Stop believing these 5 myths about food
I called upon top nutrition experts around the country and asked them which food myth drives them absolutely bonkers. I asked them to come up with misconceptions they hear over and over that still need to be demystified to the world. Of course, they did not disappoint. Here's what they said:
1. Bananas are fattening.
This is a food myth that registered dietitian Stephanie Middleberg, founder of Middleberg Nutrition, a health and wellness practice in New York City, hears all the time. "Many people think that they will gain weight (or not lose weight) if they eat bananas because they are too high in sugar," Middleberg says. "Clients are constantly amazed when there are bananas in their meal plans."
Bananas are a nutrient-packed food brimming with vitamins and minerals, including potassium, vitamin B-6, vitamin C and fiber. They are also a very convenient, no-fuss food. "If you skip a banana because you fear it's bad for you, " Middleberg warns, "you will then end up reaching for something more processed, less healthy."
Bananas are also more versatile in the kitchen than folks give them credit for. They can be frozen and used to make banana ice cream, creamy smoothies, pancakes, muffins and much more.
2. You need to detox your body.
Although diets and cleanses are all the rage, there is little evidence they remove toxins from your body. "Our livers and kidneys do a great job of cleansing our bodies on a daily basis," explains Alissa Rumsey, a New York City-based registered dietitian and spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Instead of doing a cleanse or juice diet for a few days, increase your fruit, vegetable, whole grain and water intake every day, Rumsey advises. By changing the way you eat to increase whole food consumption and avoid highly-processed foods, you can help your body function at an optimum level.
3. Eating late leads to weight gain.
Many folks believe that if you eat after a certain hour – say, 8 o'clock in the evening – you will pack on the pounds. However, "It's not necessarily eating late that leads to weight gain," says Jim White, a spokesman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and owner of Jim White Fitness & Nutrition Studios. Rather, "The food choices and the overconsumption of food late at night may lead to weight gain," he says.
The concept of "calories in versus calories out" applies to the food you eat throughout the day. If you go over your allotted calories for the day by 8 p.m., then everything you eat after that is more than your body needs. If you want to eat more at night for whatever reason, then decrease the amount of calories you eat throughout the day.
Check out which foods have 'good fats' in them:
4. GMOs are everywhere.
Registered dietitian Melissa Joy Dobbins of the nutrition communication company Sound Bites dove right into the topic of genetically modified organisms, which many folks find confusing. "Contrary to popular belief, GMOs have not taken over the produce department of your grocery store," she says. So where can you find GMOs? "They are primarily found in packaged foods," Dobbins says. "The only fresh fruits and vegetables that might contain GMOs are sweet corn, zucchini squash and papaya." What about that seedless watermelon? "It was created through conventional seed breeding," Dobbins says.
5. If you eat fat, you will get fat.
"We are a fat-phobic nation and too many of us believe that if you eat fat, you'll get fat," says registered dietitian Bonnie Taub-Dix, who owns the nutrition consulting company Better Than Dieting. "This is certainly not the case." Although fats are a concentrated source of calories containing 9 calories per gram – compared to 4 calories per gram in protein and carbohydrates – certain fats are also good for you. Try "swapping nutrient-rich fats like avocado, nuts and oil for those fats that are void of nutritional value like mayonnaise, butter and lard," recommends Taub-Dix, author of "Read It Before You Eat It." "By choosing fats with benefits, you could reduce cholesterol levels, stabilize blood sugar levels and perhaps even scale down your waist size if you're mindful of portion sizes."
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