8 ‘healthy eating’ myths you believed until now

eating myths debunked

Last Updated February 21st, 2019

Do you count your calories to lose weight? Do you avoid fat to stay slim? Are you trying to go vegan to stay healthy? Then you are doing it all wrong!

With the blessed time of holidays comes an unending array of office parties and get-togethers; with food being the major attraction at these events. Delectable and delicious food which is more often than not loaded with carbs and sugar- in short, calories.

Many consider holidays as the guilt-free pass to load themselves with copious amounts of foods.

But many of you may find it difficult to enjoy yourselves since you are trying to be a more health-conscious person. And the latest articles circulating the internet tell you that most of your favorite party foods (well, to be honest, all) are dense grenades of calories.

And every time holidays are right around the corner, you badly want to resort to clean and healthy eating to keep with the most common resolution (losing those pounds).

So you shun all the merriment and decide on celebrating nibbling on a stick of carrot. But is limiting yourself to only veggies necessarily a good thing? How helpful are these strict healthy eating rules?

Numerous sources speak numerous truths. Some are ready to insinuate the innocent potato as a major reason for flabs. Others speak of it as a nutrient-dense natural source of starch.

How do you separate the irrational food fads with actual science-backed facts? How do you know which eating habits are healthy and which are not?

Do you want to know how you can enjoy comfort food and still not gain the proverbial holiday weight?

Today on mythbusters- The truth behind “healthy” eating

One of the major reasons why people find it so hard to commit to a long-lasting weight-loss routine is that they find healthy eating habits too strict, too constricting, and too tasteless.

Newspapers and magazines keep bombarding you with “new” and “effective” weight loss diets. The Internet is teeming with celebrities ready to share their day-to-day meal chart for attaining the much acclaimed “size zero”.

Majority of these, advice you on counting calories, shunning good tasting food, and basically surviving on greens. But most of these are poorly researched or wrongly assumed.

Today, we explore some very common healthy eating myths, masquerading as healthy diet pieces of advice. And help you strike the perfect balance between good nutrition and lip-smacking taste.

Myth #1: To lose weight, you need to count calories.

empty calories

Fact:  Human metabolism is a complex process. You cannot quantify weight loss within such simple and generic equation.

Calorie-counting sounds deceptively helpful because pop culture demonizes calories.

Calories are important for you since these are the only source of energy you have. Just by decreasing calories, you cannot ensure weight because not all calories are created equal.

100 calories of fresh fruits are more beneficial than 100 calories of pastry.

This is because the former is packed with nutrients while the latter is laced with sugar. Such calories, called as empty calories, should be shunned by you instead of cutting out on every source of calories altogether.

Myth #2: Eating fat will make you fat

egg yolks healthy

Fact: Contrary to largely popular myths, fats are not your enemy.

In fact, fat is an important nutrient, essential for many bodily functions such as cognition and vitamin D synthesis.

It is true that fatty acids have more calorie/gram when compared to other substances. But they also make you feel “fuller” after meals, automatically decreasing the need to binge.

Studies indicate that completely removing fats from your diet is counter-productive to weight loss.

Healthy fats, which promote HDL cholesterol level, are a bodily necessity. You need to identify the sources of such fats (avocados, olive oil, nuts) and consume it within safe limits.

What tends to make you fat is not fat but sugar.

Myth # 3: A vegan diet is automatically a healthier option

pros and cons vegan

Fact: Studies have found strong links between a vegan diet and increased life expectancy and decreased risk of cardiovascular diseases.

It is rich with fresh fruits and vegetables which provide you with the daily boost of antioxidants.

But there are several limitations with this type of diet too. First, let us understand what a true vegan diet consists of.

A vegan diet is different from a vegetarian diet. The latter includes animal products such as dairy, honey, and eggs. It is also known as lacto-ova vegetarianism. A vegan diet completely shuns all animal products.

A diet which lacks dairy, eggs, and meat is inherently lacking in proteins. A pure vegan can experience iron, calcium, and Vitamin D and B12 deficiency. These could be risk factors for anemia or bone fractures. In short, just by removing animal products from the diet doesn’t make the diet healthy.

Myth #4: Organic produce is more nutritional than regular produce

Fact: Organic produce refers to any kind of product that has been grown without the use of pesticides, herbicides, or synthetic hormones. It also comprises of animals which are raised for meat without any antibiotics or hormones injected into them. These are fed only organic produce.

Sounds extremely healthy, isn’t it?

While it is true that they do contain zero traces of harmful pesticides and chemicals, there are no conclusive studies to prove that they are nutritionally richer.

Few studies have indicated that they contain slightly higher amounts of Vitamin C. But these are too marginal to establish one better than the other.

Also, when stored for a longer time, foods tend to oxidize and lose their vitamin C content.

Myth #5: Potatoes are an empty source of carbs

healthy carbs

Fact: Potatoes are high in starch and tragically this fact has led to some very wrong accusations.

Potatoes are nutrient-dense plant tubers which contain zero fats.

Even though they contain 37 grams of carbohydrates/ 180 gm of the baked version, they are also rich in other essential nutrients such as fiber, proteins, Vitamin C, potassium, and manganese.

Their skin is also bursting with nutritional-goodness. They are powerful antioxidants.

And coming back to the starch content; potatoes are rich in resistant starch which is actually good for the bacteria in your gut.

The problem arises the way potatoes are cooked. Frying them in generous amounts of oil and loading them with salt makes them unhealthy (French Fries).

But as a baked or boiled vegetable, a potato is a must-have for a balanced diet.

Myth #6: Microwaving food robs all of its nutrients

Fact: In general cooking food at a high temperature tends to leach out the nutrients. Especially, when you add water, vegetables tend to lose out essential vitamins and minerals.

The longer this process continues, the more is the loss of nutrients. In case of microwave cooking, the cooking procedure takes much less time than conventional cooking methods.

If you use little water and cover the utensil tightly, the loss of nutrients is even less.

This means that compared to conventional cooking, which takes longer time and often involves uncovered utensils, microwaving is the better way to seal all the nutrients within the food.

Myth #7: Diet soda is a healthier alternative to regular soda

diet sodas unhealthy

Fact: On the surface, diet sodas contain an average of 140 calories lesser calories per serving than regular sodas.

But the kind of artificial sweeteners used to enhance the taste of diet sodas (such as aspartame, saccharin, and sucralose) is more toxic to our bodies.

These are inherently more intensely sweet and hence tend to dull our sensory reactions to naturally sweet-tasting foods such as fruits.

They increase our body’s insulin resistance and increase our risk of contracting diabetes and obesity. Many studies have also found a link between these alternative “diet” sweeteners and recurring headaches.

Diet or regular, artificially flavored drinks wreak havoc on your dental health and deteriorate the quality of your bones. In short, sodas are bad for you. And the diet versions are even more lethal.

Myth #8: Troubled with insomnia? A nightcap will help you get good sleep

spices are healthy

Fact:  Any alcoholic beverage consumed just before hitting the sack is popularly termed as a nightcap.

Alcohol consumption does tend to make you feel light-headed and numb and induces sleep faster (alcohol is a downer or depressant).

But it certainly doesn’t make up for a cure for insomnia. This is because alcohol disrupts your REM sleep.

The phase of sleep which begins almost 90 minutes after you fall asleep. This is the stage where people dream. It is very important to have uninterrupted REM sleep since REM sleep is restorative in nature.

Disturbances in REM sleep cause headaches, waking up tired, and even drowsiness. Additionally, daily consumption of alcohol will make you dependent and lead to further health deteriorations. To ensure a better sleep, try good sleeping hygiene habits.


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