Fitness

Debunked Food Myths You Need to Stop Believing

food, debunked food myths you need to stop believing

1) A Calorie Is A Calorie

Some people want to believe that all calories are created equal. Sadly, this is not the case. It may be technically true that all calories contain the same amount of energy, but the nutritional value of what you eat is so much more important than that. Calories that come from satiating, wholesome foods are not the same as calories that come from processed, fatty foods that leave you feeling hungry shortly after eating them. Foods also have varying thermic effects, which affects your energy expenditure, making some calories more positively “effective” than others.

food, debunked food myths you need to stop believing

2) Swallowed Gum Stays In Your Stomach For Seven Years

Don’t believe everything you hear as a kid. While your body might not be able to digest chewing gum properly, it won’t stay lodged in your stomach for seven years (who came up with that anyway?). Instead, when your stomach empties, it gets ushered through your intestines with everything else and eventually leaves your body. Expect it to be out of your system in 1-2 days.

food, debunked food myths you need to stop believing

3) Microwaves Eliminate Nutrients In Food

The truth is: all forms of cooking kill a certain amount of nutrients and vitamins. What is false: microwaves destroy more nutrients than other cooking methods. In reality, fewer nutrients are lost in microwaves due to the fact that they allow for shorter cooking times and use less heat than the oven or stovetop. What matters is the cooking time, temperature and amount of liquid used.

food, debunked food myths you need to stop believing

4) You SHould Eat 3 Square Meals Per Day, Plus Snacks

In American culture, it’s become somewhat ingrained that we have to eat three square meals a day, plus snacks. Not so—not for everyone at least. Fitness buffs often eat 5-6 small meals all day. Some people skip breakfast or don’t snack. At the end of the day, there are no right or wrong eating patterns, as long as your overall calorie intake doesn’t exceed what you burn, which is what leads to weight gain. If you’re highly active, try several small meals. If you’re mostly sedentary, pay attention to your food intake. If you’ve got a busy lifestyle, try intermittent fasting. The important thing is to do what suits you.

food, debunked food myths you need to stop believing

5) Salads Are The Best Weight-Loss Food

Salads can be a good food for weight loss, but not all salads are created equal. One entree-sized salad at a restaurant can have upwards of 1000+ calories. On the other hand, some low-calorie salads may contain vegetables with minimal nutrients (iceberg lettuce, cucumbers, celery). Not to mention, salad-burnout is inevitable if you force yourself to eat them everyday. Instead, make your own salads at home with nourishing, satiating ingredients, and alternate with other healthy, non-salad meals.

food, debunked food myths you need to stop believing

6) Cooking With Aluminum Or Drinking Out Of Aluminum Cans Increases The Risk of Alzheimer’s

There is no proven or clear relationship between the use of aluminum in cooking and the development of Alzheimer’s. Drinking out of aluminum cans has also been suspected as a potential cause. Studies have since consistently failed to prove a causal link between the two.

food, debunked food myths you need to stop believing

7) You Don’t Have To Wash Organic Produce

This is a HUGE lie. Organic foods are not all 100% free of pesticides, and they can still be contaminated during transport. How do you know if your tomatoes didn’t accidentally fall on the ground, or the person transporting them washed their hands before handling them? As a precaution, it’s always best to thoroughly wash the food you’re about to eat, where applicable.

food, debunked food myths you need to stop believing

8) If You Want To Lose Weight, You Have To Eat Less

Yes and no. Of course eating less can help you lose weight, but it doesn’t guarantee you will. In some cases, you may even gain weight as a result. This is because your body needs a minimum amount of calories to function correctly, and if your intake dips too low, you have less energy and your metabolism slows down. If you’re exercising, this is especially bad because you won’t have enough energy to perform an effective workout. What you should be focusing on is the calories in vs. calories out ratio. Just make sure you’re either burning enough calories to create a deficit or cutting a reasonable amount of calories from your diet to lose weight.

food, debunked food myths you need to stop believing

9) Fruit Juices Count Toward Your 5-A-Day

Wrong! Industrial fruit juices are often saturated with sugar, with some of them being as bad as a glass of soda and even higher in calories. You might think drinking your fruits counts toward your daily recommended servings, but in reality, you’re much better off eating whole pieces of fruit. That way, you benefit from the fiber, vitamins and minerals whole fruits provide, not to mention feeling a lot more satiated!

