don’t crack on eggs; eat ‘em! They’re full of healthy vitamins and minerals, and if you can get your hands on farm fresh eggs, even better. (via Live Science)
8. Brown Eggs vs White Eggs: At the store, brown eggs typically cost more than white eggs, making them appear to be more nutritious. Not true. The color of the egg is determined by the breed of chicken. White hens lay white eggs; brown hens lay brown eggs. It’s as simple as that. So why the price hike on brown eggs? It’s all a matter of size. Brown hens produce larger eggs. Take your pick. There really isn’t a difference. (via Huffington Post)
9. Brown Bread vs. White Bread: Brown bread is supposed to be filled with healthy grains and minerals, but this isn’t always the case. When it comes to brown bread, read the label before you buy. Some manufacturers have tricks up their sleeves and add caramel coloring to turn bread brown, making it no better than white bread. (via Health)
10. Chocolate: Death by Chocolate isn’t only the name of a decadent dessert. Some believe that chocolate really is that bad for you. We’re all too familiar with the phrase “everything in moderation” and it definitely holds true for chocolate. In ancient Aztec culture, chocolate was used as a ritualistic energy drink. However, that Aztec chocolate was no Hershey Kiss! We’re talking deep, dark, antioxidant-rich, bitter chocolate. So, make like an Aztec god and indulge… in moderation. (via Self)
11. Olive Oil: It’s been said that cooking with olive oil, aka the healthiest fat on earth, destroys its nutritional benefits. RETHINK! This healthy oil can take the heat without compromising any of its shining antioxidant powers. Just be sure to keep the oil from heating past its smoking point (405°F). Otherwise all those vitamins and antioxidants go up in smoke. (via Cooking Light)
12. Sea Salt vs. Table Salt: Here’s the skinny on sea salt containing less sodium than table salt… get ready ’cause we’re shaking things up around here. Both salts contain the same amount of sodium. What sea salt does have on table salt is that it’s less processed. But when it comes to sodium intake, these two salt shakers are created equal. (via NY Daily News)
13. Adding Salt to the Cooking Pot: If you learned to cook from your grandmother, then you probably throw a little salt into the cooking pot before blanching veggies. Well, thanks to Grandma, this little hack ensures that the nutrients from your broccoli don’t leach. The addition of salt also amps up the cooking process, so veggies won’t lose nutrients due to overcooking. Remember, a spoonful of salt makes your blanched veggies nutritious! (via Cooking Light)
14. Red Wine: Oy, this one changes every other month. Harvard researchers have found that red wine contains resveratrol, a compound which is found in the skin of grapes and actually “improves health and lifespan in yeast, roundworms, bees, flies and mice.” On the flip side, the antioxidant supposedly has zero benefits for increased longevity, reduced inflammation, heart disease or cancer when consumed in low doses, according to the journal JAMA Internal Medicine. How about we go back to that “in moderation” thing. (via JAMA Internal Medicine, image via Boston Magazine)
15. Coffee: For some, this may be a VERY necessary morning ritual. For others, it’s comparable to drinking jet fuel. Coffee benefits and downsides yo-yo from one year to the next. Some studies show that the roasted bean fights cancer, decreases inflammation, is good for the heart and increases longevity. On the other hand, it causes jitters, a racing heart and insomnia. Here’s what you should really be doing: Minimize your coffee intake to one or two cups per day, stay away from added sugars and heavy creams (sorry, Double Tall Skinny Caramel Lattè!), try to stick to organic beans and skip flavors or fancy schmancy novelty coffees. Those things just mean extra additives. (via Mind Body Green)
Okay myth busters, any food “facts” out there that need some explaining? Dish ’em out in the comments below.
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