What’s the Truth? Healthy Eating Myths vs Facts

Healthy Eating

Setting New Year goals is a tradition shared by many people around the world. Whether the goal is to spend more time with family or to exercise more and get in shape, making resolutions helps us feel empowered and in control of the year to come. One of the most popular resolutions that people make annually is to improve eating habits and to incorporate healthier foods into their daily routines  (or cut out unhealthy ones). While this is a great goal to have, many don’t know where to begin, so they turn to the most convenient place available to gather information: the internet.

There are thousands of articles that explain what foods are good for you, best practices for eating throughout the day, how to plan your weekly menus, etc., but with so much information circulating, it’s difficult to decipher what is fact and what is a health myth.

Here are four healthy eating myths and some corresponding facts to help you make healthier food choices in 2018:

 

Myth: All carbohydrates are unhealthy for you.

Fact: Carbohydrates come in two different forms: simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates can be unhealthy and cause weight gain because they are often found in foods with little nutritional value like candy and cookies. Complex carbohydrates can be found in foods that have high nutritional value like whole-wheat bread and fruits. Cutting simple carbohydrates out of your diet can be beneficial while incorporating the complex variety of carbohydrates can have great benefits for your health such as improved digestion, better sleeping habits, and higher brain function.

 

Myth: Craving foods means you are deficient in a nutrient they contain.

Fact: While there are circumstances in which your body can crave foods based on a missing nutrient like sodium, cravings often have chemical and emotional causes. For example, an imbalance of hormones such as serotonin can cause food cravings. Because food cravings are activated in the regions of the brain that are responsible for memory, pleasure, and reward, cravings can also be tied to your memories. For example, if you recall going to a certain restaurant when you were a child or a trip you’ve might have taken when you were in college, your body could start craving the foods you had during those experience.

 

Myth: You should detox your body regularly.

Fact: Your body is equipped with systems and processes to remove toxins from your body. As long as you maintain a balanced diet complete with plenty of whole foods such as grains, fruits, and vegetables and drink plenty of water, your body will do the hard work for you. For example, your liver is your body’s main detoxifying organ; responsible for cleaning toxins from your blood and separating out useful nutrients. After your body has digested food, small particles enter your bloodstream and is sent through the liver. There, the Liver separates the nutrients from the toxins and also converts amino acids into proteins and enzymes. Another organ that helps with the detoxification of your body is your skin. Your skin is filled with pores and sweat glands that help release toxins from your body.

 

Myth: When vegetables are cooked they lose their nutritional value.

Fact: While heating vegetables above 118°F does deactivate plant enzymes, our stomachs do the same thing. Therefore whether you eat your vegetables cooked or raw, the plant enzymes will be deactivated. Cooking some vegetables helps increase the vitamin content they may have. For example, cooking carrots increases the amount of the antioxidant beta-carotene which is converted to vitamin A, and helps improve bone and eye health. Other vegetables that have benefits when they’re cooked are mushrooms, which provide potassium, niacin, and zinc, and asparagus, which have cancer-fighting antioxidants. Cooking vegetables also can make the cell walls less rigid, and easier to digest, which helps with the absorption of nutrients.

 

References:

http://share.upmc.com/2016/08/nutrition-myths-facts/
https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/weight-management/myths-nutrition-physical-activity
http://www.eatingwell.com/article/16296/the-13-biggest-nutrition-and-food-myths-busted/
https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000895.htm
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1799281
https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/are-your-food-cravings-trying-to-tell-you-something-95557832/?no-ist
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jf5r3shuw88&ab_channel=SciShow
https://healthfree.com/guide-to-liver-cleansing-detox-1.html
http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/raw-vegetables-vs-cooked-vegetables-5344.html
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318441.php
https://www.consumerreports.org/fruits-vegetables/vegetables-that-are-healthier-cooked/
https://www.detoxandbodycleanse.com/human-body-systems/facts-about-skin/    

 

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