food, debunked food myths you need to stop believing

10) Soy Milk Causes Breast Cancer

So far, no study has shown a direct association between the development of breast cancer and moderate consumption of soy milk. It was first believed that the two were linked because of the isoflavones found in soy. Isoflavones are plant estrogens, and there have been studies linking high estrogen levels to an increased risk of breast cancer. However, soy products generally don’t contain high enough amounts of isoflavones that would pose a significant risk. You know what they say: everything in moderation!

food, debunked food myths you need to stop believing

11) Raw Veggies Are Healthier Than Cooked

Don’t always believe the hype. Yes, raw foods may contain more nutrients, as some can be lost during the cooking process. However, cooking can also help activate certain nutrients that aren’t otherwise available when raw. Such nutrients include beta-carotene, lutein and lycopene. Beyond the nutritional benefits, some veggies are more easily digested when cooked, meaning you’re more likely to eat them. These include particularly fibrous veggies, such as broccoli, cauliflower and onions.

food, debunked food myths you need to stop believing

12) Adding Salt To Water Makes It Boil Faster

No, quite the opposite! When you add salt to water, you’re increasing its boiling point, so it will actually require more heat to start boiling and therefore take longer to boil. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t salt your cooking water for taste purposes. You just need to be a little more patient…

food, debunked food myths you need to stop believing

13) Food Supplements Are Just As Nutritious As Real Food

As the name implies, supplements are only meant to be “supplementary”, that is, they complement the foods you’re eating but should not be considered as substitutes for them. Real foods contain the highest concentrations of nutrients and come with extra antioxidants, carotenoids, flavonoids and minerals that are beneficial to your health and not found in bottled supplements.

food, debunked food myths you need to stop believing

14) You Should Be Drinking 8 Glasses OF Water Per Day

This is a suggestion, not a divine rule! Many foods contain water, which contributes to daily intake, and the needs of each person will differ depending on their weight, age and how active they are. One’s  If you need a specific number to follow, then by all means, aim for 8 glasses. But it doesn’t absolutely have to be just plain water; coffee, tea, juice, fruits and veggies all contribute to this goal! You can also tell when  you should drink more water by checking the color of your pee. If it’s pale and colorless, you’re good! If it’s bright or dark yellow, your body is dehydrated, so get chugging!

food, debunked food myths you need to stop believing

15) If You Don’t Eat Before A Workout, You’ll Burn More Fat

No scientific studies have proven this to be true. While exercising fasted could force your body to use more fat for fuel (when your glycogen stores are depleted), it has not been shown to burn more fat overall. Not only this, but it depends on the activity you’re doing, the duration and intensity. If you want to run 10 miles, you’ll need quick-digesting carbs for energy. If you’re doing a moderate-intensity 30-minute workout, you don’t have to eat beforehand. However, if you don’t eat before, it is imperative to eat afterward, to replenish your stores and get your body the repairing nutrients it needs. Otherwise, your fitness goals may suffer.

food, debunked food myths you need to stop believing

16) Ginger Ale Can Settle An Upset Stomach

There’s a widespread popular belief that soda, especially ginger ale, is the best thing for an upset stomach. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Ginger itself helps reduce stomach inflammation, promotes digestion and reduces pain, but ginger ale is just a carbonated beverage with ginger flavoring. It might even be worsening your symptoms of nausea or indigestion because it’s also got tons of sugar in it. If you really want some relief, try steeping freshly grated ginger root in some hot water or tea.

food, debunked food myths you need to stop believing

17) Going Gluten-Free Will Improve Your Health

In 2017, the number of Americans turning to a gluten-free diet had tripled since 2009, according to Forbes. That amounts to about 3.1 million people, 72% of whom do not have Celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder that provokes an adverse reaction in the intestinal cells when gluten is consumed. For people who aren’t afflicted or who do not have gluten sensitivity, there is zero evidence that following a gluten-free diet is better for their health or will help them lose weight. It may even lead to nutritional deficiencies in fiber, calcium and iron.

food, debunked food myths you need to stop believing

18) Eggs Are Bad For Your Cholesterol

It used to be widely believed that eggs raise cholesterol levels. While it’s true that eggs are high in cholesterol, that doesn’t automatically mean they will raise the cholesterol levels in your blood. Cholesterol is also produced by the liver, so when you consume eggs, the liver will produce less cholesterol to even things out. What eggs will do is raise “good” cholesterol (HDL or high-density lipoprotein). The real culprits in sabotaging cholesterol levels are saturated fats and trans fats; eggs have very little of the former and none of the latter.

