Over the years and through the diet fads, we've seen (and heard) a lot of bizarre claims when it comes to your food.
1. Brown eggs are better for you.
What's cracking? Despite the higher price tag, that carton of brown eggs has the exact same nutritional breakdown as those boring white eggs. They just come from a different breed of hen, giving the shell a darker pigment. If you're looking to get the most out of your eggs, splurge instead on omega-3 packed cartons. Look for both EPA and DHA on the label to optimize your absorption of this oh-so-important vitamin.
2. Wine is good for your heart.
A cup of red wine in the evening has been touted as a health perk, and a significant one at that. While it does offer some helpful nutrients
, it's usually overdone by those partaking.The incidence of cardiovascular disease in those who drink these moderate amounts is actually lower than in nondrinkers," Dr. Sinatra (website above) says, "But increased intake eliminates any possible benefits and raises the risk for problems."
3. Grilled Chicken burgers are healthier than hamburgers.
This is one that surprises most of us. In truth, grilled chicken burgers contain more calories than it's lean-beef cousin alternative: a hamburger patty might have 250 calories, but a chicken burger can have roughly 350! Not only are they more calorie-heavy, but chicken can be loaded up with sodium, as well. A basic chicken burger with lettuce, tomato and mayo could clock in at over 1,300 milligrams of sodium - more than half of your daily recommended intake. The difference is that a lot of restaurants use a salt-water solution in their chicken to help keep it moist, but this has a toll when a chicken burger has twice the amount of salt as the typical hamburger.
The good news is that beef burgers may not be as bad for your heart as once feared. At least in portions - a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
has found that a daily consumption of five ounces of lean ground beef as a part of a healthy diet lowered cholesterol the same as those who consumed less beef. Sounds good to us!
4. Fruit is a freebie when it comes to your diet.
Raw fruit is great for you, and packed with vitamins and nutrients we all need. But it's also full of sugars (though if you're consuming sugar, this is the stuff to choose). A lot of diets overlook fruit, even weightloss plans and experts often gloss over renegade fruit snacking or even encourage it throughout the day - if you're going to snack on a diet, fruit is a good choice, but it isn't exactly a freebie. Calories you take in from any source all act the same, so sometimes it's a little misleading when a diet lets you eat as much fruit as you want while targeting a certain number of caloric intake.
5. Organic fruit and veg have more nutrients.
"Organic" is another label that has exploded in recent years, especially among those with concern about GMO and even naturalists. The cost of organic produce is higher than 'regular' non-organic stuff, so sometimes the argument comes up that it's better for you to buy organic. Avoiding excess chemicals, although they're not technically harmful (or not proven to be yet, at least), definitely seems like a plus to most of us. But when it comes to vitamins and nutrients in the fruit, there's no advantage that organic produce has over conventional. But if you are interested in buying organic, we recommend buying organic fruit with skin that you eat, such as apples.
6. Wheat is evil.
The gluten-free diet is all the rage these days, and a lot of people are torn on wither it's helpful or just a fad diet. Either way, only about 7% of Americans have reason to actually avoid gluten due to celiac disease or a sensitivity.
It's true that wheat is a carb, but whole grains also offer a lot of important nutrients, including folate. And not only can avoiding grains reduce your vitamin intake, but you could actually find yourself gaining weight; whole grains boost the level of serotonin in your brain. Serotonin is a feel-good chemical that can reduce our urge to snack, so when we're lacking in it we're more compelled to eat to get it back.
7. Cooked vegetables are hollow
To be fair, some vegetables do lose nutrients when they're cooked. But some also get better for us as they're cooked, and not just in taste. For instance, the cancer-fighting lycopene found in tomatoes increases as much as 35% when they're cooked. Beta-carotine in carrots and corn also 'unlocks' when it's cooked as heat can release anti-oxidants from the veg. But that same heat breaks down water-soluble vitamins like vitamin C, which is where this myth has it's roots. A good balance of both is definitely the way to go! How do you prefer your vegetables?
For ideas on how to balance your meals and avoid these food myths, check out the BodyRock Meal Plan!