Food myths are all over the place, and I love to bust them! Here are five common beliefs that are closer to fiction than fact.
1. All organic food is healthy. Organic food is better for you, farmers, and the earth because it is produced without synthetic pesticides, chemical fertilizers, genetically modified organisms, irradiation processes, industrial solvents, or chemical food additives. BUT, organic foods can be high in calories, sugar, fat, etc. as well as highly processed and refined – which is why it’s still important to eat mostly real, whole, unprocessed foods.
2. Multi-grain bread is whole grain. Many multi-grain products are made from refined white flour with a few seeds or whole grains thrown in for texture. Here’s how to tell if a product is truly whole grain, and how to stop being duped by bread and cereal labels.
3. Starchy vegetables are bad for you. When people are dieting, they sometimes pass on potatoes, carrots, peas, corn, and other vegetables considered too “starchy” to be good for weight loss. But the reality is no one gets fat or stays fat because of vegetables. Even the starchy veggies are packed with nutrients, and eating a variety of veggies of all kinds is a healthy habit we should all practice. Here are 5 veggies with an undeserving bad rap, and why you should eat them.
4. Low-fat foods are low in calories. Yes, vegetables are low in fat and low in calories, but low-fat graham crackers and low-fat peanut butter are essentially the same as their regular versions. These packaged foods have a little less fat but more sugar, so the calories are about the same. And, research shows that when a package label says low-fat, people tend to eat a larger portion, which means more calories. When it comes to snack foods, it’s often better to go for the regular variety and keep your portions small.
5. Granola is a health food. Granola sounds healthy, because it’s made of grains and nuts. But most granolas are loaded with sweeteners, oil or butter, and huge amounts of nuts and seeds which are fine in moderation, but high in fat and calories. When enjoying granola, keep portions small (e.g. sprinkle 1/4 cup on a bowl of plain yogurt with fruit) so you don’t overdo it on the calories, and if you don’t make homemade, choose a brand with ingredients you can easily recognize.