Whether you hear them from a friend or see them in an email passed amongst co-workers, the same food and nutrition myths have been passed around for ages. Fortunately, people have easier access to an abundance of information to determine if there is any validity to these health care claims. In case you were wondering, here are 10 common food and nutrition myths that aren't true:
1. All Fats Are Bad
When people think of the word "fat" in association to their food, they always assume it is something negative. While there certainly are types of fats out there that are bad, like trans fats, there is also omega-3 fatty acid and monounsaturated fat. Healthy fat can be very beneficial by decreasing a person's risk of heart disease or diabetes.
2. Some Foods Actually Burn Calories
Many people have heard of "negative calorie" foods that are said to burn more calories through digestion than they actually contain. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), this is false. You cannot simply eat certain types of foods to lose weight, and the only foods that are beneficial for burning weight are foods that contain caffeine, which can help boost metabolism (see myth #6).
3. Eggs Lead to Higher Cholesterol
More and more people have become aware of the cholesterol content of eggs, leading them to believe that eggs can increase a person's cholesterol. However, what they don't know is that the dietary cholesterol found in eggs isn't as closely related to the body's cholesterol level as they think. In an article by CNN, eggs were said to contain small amounts of saturated fat, which is the real agent responsible for increased cholesterol in the body.
4. More Fiber is Always Better
Fiber may help with dieting, weight-loss and a healthier lifestyle, but eating too much fiber isn't always a good thing. Increased fiber intake can lead to a lot of gas and bloating, and just like everything else, should be taken in moderation.
5. High-fructose Corn Syrup is Worse than Sugar
Not many people are certain how this food and nutrition myth came about, but many have heard that high-fructose corn syrup is bad for your health. Perhaps the rumor was started when someone realized that it was in practically everything. While studies have shown a correlation between high-fructose corn syrup and obesity, the American Medical Association has concluded that it is no different from sugar.
6. Caffeine is Bad for You
Caffeine, in extremely high doses, can be detrimental to your health. However, this stimulant should not be given such a bad rap when taken in moderation. Caffeine can be beneficial to your health as an energy booster, and to help speed up your metabolism to burn more calories, especially before a workout.
7. Starchy Foods Lead to Weight Gain
Starchy foods, like breads, rice, cereals pastas, potatoes and fruits have been are often associated in weight gain. The truth is, many of these foods are actually low in fat and calories, and can be a part of a properly balanced diet. The only problem is these starchy foods aren't as filling as protein-rich foods, causing people to eat more starches than they actually should. In other words, starchy foods do not necessarily lead to weight gain, but eating too much starchy food can.
8. Never Eat Fast Food
High levels of saturated fat and excessive calories has given fast food a bad name. However, fast food shouldn't be ruled out of a person's meal plan, entirely. The NIDDK suggests making smarter choices at the drive-thru like avoiding supersized combo meals and opting for salads and grilled chicken breast sandwiches instead of hamburgers.
9. Late Night Eating Will Make You Fat
Late night eating does not make you fat, it's eating the excess calories that does. It does not matter what time of the day you are eating, what matters most is how many calories you are consuming against how many calories you burned that leads to weight gain. If you want to have a late night snack, ask yourself how many calories you consumed during the day. If you had three square meals, plus a snack between lunch and dinner, you've probably hit your daily quota for calories, and that late night snack is just excess, which leads to weight gain, which leads to the myth that eating late makes you fat.
10. Eating Red Meat is Bad For Your Health
Red meat is most commonly associated with numerous health risks like cancer, heart attack and stroke, and eating too much red meat is always frowned upon. However, red meat can be a part of a nutritious diet when eaten in moderation, and should not be completely avoided. Eating lean forms of red meat, in moderation, will allow people to reap the benefits of its protein, iron and zinc content, while avoiding the adverse health effects.