‘Low-carb’ means ‘grain-free’
Carbohydrates include highly processed foods, like crackers, chips, bread, and breakfast cereal. What some don’t know, though, is that the category also includes berries, spinach, beans, lentils, and plant-based foods that contain fiber and a variety of health-promoting nutrients. Something can be low-carb and still contain grains!
Carbs are bad (and should be avoided)
Consuming high-fiber, unrefined carbohydrates — whole grains, legumes, fruit, and vegetables — is linked to a reduced risk of chronic disease, says Abbey Sharp, RD, a registered dietitian in Toronto and the author of The Mindful Glow Cookbook. A series of research reviews backs up this notion. “Stop fearing all carbs,” Sharp says.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day
There isn’t anything special about breakfast or what time of the day that you eat at! You shouldn’t go about a busy day without fuelling up first to stop you feeling exhausted and to make sure you have a high enough blood-sugar; however, if you’re not doing anything all day, going for a big lunch instead is fine too.
Snacking is bad for you
Snacking takes the edge off your hunger and can work both for or against you, depending on what you’re eating. Experts recommend apples, walnuts, bananas, carrots, hummus, and bean dip as nutritious snacks. Skip highly processed vending machine food that will spike (and then crash) your blood sugar.
Always eat fresh produce
“Sometimes, frozen produce may be healthier than fresh,” says Sharp. “Frozen produce is often flash frozen at the peak of ripeness, while some fresh produce is picked before it’s ripe.” The nutrition in fresh produce may degrade as it’s shipped to stores, according to research.
Always eat local food
It can be really hard to eat locally, and the price for this kind of produce is often elevated in supermarkets. All in all, eating locally produced food is a worthy aim. However, the most important goal is to eat more fruits and vegetables — even if they were grown far away.
Organic produce is better than conventional
If you can afford organic, eat organic. Organic produce contains fewer potentially harmful chemical residues, according to research. But if it’s out of your budget, buy conventional, and rinse it off before eating to reduce the amount of pesticide residue. The most important thing is eating more fruits and vegetables!
You need to detox or reset
You can go on a juice cleanse all you want, but it might not make you feel any better. The beauty of having organs, such as lungs, skin, kidneys, and a liver, is that your body relies on them to detox your body naturally, says Dr Sharp: “You don’t need to buy an expensive detox program to improve your health.”
You should avoid gluten
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley, according to the Celiac Disease Foundation. About 90 percent of people are gluten tolerant and consume these foods just fine! What’s more, research shows that among people who believed they were sensitive to gluten, 86 percent could eat it just fine. Unless you have celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity, ‘gluten free’ is a misguided diet trend.
Low-fat versions of food are better for you
Skip fat and you’re skipping out on the most satiating nutrient. Plus, low-fat foods often backfire and are unhealthy in other ways: “These alternatives are often higher in sodium and sugar to make up for the lack of mouthfeel [from removing the fat], so they’re not necessarily healthier,” says Dr Sharp.
Green juice is good for you
As much as these drinks might look good on your Instagram, blending up anything actually strips it of it’s fiber content and makes it a more saturated source of sugar. Your body also doesn’t have to work as hard to break down liquids, so you burn less calories digesting something that is juiced.
Sweet potatoes are healthier than white potatoes
The humble white potato gets short shrift, but it shouldn’t. “People demonize potatoes over sweet potatoes, but the nutrient composition is quite similar,” says Dr Sharp. Sweet potatoes have more vitamin A and an additional gram of fiber, but white potatoes have more potassium (essential for helping regulate blood sugar), she says.
Beans are toxic
Beans, like many plants, contain natural compounds called antinutrients, such as lectins and phytic acid. These compounds can interfere with the absorption of minerals like calcium and iron and may cause digestive discomfort in some people. However, cooking beans properly can significantly reduce the levels of antinutrients, making them safe to eat.
A glass of red wine is good for your heart
Despite some positive headlines, the belief that red wine is inherently good for heart health is oversimplified. While red wine contains antioxidants like resveratrol, excessive alcohol consumption can have detrimental effects on the heart, including elevated blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, and increased risk of heart disease. Red wine should always be consumed in moderation.
