Did you know spicy food will give you ulcers? OK, while that may not be true, there will forever be those old adages that continue to stand the test of time (and science). Because let’s face it, wrapped under layers of ugly myths and lies, the truth just doesn’t look or sound exciting. It’s just not sexy.
So it’s time to strip and expose a few food myths, and get a nice look at the truth. Here’s 5 big fat ones:
1. One particular diet will save the world from obesity.
We’re all different. We have different tastes, different lifestyles, and different dietary habits. That’s why there’s no one particular diet that will solve everyone’s problems – so we should stop acting like there is. Especially respected personalities and health professionals that just want to sell their book.
Try different things. Find out what works for you, and when you find it, keep doing it.
2. Eating nuts makes you fat.
This myth is well and truly past it’s use-by date. In fact, eating tree nuts (such as cashews, walnuts, macadamias, etc) can actually reduce your risk of obesity.
Recent studies have also discovered that 15 percent of the calories in nuts are not digested by your body (they pass straight through); digesting nuts actually boosts your metabolism; and regular consumption of nuts is proven to reduce appetite.
The key thing to remember: just because some is good does not mean more is better. All studies so far are showing benefits with 1-2 handfuls (30-50g) maximum per day, so eating a whole bag of nuts each day may not be beneficial.
3. Eggs give you high cholesterol
Yes, eggs do contain cholesterol (in the yolk), but it’s not as dangerous as once believed.
The science is still unclear on the relationship between dietary cholesterol and our heart health. The evidence suggests the effects of dietary cholesterol (such as egg yolk) on our blood cholesterol is minimal at best, and thus does not significantly increase your health risks.
We also need to take into account all the protein, omega-3s, vitamins and minerals found in the yolk, which in a way offsets the extra cholesterol (if it is in fact bad).
4. Fresh veggies are more nutritious than frozen.
This is not true, there is no significant difference.
Many fresh vegetables in the shop can actually take several days to get there, and after purchase we often might only use them several days later that week. During this time of prolonged travel and storage some nutrients can be lost due to heat and/or light, particularly vitamin C and B-vitamins.
Frozen vegetables are generally snap frozen – that is they are readily frozen only hours after harvest. This ensures the nutrients are snap frozen as well, and remain there from farm to fridge, and from fridge to plate.
The main point of focus should be how we cook our vegetables. Generally the more they’re cooked, the more nutrients are lost — especially if we cook them in water ie. boiled veggies.
5. Follow a “Paleo diet” to eat like your ancestors.
Big fat lie right here. It’s based on false pretences which you can view in an 18-minute Tedx talk here.
In fact Paleo is just a sexy name for “eat natural, unprocessed foods, mainly meat and vegetables – but not wheat or rice or dairy.”
For those unfamiliar, the Paleo diet is all about eating like our Paleolithic ancestors – the hunter gatherer style diet that existed prior to the birth of agricultural foods such as rice, wheat and dairy.
But those who think they’re eating Paleo are actually far from it.
If you truly wanted to eat Paleo you’d first need to practice intermittent fasting, going days without any food (simulating famine). Despite what you’ve seen on the Flintstones, Paleolithic man did not sit at the stone dining table each day to enjoy three hearty meals with the family.
You’d also have to be a big fan of tasty insects, because they’re good for you.
Plus if you did manage to slaughter a wild grass-fed beast, you’d need to eat all parts of it – brains, eyes, intestines, heart, bone marrow, everything. And you need to drink the blood too.
How’s Paleo sounding now?
Are there any big food myths or lies that I’ve missed?