If you’ve always heard that carbs will make you pack on the pounds or eggs will raise your cholesterol, you have fallen prey to two popular nutrition rumors. Having knowledge of nutrition is an important step to a healthier you, so get your facts straight right away! We’ll fill you in on the truth behind the 10 most popular diet myths.
MYTH: Carbs make you gain weight.
FACT: The most efficient and effective form of energy is a carbohydrate. For more energy and improved brain function, be sure to focus on eating the right types of carbs (high fiber) in the appropriate amounts.
MYTH: Only fresh fruit provides nutrient content.
FACT: Actually, frozen fruit and fruit packed in its own juice are often similar to, or potentially higher, in nutritional value than fresh fruit since the nutrients are preserved quickly after harvest. Get your 7 – 10 daily servings of fruit and vegetables any way you can! For example, try DOLE Fruit Bowls® all natural fruit in 100% juice, which offers one full serving of fruit and no artificial flavors
MYTH: Eggs raise cholesterol.
FACT: Eggs contain cholesterol but dietary cholesterol has little effect on human cholesterol. The real culprit is saturated fat in items such as meat, high fat dairy and processed foods. A large egg contains 2 grams of saturated fat, so if you do have high cholesterol, limit your consumption to 2 yolks per week.
MYTH: When managing weight, you should limit the quantity of fruits and vegetables you eat.
FACT: Vegetables are freebies – unlimited. At only 30 – 50 calories per cup, when prepared in a healthy manner, they fill us up while providing fiber, color and volume to our meals. Three fruit servings per day are ideal, but even if we did consume more, it is a better choice than refined sweets. Please note, those with pre-diabetes or diabetes should stick to 2 – 3 fruits per day.
MYTH: You should avoid fish due to mercury content.
FACT: In general, the heart-healthy benefits of eating fish outweigh the potential risks of mercury. Women in childbearing years and children should limit fish to twice per week. However, for most of us, eat a variety of seafood, choose smaller fish and keep portions to 4 ounces for most women and 6 ounces for most men per meal.
MYTH: Butter is better for you than margarine.
FACT: Butter is high in saturated fat, which raises cholesterol, and traditional margarine has trans fat, which increases risk of heart disease. Your best choice is actually one of the new, oil-based tub-spread margarines with no trans fat and 2 grams or less of saturated fat per tablespoon. Nutritional guidelines allow for no more than 10 grams saturated fat per day for women and children and 16 grams for men.
MYTH: Olive oil is good for you so use as much as you want.
FACT: If you want to gain weight, use olive oil freely! While olive oil has anti-inflammatory properties from the omega 3 fatty acids, you still need to use sparingly if trying to manage weight. One tablespoon is 120 calories, plenty to use for sautéing, roasting vegetables or making a vinaigrette.
MYTH: Turkey sandwiches are always healthy.
FACT: Most deli turkey contains nitrates, preservatives that are being attributed to heart disease. There are nitrate-free varieties available, just be sure to check the package. The ingredient list should not have ‘sodium nitrate’ or ‘sodium nitrite’ listed.
MYTH: We all need 8, 8-ounce glasses of water a day.
FACT: There’s no research supporting this guideline. Rather the amount of fluid we need depends on our age, activity level and climate (high activity or warm climates will always require more fluids). Also, we don’t have to focus only on water; tea, coffee (counts as half volume if caffeinated), soup, fruits and vegetables also contribute to our intake.
MYTH: Just because something says ‘no sugar added’ doesn’t mean it’s better for you.
FACT: Foods in their natural state with no artificial ingredients like additives, coloring agents, non-nutrient sweeteners and preservatives are always preferable to a highly processed “no sugar added” option. Look for things like DOLE Fruit Bowls® all natural fruit in 100% juice, for high-quality nutrition. The bottom line, always read the ingredient list to understand what you are consuming and stay as close to Mother Nature as possible.
This information was provided by Dole Food Company, Inc. and the California Health and Longevity Institute.