food, debunked food myths you need to stop believing

19) Chocolate Causes Acne

This sounds like some advice you’d give to pubescent teenagers. There have actually been a lot of studies on this topic, although the results aren’t compelling enough to prove a direct link between chocolate and skin problems. Other studies point out that high-glycemic diets (full of quick-digesting carbs and sugars) could be to blame, so it might not be the chocolate but rather the sugar that’s causing breakouts.

food, debunked food myths you need to stop believing

20) Sugar-Free Soft Drinks Help With Weight Loss

Sugar-free beverages, such as Coke Zero Sugar and Pepsi Max do have fewer calories than their original-recipe counterparts, but don’t let that fool you into believing they’re beneficial for weight loss. For one, studies have found that zero-sugar sodas may stimulate appetite if consumed regularly, especially due to the artificial sweeteners. Also, people who drink diet or zero-calorie soft drinks may justify eating more food by the calories they “save,” thereby cancelling out the main benefit (which is to consume fewer overall calories).

food, debunked food myths you need to stop believing

21) Going Vegetarian Will Lead To Weight Loss

Some people are surprised when they meet overweight vegetarians. This is a common misconception about the vegetarian diet. No diet, no matter how healthy it is, can guarantee weight loss. At the end of the day, it comes down to calories in vs. calories out. Sometimes vegetarian options are even higher in calories and fat than meat-based dishes, particularly when they’re processed (veggie burgers, store-bought meat alternatives). If you want to lose weight on a vegetarian diet, you have to eat the best quality plant sources possible and keep your calorie intake in check.

food, debunked food myths you need to stop believing

22) if It’s Healthy, You Can Eat As Much As You Want

All food contains calories, so eating anything in large quantities could lead to weight gain. Of course, not all foods are created equally nutrition-wise, so the consequences of eating 2 pounds of broccoli vs 2 whole pizzas won’t be the same. But if you approach foods with an “all-you-can-eat” mentality, it could set you back more than you realize. It really is best to stick to “everything in moderation.”

food, debunked food myths you need to stop believing

23) If It’s Sugar-Free, It’s Ok For Diabetics

Diabetes is a very complex condition, and sugar isn’t the only food diabetics need to watch out for. Carbs—especially the white, processed varieties—and trans fats should also be avoided. Processed carbs can raise blood sugar levels for people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Trans fats aren’t directly responsible for raising blood sugar levels, but they are associated with insulin resistance, inflammation and heart disease.

food, debunked food myths you need to stop believing

24) The 5-Second Rule

We’ve all been there at some point. You drop a piece of food on the floor and immediately swoop down to pick it up, telling yourself that it’s okay to eat as long as you grab it within 5 seconds. Unfortunately, research suggests that bacteria can stick to your food within that time frame, so follow this rule at your own risk!

food, debunked food myths you need to stop believing

25) Peanuts Are The Most Common Food Allergy In Kids

Although it is true that many people are allergic to nuts, milk and eggs are the most common food allergies in children. Peanuts are also not the most dangerous food allergy. Stories about severe allergic reactions to nuts seem to be more common, making people think they’re more dangerous. The truth is, all food allergies pose the same level of threat.

food, debunked food myths you need to stop believing

26) The Hottest Part Of A Chili Pepper Are The Seeds

Recipes often call for removing the seeds from chili peppers, to tone down the heat. This makes it seem like the seeds are the hottest part, but that is false. It’s actually the rib and pith of the peppers that contain the most capsaicin and therefore bring the heat! The seeds themselves are not hot, but because they’re attached to the rib, the heat can get transferred to them. That’s why it’s probably best to remove them along with the pith and rib, unless you want that extra kick.

food, debunked food myths you need to stop believing

27) Dairy Products Are The Best Source Of Calcium

This is a very narrow-minded view and probably scoffed at by vegetarians and vegans! There are plenty of foods besides dairy products that are rich in calcium. These include leafy greans, such as kale and bok choy, spinach, sesame seeds, seaweed, broccoli, white beans, firm calcium-set tofu, almonds, oranges, etc. Given the fact that anyone can become lactose intolerant later in life, it’s important to know that you can maintain good bone health with plenty of other non-dairy foods.

