5 nutrition myths debunked
Nutrition has become one of the most pertinent and talked about fields with circulating misinformation and self-proclaimed experts preaching dogma with little to no scientific backing. It's hard to know who or what to believe. Today I am debunking five common nutrition myths.
- Oranges are the best source of vitamin C: Vitamin C is a beloved free-radical scavenging, collagen-producing, common cold-reducing, nutrient. And while oranges get all the glory for this coveted vitamin, it turns out that there are even more potent sources right at our fingertips. Bell pepper, papaya and brussels sprouts offer vitamin C in a comparable quantity and wouldn't be a bad option when you feel a cold coming on.
- Organic is better than conventional produce: Though I'm a big advocate for choosing organic when possible, conventional produce shouldn't get such a bad rep. Studies show that both foods boast vitamins and minerals in comparable quantities. However, choosing organic means less chance of pesticide residue you may consume and is why I choose to follow the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 put out by the EWG.
- Brown bread is better than white bread: Never judge a loaf of bread by its color! Many brown breads are labeled "multigrain" or "all natural" which may convince you that you're making the right decision in choosing them. However, you want to always look for these magic words when reading the ingredient label... "whole grains". Choosing whole grain bread ensures you are choosing bread with B vitamins that aid metabolism and fiber that keeps you full and regular. Also, many brown breads are colored with molasses but made with refined flour... something to keep in mind!
- All calories are the same: A calorie is not a calorie. For instance, eating 300 calories of angel food cake isn't going to nourish your body like 300 calories of salmon, kale and butternut squash. Our bodies use and store calories differently depending on the nutrient each food is made of. Salmon provides protein which will boost our satiety and help maintain muscle mass while kale and butternut squash provide a plethora of vitamins and minerals that aid bodily processes like metabolism. A piece of cake may pack 60 g of sugar which will leave you hungry (no satiating mechanism) and since we aren't likely to burn off the energy right away, the extra calories will store as fat.
- All fat is bad: It may be 2016 but I still hear this mantra from time to time. Everyone needs fat because not only does it aid nutrient absorption for fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, it also aids nerve transmission and maintains cell membranes. However, it is important to note that not all fats are created equal. You want to avoid trans fats at all costs, limited saturated fats and aim for mono and polyunsaturated fats (think avocados, nuts and olive oil) and omega-3s (salmon). Getting enough fat in your diet also manifests itself in your skin and hair. Aim for 20-30% of your daily calories to come from this important macronutrient.