Monday, June 10, 2013

Top 10 Favorite Food/Health Myths

Many of you know that health and nutrition are two of my favorite hobbies. I'm not a certified nutritionist or anything, but I've been researching food and nutrients since my highschool years, purely as a form of entertainment and fascination.

As I've learned new things, and rethought a lot of what I thought I knew before, I've complied a mental list of myths in the health world. Some of them are mainly amusing to me, while others make me passionately - and loudly - driven to correct whoever believes the myth. Here are the top ten, (in no particular order), for your viewing pleasure.

 1. Nuttella is healthy.
    I didn't even know this was touted as truth until recently. The first time I heard someone say it, I wanted to laugh hysterically. Seriously?!?! Who believes this? Turn the jar around and read the sugar and fat content, folks.

2. Whole grains are good for you.
    While not exactly a myth, this one has to be taken with a grain of salt (pun intended). Whole grains can be good for you, but they can also be harmful, if consumed in the wrong way. For example, there IS such a thing as a "wheat belly"; extra padding around the waist, directly related to the over-consumption of grain. Most Americans eat a diet much too high in carbohydrates, and eating grains (especially refined grains, but whole grains as well) can add to that problem. Whole grains can also be extremely hard to digest - one of my main concerns with them. Many of the nutrients they contain cannot be absorbed by the human body unless the phytic acid in the grain is broken down first. That can be done be presoaking, using sourdough, or using sprouted grain. ....But that topic is too vast to get into here. Suffice it to say that grains - EVEN whole grains - should be used in moderation, and are not the cure-all they are touted as being; especially when our modern strains of grain are so damaged by genetic engineering. ...But I really should stop. Whole grains ARE better than refined, but even whole grains should be prepared properly before consumption.

3. If I eat salad, I'm consuming less calories, and therefore my meal is healthier.
   I have two problems with this; #1, who said calories had anything to do with the HEALTH of the substance? and #2; Have you ever looked at the ingredients on your salad dressing?

4. All dairy is bad for you.
I've heard so many of my friends guilt-trip themselves for eating cheese! But God promised the Israelites a land flowing with milk and honey, and God always gives good gifts to His children, so milk can't be inherently bad for you. (Don't you love using the Bible to solve questions in all areas of life?) Now, I do have a huge problem with the hormones added to store-bought milk, and the processing it goes through before it gets to the shelves, but the milk itself isn't the problem. I try to limit my consumption of store-bought dairy, especially items with full fat, since that's where most of the processing affects the milk, but I don't bother with artificially low-fat items (except milk itself), and I eat plenty of sour cream and kefir. :) ....As far as cheese goes, different types of cheese are better for different types of people with various health issues, so do some research to see if it affects your current state of health. But, like I said, my problem with dairy isn't dairy; it's the processing. Pure, creamy fresh milk is a good gift from God! :) ....unless you're counting calories. :)

5. Peanut butter is good for you.
   Really? This is a favorite "protein source" for many people. I love my peanut butter as much as anybody; it ranks right up there with chocolate (sorta), but I have reservations about calling it a health food. First of all, one TBS of protein only contains about 3.5 grams of protein. That's something, but not too extravagant or amazing. Meat or an egg would do just as well - probably better. Secondly, most peanut better is extremely high in fat, and contains quite a bit of sugar. For me, consuming all that fat in order to get a little protein is rather counter-productive. The bigger issue comes if you're talking about a brand of peanut butter that is made with hydrogenated fats - and many, if not most, fit that bill. So, all in all, I choose to eat (and I do eat it!) peanut butter that is made with NON-hydrogenated fats, little to no sugar, and I'm honest about the fact that I'm splurging when I eat it. :)

6. Fries are a vegetable. Coffee is a bean. Chocolate is a bean. Onion rings are a vegetable.
   These just make me laugh, and I think that's what they were intended to do. :) :) :)

7. Chocolate is terrible for you.
   Excuse me; sugar is terrible for you (and THAT is what can cause acne, incidentally). Bad fats are awful for you. Overdose of caffeine is bad for you. Real chocolate, made with healthy fats and little to no sugar? WONDERFUL for you. :) :) :)

8. Eating good stuff balances out the bad.
   Sorry; doesn't work like that. Try eating some poison while your stomach is full of carrots and lettuce. It'll still kill ya.

9. If you eat healthy, you will be healthy.
   Only God controls your health. Eating well is your responsibility as a steward of the body God has given you, but it doesn't guarantee you a thing. Besides, there are so many other factors involved, like exposure to toxins in the environment, stress (which lowers the immune system), and yes, occasionally even genetics.

10. Healthy food tastes terrible.
    Sigh. I'm still trying to convince a brother that this one isn't true. God is the giver of life, and He made food designed to not only nourish the human body, but to bring us pleasure. Healthy food can taste nasty, but it's not supposed to. REAL food is supposed to taste delicious. Honest.

What myths - food related or otherwise - are some of your pet peeves?  


Britney said...

Number eight just made me laugh! Great analogy! :)

Happy Girl said...

I agree with all of it, except the peanutbutter part. It must be HAS to be healthy! ;)

Jessi said...

Great post. Made me smile. :)

Lily said...

Hi Amber. I have been reading your guests posts on 'Keeper of the Home' and I just wanted to thank you for your encouragement with keeping a vegetable garden. I am moving out from the city into the Welsh mountains in a couple of months and want to grow as much of our food as possible. I am so excited about the journey of learning to preserve and grow food and you have helped allay my husband's fears that we will be breaking our backs to achieve it! Lily. xxx