Eggs will kill you
The misconception that eggs are toxic often stems from concerns about cholesterol content. While eggs do contain dietary cholesterol, research shows that they don’t significantly impact blood cholesterol levels in most people. Eggs are nutrient-dense and provide essential proteins and vitamins, making them a valuable part of a healthy diet when consumed in moderation.
Nuts will make you gain weight
Nuts are nutrient-rich and can support weight management due to their satiating fiber and healthy fats. The misconception that nuts lead to weight gain may arise from their calorie density. However, studies suggest that nuts can be part of a balanced diet, potentially aiding weight control when portions are controlled and incorporated into a calorie-conscious plan.
There is one perfect diet plan for everyone
You always have to find what works for you, and never follow fad diets that leave you lacking in nutrients. Every diet wants its followers to believe it is the tops, but “there is no such thing as a perfect diet,” says Dr Sharp. “The best diet is the one that promotes variety in nutrients, adds enjoyment, and can easily be sustained without a sense of deprivation.”
Calories in, calories out is all that matters
Folks looking to lose weight have heard this rallying cry, but diet quality matters when it comes to your health and ability to lose weight, says Sharp. Research has shown that as long as you’re eating a high-quality diet, you can lose weight temporarily on a low-fat or low-carb diet.
Meat is needed for a balanced diet
Some of the healthiest diets in the world, like the Mediterranean diet, for example, contain very little meat or none at all. If you want to eat meat then, by all means, cook that steak. However, if you want to save the animals, reduce your carbon footprint and un-clog your arteries – the less meat, the better.
Fatty foods make you fat
The notion that fatty foods inherently cause weight gain oversimplifies nutrition. Healthy fats, found in avocados, nuts, and olive oil, are essential for bodily functions and can promote satiety. Excessive calorie intake from any source, not just fats, leads to weight gain. A well-balanced diet includes good fats and portion control.
You need to have five fruits and vegetables a day
Although, in an ideal world, you would try and get this many fruits/vegetables in your daily diet, it can be very hard! On top of this, fresh produce is not always accessible or the most cost-effective option. The bottom line is that you should try and eat as much fruit and vegetables as you can, but don’t make yourself feel bad if you can’t get all five in everyday.
“Superfoods” can cure any ailment
The idea that superfoods can cure any ailment is misleading. While nutrient-rich foods do provide health benefits, no single food can cure all issues. A holistic approach to nutrition, including a variety of foods, balanced diet, exercise, and medical care, is essential for overall well-being and treating specific ailments.
Red meat is unhealthy
The myth that red meat is categorically unhealthy is as fishy as a vegan shark! While overindulging in fatty cuts may raise health concerns, lean red meats can be a part of a balanced diet. It’s not the cow, it’s the “how” – preparing and enjoying red meat sensibly alongside colorful veggies can be a delicious and nutritious choice. Just don’t expect it to moo-ve mountains on its own!
You need to drink eight glasses of water a day
The “eight glasses a day” water rule is like a hydration hiccup—more of an old wives’ tale than a medical mandate. Thirst varies among individuals, so forcing down eight glasses daily might feel like swimming with a waterlogged duck. Listen to your body; when you’re thirsty, drink up! Remember, even a cactus doesn’t need eight glasses a day to thrive in the desert.
Eating late at night will make you gain weight
Good news for all you midnight snackers! It’s more about what and how much you eat. Sure, a midnight pizza feast isn’t the brightest idea, but a balanced late-night snack isn’t a death sentence. Your metabolism doesn’t clock out at 8 PM, so munch on, but don’t make it a Netflix binge-eating marathon.
Coffee stunts your growth
The belief that coffee stunts growth likely originated from concerns about caffeine’s impact on children. Caffeine, when consumed excessively, can affect sleep patterns, leading to potential growth issues in children. However, the idea was based on outdated research and is not well-supported by current scientific understanding. There is no substantial evidence to suggest that moderate coffee consumption inhibits physical growth in adults.
Sugar causes hyperactivity in children
The belief that sugar makes children hyperactive has been a common misconception for years. This notion likely emerged because sugar is often associated with the high energy levels of children. However, numerous studies have failed to establish a consistent link between sugar consumption and hyperactivity.
