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Top 10 Nutrition Myths - debunked by Dietitians

Discussion in 'Indian Diet & Nutrition' started by spandhana, Aug 24, 2007.

  1. spandhana

    spandhana Bronze IL'ite

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    1. Sugar Causes Diabetes
      The most common nutrition myth is probably the misconception that sugar causes diabetes. If you have diabetes, you do need to watch your sugar and carbohydrate intake, with the help of your Registered Dietitian, to properly manage your blood sugar level. However, if you do not have diabetes, sugar intake will not cause diabetes. So far, a diet high in calories, being overweight and an inactive lifestyle are the main risk factors for Type 2 diabetes

    2. All Fats are bad
      The fact is we all need fats. Fats help nutrient absorption, nerve transmission and maintain cell membrane integrity just to name a few functions. However, when consumed in excessive amounts, fats contribute to weight gain, heart disease and certain types of cancers. Not all fats are created equal. Some fats promote our health positively while some increase our risk for heart disease. It is a long-held nutrition myth that all fats are bad. The key is to replace bad fats (saturated fats and trans fats) with good fats (monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats) in our diet.

    3. Brown Sugar is better than White Sugar
      The brown sugar sold at the stores is actually white granulated sugar with added molasses. Yes, brown sugar contains minute amounts of minerals. But unless you eat a gigantic portion of brown sugar everyday - the mineral content difference between brown sugar and white sugar is absolutely insignificant. The idea that brown and white sugar have big differences is another common nutrition myth.
    4. Brown Eggs are more nutritious than White Eggs
      Contrary to a widely believed nutrition myth, eggshell color can vary but it has nothing to do with the quality, flavor, nutritive value, cooking characteristics or shell thickness of an egg. The eggshell color only depends upon the breed of the hen. According to the Egg Nutrition Council, "white shelled eggs are produced by hens with white feathers and white ear lobes and brown shelled eggs are produced by hens with red feathers and red ear lobes. There is no difference in taste or nutrition content between white and brown colored eggs".

    5. Avoid seafood to lower blood cholesterol
      I can't believe that I heard this nutrition myth from my own doctor when he told his patient newly diagnosed with high blood cholesterol to avoid seafood. In fact, cholesterol found in seafood and other meats has little effect on blood cholesterol in most people. Saturated fats and trans fatty acids are the most important factors that raise blood cholesterol, not dietary cholesterol! Saturated fats are usually found in meat products and packaged foods. Trans fatty acids, on the other hand, are also found in packaged snack foods, deep-fried foods or firm margarine containing hydrogenated oil.

    6. Avoid carbohydrate to lose weight
      The key message that many low carb diets convey is that carbohydrates promote insulin production, which in turn results in weight gain. Therefore by reducing carbohydrate intake, we will lose weight. This is a nutrition myth, however. Many low-carb diets actually do not provide sufficient carbohydrates to your body for daily maintenance. Therefore your body will begin to burn stored carbohydrates (glycogen) for energy. When your body starts burning glycogen, water is released. Therefore the drastic initial drop of weight at the beginning is mostly the water that you lose as a result of burning glycogen. The truth is that, in addition to losing water drastically at the beginning, these low-carb diets are often calorie-restricted! Followers only eat an average of 1000 - 1400 calories daily; compared to an average intake of 1800 - 2200 calories. To lose 1 pound a week, you only need to eat 500 less calories per day in your normal diet. Therefore, it doesn't matter if you eat a high or low carb diet, you will lose weight if you decrease your caloric intake to less than that is needed to maintain your weight.

    7. Avoid nuts as they are fattening
      Yes, it's true that nuts are quite calorically dense; 15 cashews, for instance, deliver 180 kilocaleries! On top of that, it is very tough not to overeat these tasty snacks. If you can restrain yourself from overeating them, nuts can be a part of a healthy diet. It's a nutrition myth that nuts should be avoided. In fact, nuts are high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (the good fats) as well as plant sterols which have all been shown to lower LDL cholesterol. In 2003, the FDA approved a health claim for seven kinds of nuts stating that "scientific evidence suggests but does not prove that eating 1.5 ounces (45 grams) per day of most nuts as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease." Instead of simply adding nuts to your diet, the best approach is to eat them in replacement of foods high in saturated fats.
    8. Eating for 2 is necessary during pregnancy
      Energy requirement varies among individuals. Unfortunately, the idea that pregnancy is an ice-cream-free-for-all is a nutrition myth. It is generally recommended that pregnant women increase their daily intake by 100 kcal in the first trimester and 300 kcal in the second and third trimester. For instance, an extra snack before bedtime consisting of a fruit, a serving of milk or yogurt and a few biscuits is often enough. In addition, a daily prenatal multivitamin supplement is often recommended during pregnancy.

    9. Skipping meals can help lose weight
      Many people think that by skipping a meal, they eat less food and therefore lose weight. As we now know, this is a nutrition myth. People who think skipping meals means weight loss fail to recognize that our bodies do not operate this way. If we skip a meal, our body will think that we are in starvation mode and therefore slow down the metabolism to compensate. We then tend to overeat at the next meal. Often times, skipping a meal results in an increase in total caloric intake than if we just ate more frequently throughout the day. A better approach is to eat smaller frequent healthy meals and snacks to keep our blood sugar balanced.

    10. Red meat is bad for health
      I often hear people saying that they do not eat red meat. When asked why they don't and what do they consider to be red meat, the answers vary dramatically. It is true that some studies linked red meat with increased risk of heart disease partly due to the saturated fat content. In fact, even chicken can contain as much saturated fat as lean cuts of beef or pork. For instance, a serving of sirloin beef or pork tenderloin has less saturated fats than a same serving size of chicken thigh with skin. It is true that poultry such as chicken and turkey is naturally lower in saturated fats - it is only true IF you do not eat the skin. It is a nutrition myth, however, that red meat is altogether bad for your health. Instead of excluding red meats, choose leaner cuts of beef and pork.

  2. sandhya19

    sandhya19 New IL'ite

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    very useful info,what all myths you have mentioned,some of them even i used to believe,its making me to collect more information now
    thanks for sharing
  3. Sriniketan

    Sriniketan IL Hall of Fame

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    thanks for clearing the doubts that lingered in our minds.
    Nice post,Spandana!
  4. Custard

    Custard Gold IL'ite

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    Hi very useful post,

    I would like to add that Jaggery, Palm Sugar (karupati in Tamil) and Panakal Kandu(Tamil name. We now call it as Brown Sugar in English) is better to White Sugar.

    The problem is both panakal Kandu & that Brown Sugar which is used in Cakes, etc are been labelled with the same name

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