What are food myths? These are commonly accepted nutrition related statements backed up by explanations that may “sound” correct. Most of the explanations are either incorrect, not backed up by data or scientific research, or traditions that no longer hold true. The reason why it is so easily believed is that it might be true for a set of people that are held up as an example. A ridiculous example is saying “yellow is bad for the eye” – true, only if you have an autistic phobia for it.
Below are some of the most widespread and biggest food myths in the world. We filter the truth from the half-truths and discard all the silliness in-between.
EGGS AND CHICKENS
Myth: “Eggs and egg yolk are bad for your heart.”
Truth: cholesterol is the fatty stuff in our blood that contributes to clogged arteries and heart attacks and Eggs do contain a substantial amount of cholesterol in their yolks. However, the chief heart-disease culprits are “saturated and trans-fats, which have much greater impact on raising blood cholesterol,”
Caution: if you have a history of heart problems or diabetes or are over 55 (women) or 45 (men), It is recommended that you limit your cholesterol—like two eggs over the course of the week.
Myth: “Remove the skin of the chicken before cooking.”
Truth: Baking, broiling, grilling, or roasting chicken with the skin intact helps preserve its natural juices. Skinning the chicken only decreases the juiciness of the meat; it has no effect on the fat or calorie count. Feel free to remove the skin after cooking, if you don’t like it.
VEGETABLES AND FRUITS
Myth: “Fresh vegetables and fruits are more nutritious than frozen or canned ones”
Truth: This only holds true if you have a tree in your backyard or a vegetable garden. The “fresh” fruits section is packed with fruits that are days or weeks old since they were picked. Once picked, these fresh fruits and vegetables release natural enzymes that cause them to lose nutrients. In contrast, food processors quick-freeze fresh-picked produce, which preserves much of its vitamin and mineral content.
Caution: Thoroughly wash any fruit or vegetables you pick by yourself.
Myth: “Carrots lose their nutrition if cooked”
Truth: Cooking carrots break down tough cell walls and cause the release of beta-carotene. Cooked carrots are actually more nutritious than uncooked ones.
Myth: “It is better to eat vegetables raw than to cook them”
Truth: Unprocessed raw food has nothing taken away from it. However, the enzymes in them are essential for plant survival, not man’s. They don’t aid in digestion as they are deactivated (denatured) by the time they reach our bellies if cooking hasn’t. Even the microorganisms present in fermented food contribute very little to human digestion. It is quite silly to believe our body has a limited supply the enzymes needed for proper functioning.
Caution: Above a certain heat level, food nutrients (not enzymes) get leached away from the food. It was discovered that steaming kept intact the most number of nutrients including soluble fiber, vitamin C and glucosinolate (has cancer-fighting properties).
Myth: “Radiation from microwaves creates dangerous chemicals in our food.”
Truth: “Radiation” refers to energy that travels in waves and spreads out as it goes. Microwaves, radio waves, infrared, visual light, X-rays and gamma rays— all are forms of radiation. Only X-rays and gamma rays pose health concerns. Microwaves used to cook foods are way weaker than the dangerous X-rays and gamma rays, and even the benign visual light. The Microwave is not different from conventional cooking.
Caution: Use only microwave-safe containers. Some plastics may leach compounds into your food if used in a microwave.
Myth: “Microwaving destroys food nutrients.”
Truth: Microwaving is the next best method of cooking after steaming when it comes to preserving nutrients; better than with stir-frying and boiling. Since microwave cooking often cooks foods more quickly, it can actually help to minimize loss of certain heat- and water-sensitive nutrients, especially vitamin C and thiamin [a B vitamin].
Caution: Irrespective of the source of heat, it’s the heat and the amount of time spent cooking that affect nutrient loss. The longer and hotter you cook a food, the more nutrient will be lost.”
VITAMIN C AND COLD
Myth: “Vitamin C can keep you from catching a cold.”
Truth: Research has shown that vitamin C does not ward off colds, except among marathoners, skiers, and soldiers on sub-Arctic exercises.
Caution: It is a good tactic to scare your kids into taking their vitamins and fruits seriously. Just let them know the truth when they are older.
Myth: “Carbohydrates make you fat.”
Truth: Carbs are laden with high levels of serotonin which can boost moods. Eating a balanced diet of carbs can actually promote weight loss, as they are full of dietary fiber. You need carbs for fuel and energy and to metabolize fats. Choosing the healthiest carbohydrates, especially whole grains, is more important to your well-being. At least seven major studies show that women and men who eat whole grains have 20 to 30 percent less heart disease.
Caution: There’s nothing inherently fattening about carbohydrates, but consuming too many calories can make you fat. You should stay off sugary and refined-carbohydrate-rich foods, such as white bread, pasta, and doughnuts, which can raise your risk of developing health problems like heart disease and diabetes.
Myth: “A low-fat diet is healthy.”
Truth: Unsaturated fats are the ones our bodies need and use. They have been associated with lower blood cholesterol, and are found in foods such as oils, nuts, seeds, avocado, and oily fish. Low-fat products are only useful when they are helping you to reduce your intake of saturated fat, the type of fat associated with high cholesterol and heart disease risk.
Caution: Stay of saturated fat and such. Do not cut out fat entirely, only ensure that you’re eating the right kind.