Biggest Nutrition Myths Debunked

Biggest Nutrition Myths Debunked! Nutrition is a vital part of any lifestyle but how much of what we know is a myth? Is peanut butter really a “healthy food” or is dark chocolate  the best way to go? Today’s awesome article from Yahoo will go a little more in depth on some of the things we thought we know about our food!

The Biggest Nutrition Myths

NUTRITION MYTH #1: Kale is our healthiest green.

A 2014 study at William Paterson University ranked fruits and vegetables by their nutrient density, based on their levels of 17 different nutrients that have been linked to improved cardiovascular health. Not surprisingly, the top 16 were all leafy greens, which pack the most nutrition per calorie. (Coming in at #17 was red bell peppers.) But kale didn’t even make the top 10. In fact, simple spinach and even Romaine lettuce beat the alleged supergreen, as did parsley and chives. Even stuff you normally throw away–the greens atop beets–pack more nutrition. (For the full breakdown.

NUTRITION MYTH #2: High fructose corn syrup is worse than table sugar.

Sugar is the master of disguise. Maltodextrin, brown rice syrup, dextrose, sucrose–it’s got more alter egos than the Avengers. But it’s most well-known costume is High Fructose Corn Syrup. Whether HFCS is worse than plain ol’ table sugar has long been a contentious issue. Here’s what you need to know: In a 2014 review of five studies comparing the effects of sugar and HFCS, there was no difference found in changes in blood glucose levels, lipid levels, or appetite between table sugar consumption and HFCS consumption. In other words, your body can’t tell one from the other—they’re both just sugar. HFCS’s real sin is that it’s super cheap, and as a result, it’s added to everything from cereal to ketchup to salad dressing. Is it a good idea to minimize the HFCS in your diet? Absolutely. It’s best to cut out all unnecessary sugars. But HFCS’s role as nutritional enemy #1 has been exaggerated. .

NUTRITION MYTH #3: Diet sodas help keep you slim.

The obesity-research community is becoming increasingly aware that the artificial sweeteners used in diet soda—aspartame and sucralose, for instance—lead to hard-to-control food urges later in the day. One Purdue study discovered that rats took in more calories if they’d been fed artificial sweeteners prior to mealtime, and a University of Texas study found that people who consume just three diet sodas per week were more than 40 percent more likely to be obese. Try weaning yourself off by switching to carbonated water and flavoring with lemon, cucumber, and fresh herbs.

Diet and regular drinkers alike, it’s finally time to kick the habit!

NUTRITION MYTH #4: Yogurt is good for the bacteria in your belly.

Sure, some yogurts contain beneficial bacteria that can send reinforcements to your gut when you need them. Lactobacillus acidophilus is the bacteria you want to look for, with yogurts that say “live active cultures.” But most yogurts are so high in sugar that they do more to promote unhealthy gut bacteria than anything else. (Unhealthy bacteria feed on sugar in your belly the same way they do around your teeth.

NUTRITION MYTH #5: Foods labeled “natural” are healthier.

The FDA makes no serious effort to control the use of the word “natural” on nutrition labels. Case in point: 7UP boasts that it’s made with “100% Natural Flavors” when, in fact, the soda is sweetened with a decidedly un-natural dose of high fructose corn syrup. “Corn” is natural, but “high fructose corn syrup” is produced using a centrifuge and a series of chemical reactions. Other “natural” abusers include Natural Cheetos, which are made with maltodextrin and disodium phosphate, and “natural advantage” Post Raisin Bran, which bathes its raisins in both sugar and corn syrup. The worst part is, you’re likely paying a premium price for common junk food.

NUTRITION MYTH #6: Dark Chocolate is good for you.

It would be great if all you had to do to eat healthy was look for chocolate bars that were darker than Kristen Stewart’s mascara. Unfortunately, the secret to unlocking the health benefits of chocolate are a bit more complicated than that. Plenty of studies have shown that polyphenols–nutrients found in darkly colored plant foods like chocolate–can do everything from lowering blood pressure to raising our ability to burn fat. A 2013 study in the journal Diabetic Medicine even found that eating dark chocolate lessened the effects of high blood sugar in diabetic patients. Unfortunately, the more chocolate is processed, the more of the polyphenols are lost. To get the health benefits that have been touted since the time of Montezeuma, look for a dark chocolate that says 70% cacao (or higher) on the label. Speaking of chocolate, we found a fruit that, no kidding, tastes exactly like chocolate pudding—discover what it’s called in our brand-new report: 8 Secret Superfoods That Help You Lose Weight and Burn Fat.

NUTRITION MYTH #7: Comfort food chases away the blues.

A bowl of tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich on a cold winter’s day. A big spoonful of mac & cheese when you’re down on your luck. Comfort food just makes you feel better, doesn’t it?

Actually, it doesn’t. In a 2014 study in the journal Health Psychology, aptly titled “The Myth of Comfort Food,” researchers showed participants depressing films to “induce a negative effect.” Then they gave them either comfort food, foods that weren’t considered comfort foods, or no food at all. Result: The subjects got over their bad moods in equal time, regardless of whether or not they ate. Is feeling bad a good excuse for eating bad? Turns out, it’s not. Cheer up–and start slimming down.

NUTRITION MYTH #8: Peanut butter is a health food.

In its best form, peanut butter actually is a health food. That’s because peanuts are packed with monounsaturated fats, the heart-healthy fat that actually helps you lose weight. Here’s what the ingredients of a healthy jar of peanut butter should read:

Peanuts.

But most peanut butter doesn’t look like that. Here’s what the label of Jif Reduced Fat Creamy Peanut Butter Spread reads like:

Peanuts, corn syrup solids, sugar, pea protein, salt, fully hydrogenated vegetable oils, mono and diglycerides, molasses, magnesium oxide, niacinamide, ferric orthophosphate, zinc oxide, copper sulfate, folic acid, pyridoxine hydrochloride

Now, I know your kids constantly beg you for seconds of fully hydrogenated vegetable oils, but is that something they need? Look for ”natural” peanut butter (Smucker’s and Justin’s both make great versions) and don’t be fooled by any low-fat promises. For more tricks to reduce calories easily—and uncover your abs in no time.

NUTRITION MYTH #9: “Multi-grain” and “wheat” breads are better than white bread.

Wait a minute–isn’t “multi-grain” one of the biggest buzzwords in nutrition? And haven’t we been trained to pick the wheat bread over the white at every turn? Yes, but unfortunately those labels are about as credible as your local congressman’s campaign promises. “Wheat bread” is generally white bread with caramel or molasses added to make it look dark and healthy. “Multi-grain” just means that different kinds of junky refined grains may have been used. Always look for the words “100% whole wheat” or “100% whole grain” on the package.

NUTRITION MYTH #10: Nutrition bars are actually nutritious. 

In a world where we really called it as it is, nutrition bars would be known by another name: calorie bars. Most of them are so polluted with additives that their ingredients list looks like Charlie Sheen’s blood test results. For example, PowerBar Vanilla Crisp touts itself as “fuel for optimum performance,” but unless you’re talking about a performance by The Chemical Brothers, we’re not sure exactly what they mean. With four different types of sugar, it packs more of the white stuff than an adult woman should eat in an entire day. If you like the idea of a snackable bar that packs in the nutrition, read the ingredients carefully: Brands like KIND, Larabar, and Clif have plenty of smart offerings. But most of what’s out there is just candy.

100% whole wheat is the way to go, especially considering how much of our diet bread takes up. Even with hamburger or hot dog buns, go with the 100% whole wheat. If you are eating carbs, might as well go for the one that are good for you!