food, debunked food myths you need to stop believing

28) Eating Too Much Protein Is BAd For Health

There are plenty of unfounded claims out there that consuming too much protein is especially bad for your bones and kidneys. Some people even believe that overconsumption can cause osteoporosis! Nope. According to healthline.com, increased protein intake does not remove calcium from your bones, and studies have shown that it can actually improve bone health. As for your kidneys, as long as you have a healthy pair (aka not suffering from kidney disease), extra protein has not been proven to harm kidney functioning.

food, debunked food myths you need to stop believing

29) Celery Contains Negative Calories

There is no such thing as “negative calories”. There are, however, low-calorie foods, such as celery, which has about 6 calories in a medium stalk. While that number is incredibly low and makes it a great food to snack on guilt-free, that doesn’t mean eating it burns more calories than it contains. In fact, the thermic effect of celery is 8%, but it needs 100% in order to qualify as a food with “negative calories.” As it stands, there are no foods that are scientifically proven to be calorically negative.

food, debunked food myths you need to stop believing

30) Oranges Contain The Most Vitamin C

When we’re suffering from a cold or need to up our Vitamin-C intake, oranges always seem to come to mind first. While oranges are indeed rich in Vitamin C, there are a bunch of other foods that actually contain more of it and have no sugar, including kale, bell peppers, kohlrabi, broccoli, brussels sprouts, pineapple and kiwi.

food, debunked food myths you need to stop believing

31) You Should Always Remove The Skin From Chicken Before Eating

There are those who believe that it is best to eat chicken without skin, in order to eliminate saturated fat and excess calories. While this can be beneficial for those who are seeking to lose weight and cut their saturated fat intake, it won’t kill you to eat the skin from time to time. The skin does contain 2.5 grams of saturated fat per 12-ounce, bone-in chicken breast half, but it doesn’t represent the majority of fat, the rest of which is healthy and unsaturated.

food, debunked food myths you need to stop believing

32) White Vegetables Are Less NUTRITIVE Than Dark-Colored Ones

Don’t neglect your white veggies! Some believe that the darker the vegetable, the healthier it is. Not true. There are plenty of white vegetables rich in vitamins and minerals, such as onions, mushrooms, cauliflower, garlic, turnips and white beans, to name a few. According to Consumer Reports, white vegetables are proven to lower the chances of having a stroke. They also lower the risk of heart disease. Your best bet is to eat vegetables in all colors so you can reap the rainbow of nutritional benefits they provide.

food, debunked food myths you need to stop believing

33) Kale Is The Most Nutritious LEAFY GREEN Of All

Kale is one of the most highly touted leafy greens out there, but did you know that it only ranks 47th on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s list of “powerhouse fruits and vegetables”? Other leafy green veggies that scored better include romaine lettuce (yes, really), leaf lettuce, collard greens, spinach, Chinese cabbage and parsley. That doesn’t mean you should be eating less of it. Just make sure you don’t ignore its other (even more nutritious) cousins!

food, debunked food myths you need to stop believing

34) Carrots Are More Nutritious When Eaten Raw

Contrary to popular belief, carrots are actually more nutritious when they’re cooked! This is because the cooking process activates the beta carotene contained in carrots, making this compound more readily available to be absorbed by your body.  The same is true for other vegetables, whose nutrients are more easily absorbed after being cooked. These include tomatoes, spinach and asparagus, among others.

food, debunked food myths you need to stop believing

35) Chocolate Will Make You Fat

It’s not the chocolate that makes you fat, it’s the sugar it contains and how much of it you eat. Anyone can become fat eating too much of anything, and it’s no secret that excess sugar intake is a major culprit in expanding people’s waistlines. The truth is, you can eat chocolate and not gain weight. Dark chocolate is the best choice, due to being rich in antioxidants—also, the darker it is, the less sugar it contains. You could even get away with one or two squares a day, if you opt for chocolate with at least 65% cacao.

food, debunked food myths you need to stop believing

36) Carbs Are Fattening

Another type of food we mistakenly associate with weight gain are carbs. Now more than ever, carbs are being painted as the bad guy in the diet bubble of Paleo, Keto and other low-carb diets that shun grains and legumes. The truth is, there are plenty of people in the world who regularly consume high-quality whole grains and legumes, and guess what, they’re not fat! Some cultures even live to be 100+ years living off these foods. The key is balance and sticking to whole-grain, unprocessed carbs. Don’t remove them from your diet if you don’t have to.