Brown eggs are healthier than white eggs
This notion may arise from the idea that brown eggs come from free-range or organic chickens, which are perceived as healthier. In reality, the color of the eggshell is determined by the breed of the chicken and has no direct relationship with the egg’s nutritional value. Both brown and white eggs can be equally nutritious and healthy.
Sea salt is a healthier alternative to table salt
The perception that sea salt is healthier than table salt arises from the belief that it’s less processed and more natural. While sea salt does retain some minerals from the sea, the differences in mineral content are minimal, and both salts are primarily sodium chloride. The health benefits are largely the same, but the marketing of sea salt has contributed to this misconception.
Microwaving food decreases it’s nutritional value
Microwaving food can actually be one of the better methods for preserving nutritional value. Like other cooking methods, microwaving can cause some nutrient loss due to heat and water exposure, but it’s generally a shorter cooking time and uses less water compared to boiling or steaming. Therefore, it may retain more nutrients in some cases.
Drinking diet soda is better than regular soda
Sugar-free sodas, which are sweetened with artificial sweeteners like aspartame or sucralose, are often marketed as a healthier alternative to regular sugary sodas due to their lower calorie content. They can be a better choice if you are trying to reduce your sugar and calorie intake. However, it’s essential to be aware of potential health concerns associated with artificial sweeteners.
You should avoid all sugars
You don’t need to completely avoid all sugar, as some sugars occur naturally in fruits, vegetables, and dairy products, which are part of a healthy diet. However, it’s wise to limit added sugars, like those in sugary snacks, soft drinks, and desserts. Excessive added sugar consumption is linked to various health problems, including obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Raw food is always healthier than cooked food
The healthiness of raw food versus cooked food depends on various factors, including the type of food, your digestive system, and your nutritional needs. Cooking can make some nutrients more accessible and kill harmful bacteria, making certain foods safer to consume. In some cases, cooking can destroy or reduce antinutrients, substances that interfere with nutrient absorption. In short, there is no one-size-fits-all answer.
If you exercise, you can eat whatever you want
No, exercising doesn’t give you a free pass to eat whatever you want without consequences. While exercise can help burn calories and improve overall health, a healthy diet remains crucial. Proper nutrition supports your fitness goals, energy levels, and overall well-being.
Plant-based diets can’t be tasty
The misconception that vegan diets can’t be tasty often stems from unfamiliarity and stereotypes. People might associate veganism with a limited range of foods, lack of flavor, or bland, unappetizing meals. However, many delicious vegan dishes are rich in flavors, textures, and creative combinations of ingredients.
Cheese gives you nightmares
The idea that cheese gives you nightmares is likely rooted in the belief that consuming certain foods before bedtime can affect your sleep. Cheese, like other foods high in the amino acid tryptophan, can theoretically promote relaxation and sleep. However, it’s important to note that there’s no scientific evidence to suggest that eating cheese, or any specific food, directly causes nightmares.
Asparagus makes your pee smell
Asparagus can cause some people’s urine to develop a distinct odor due to the presence of sulfur-containing compounds. Not everyone can detect this odor, and the ability to smell it varies from person to person. This phenomenon has been observed for centuries and is well-documented, leading to the not necessarily incorrect belief that asparagus makes your urine smell.
Carrots help you see in the dark
The belief that carrots help you see in the dark is rooted in World War II propaganda. During the war, the British Royal Air Force developed a radar system that greatly improved nighttime bombing accuracy. To keep this technology a secret, the British government spread the false story that their pilots had excellent night vision because they consumed a diet rich in carrots.
Beans give you flatulence
“Beans, beans good for the heart; the more you eat, the more you…” Beans contain some carbohydrates called oligosaccharides, such as raffinose and stachyose. These carbs are hard to digest, and can cause gas production in the large intestine. Properly cooking and soaking beans can help reduce gas production.
Soy milk is bad for your health
Soy contains compounds called phytoestrogens, which can mimic the hormone estrogen in the body. Some people worry that these compounds could disrupt hormonal balance, particularly in men. The truth is that you’d have to be drinking an awful lot of soy milk lattes for your hormonal balance to actually be affected.