5 Food Myth Busters
It seems every year or so, conflicting messages on what to eat and what not to eat circulate our news feed, media, healthcare practitioners' offices and as a result, our plates.
Recent studies are debunking past myths about certain foods and eating practices.
Here are 5 Food Myth Busters that may affect what you eat. . .
and when you eat:
1. "Carbs are bad for you"
Carbohydrates fuel our body and provide us with a variety of nutrients. They should be included in a healthy diet. Carbohydrates can actually help with weight loss. A two-year study out of Brigham Young University researched the eating habits of middle aged women with a focus on carbohydrate intake. Those who increased their dietary fiber in the form of complex carbohydrates intake lost weight compared to those eating less fiber who showed little to no weight loss.
New research is indicating that the glycemic index has very little impact on weight loss and metabolic syndrome. In addition, carbohydrates elevate mood and help sharpen memory.
There is nothing unhealthy about carbs, provided you know the difference between complex carbohydrates and refined carbohydrates.This isn’t a hall pass to start eating muffins, pastries and white bread daily. Processed carbohydrates are highly inflammatory and provide no nutritional benefit. Stick to complex carbohydrates such as quinoa, oats, sweet potatoes, buckwheat and fruits.
2. "Fats are bad for you"
Remember the old food fad—“zero fat, low fat, fat free?” A low fat diet is not beneficial to your health. While trans fat is bad for you, healthy fats are actually necessary for many bodily functions. Steer clear of partially hydrogenated oils lurking in processed foods, which have been proven to be linked to coronary artery disease, weight gain, inflammation and chronic illness.
All fats are not created equally. Unsaturated fats and omega-3s are your friends. They help control weight, improve mental clarity, fight fatigue and elevate mood. “Good” fats lower your risk of heart disease and stroke, reduce blood pressure, support your brain and feed your cells.They reduce systemic inflammation and improve gut health.Your body needs these high- quality fats in order to function at optimum level.
Foods high in Omega 3s include seafood as well as vegan sources rich in ALA (Alpha Lipoic Acid): nuts and seeds, beans, Brussels sprouts and leafy green vegetables.
3. "Egg yolks are bad for you"
The media frequently uses fear tactics to sway people away from certain foods. Eggs have been a notorious target. Here’s an interesting fact about eggs: Micronutrients and other compounds in egg yolks actually prohibit a large amount of cholesterol absorption. A multitude of clinical trials have found no association between eggs and cardiovascular disease.
Egg yolks are rich in iron, folate, phosphorus, zinc, B vitamins, antioxidants, magnesium and other nutrients, such as lutein and Zeaxanthin, which support your eyes and brain. Benefits to eating eggs include weight loss, increased muscle mass, optimal brain health and a reduction in systemic inflammation.
According to Dr. Luc Diousse, associate professor and heart disease researcher at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, “Dietary cholesterol does not translate into high levels of blood cholesterol.”
Looking back at the well-known Framingham study, less than half the participants who had heart disease had high cholesterol levels, others had normal to low levels. Heart disease may be caused by other factors, such as inflammation (c-reactive protein levels).
Keep in mind that not all eggs are created equally. Spend the extra money for free range, pasture-raised eggs or support a local farm by buying your eggs directly from them or at farmers' markets. Cage-free and standard grocery store eggs may be highly inflammatory based on the conditions where they are produced.
4. "Salt is bad for you"
Our bodies need salt. Salt is only a problem when you consume too much sodium and too little potassium, which causes an imbalance in your system and can affect multiple bodily functions.
Processed salt is indeed bad for you—and this is generally what Americans consume in the Standard American Diet (SAD). Interestingly, both very high and very low intakes of salt are associated with cardiovascular disease.
Sodium helps control blood pressure and is instrumental in muscle and nerve function. It also helps maintain proper pH balance in the blood. Salt re-mineralizes and deters dehydration. It has also shown benefits to managing a healthy metabolism.
Not all salt is created equally. Choose natural salts over processed salts. Sea salt, for example, contains important minerals such as potassium, calcium and magnesium.
Pink Himalayan salt contains 84 essential trace elements and has demonstrated such benefits as controlling blood sugar, pH balance and reducing muscle cramping. It is also an excellent remedy for migraines.
Because iodine is an essential nutrient important for thyroid health and other bodily functions, it’s important to supplement or obtain iodine from food sources, such as seaweed and fish.Table salt is fortified with iodine, which is one of its only benefits.
Remember, a little goes a long way--so, sprinkle, don't pour!
5. “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day”
Breakfast is not the most important meal of the day. In fact, it can be skipped for some interesting health benefits. A study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition demonstrated that skipping a meal, such as breakfast, is actually an anti-aging strategy. Skipping breakfast is an example of intermittent fasting. It provides our systems the time necessary to detox waste products, remove DNA debris and optimize cell regeneration. Outcomes of intermittent fasting include a reduction in oxidative stress, overall inflammation and lowered blood pressure. It also regulates hormones and increases the release of human growth hormone. Overnight fasting for at least 16 hours has demonstrated these benefits in a multitude of studies. These health benefits also include drops in insulin levels, blood sugar and weight.
Of course, if you are hypoglycemic, pregnant or have health issues that require you to eat at certain frequencies, please keep eating breakfast! It’s really a personal choice.