food, debunked food myths you need to stop believing

37) Cranberry Juice Can Be Used To Treat Urinary Infections

Anyone who’s had a urinary infection has probably been told that drinking cranberry juice will help cure it (hopefully no doctors have said this). However, studies on the effects of cranberry juice and supplements have been inconsistent. Some say that the juice causes the urinary tract walls to become more slippery, making it harder for bacteria like E. Coli to stick to them. Others say they’re good for UTI prevention. Others disagree. Because there are no known dosages or clear-cut results related to cranberries preventing or curing urinary infections, it’s probably best to see a doc and get your antibiotics.

food, debunked food myths you need to stop believing

38) Pregnant Women Should Eat For Two

This is a dangerous food myth that needs to be put into context. Eating for two doesn’t mean doubling your calorie intake or consuming two full meals every time you eat. Although pregnant women do need to up their food intake, they only need about 300 extra calories per day. And an average healthy weight gain is considered to be within the range of 25 to 35 pounds. This could vary depending on your health and current weight, so always consult your doctor for more precise nutrition guidelines.

food, debunked food myths you need to stop believing

39) Brown Eggs Are HEalthier Than White Ones

Some people might believe this because brown vs. white usually does indicate a difference in nutritional value, particularly when it comes to rice and bread. It turns out the color of eggs is nothing more than an indicator of which breed of hen they came from. Otherwise, they are one and the same.

food, debunked food myths you need to stop believing

40) Juices Are Effective For Detoxing

Unfortunately, juicing is not as virtuous and beneficial as it’s cracked up to be, especially if your juices contain fruit. Vice reported that straining or blending fruit actually removes the soluble fiber they contain, leaving you with a whole bunch of fruit sugar and none of the digestive benefits whole fruits provide. Juicing also increases the likelihood of overconsuming fruits and therefore consuming more calories overall. It probably won’t hurt you from time to time, but just remember that relying on juice cleanses to detox your body is not effective as you think.

food, debunked food myths you need to stop believing

41) Eating Spicy Food Can Cause ULcers

If you’re a spicy food-lover you don’t have to worry. Spicy foods have been blamed for stomach ulcers, likely because they cause stomach pain for those who are particularly sensitive to heat. According to Live Science, they can irritate existing ulcers, but they are not the actual cause of them. Instead, they found that the bacterium Helicobacter pylori is responsible for those awful sores that cause a burning sensation in your stomach.

food, debunked food myths you need to stop believing

42) Coffee Can Stunt Growth

Remember when you were a teenager, and you weren’t allowed to drink coffee? Well, there could have been two reasons behind this. For one, you probably didn’t need the caffeine. And secondly, it was long believed that caffeine can stunt people’s growth because it was shown to reduce calcium absorption in early studies. The effect is so minimal that it can easily be reversed by adding milk to your coffee.  Beyond that, there is no hard evidence that coffee consumption affects one’s height or growth, including for teenagers.

food, debunked food myths you need to stop believing

43) Bananas Are The Fruit With The Most Potassium

Bananas are an excellent source of potassium, there’s no doubt about that. They’re often the go-to fruit for debloating because of their high potassium content, which helps balance sodium intake. However, there are a bunch of other foods to choose from that contain even more of the good stuff: avocadoes, white beans, potatoes, butternut squash, Swiss chard and spinach.

food, debunked food myths you need to stop believing

44) Washing Raw Chicken Helps Kill Bacteria

Not true! In fact, the CDC warns that washing raw chicken may spread bacteria to other foods, utensils and countertops. The best way to eliminate bacteria is ensuring you cook the chicken to a safe internal temperature of 165°F. Avoid cross-contamination by using a separate cutting board, and always wash your hands before handling raw chicken.

food, debunked food myths you need to stop believing

45) Thin People Have A Faster Metabolism

It’s easy to assume that slim people have a faster metabolism than those who are overweight, but in reality, it’s not that simple. You’ve probably heard the term “skinny fat,” which refers to thin people who have little muscle definition in their bodies. If these people tend to consume a lot of calories, they may indeed have a fast metabolism. But if they’re not overeating, they could still have a slow metabolism; they just aren’t eating enough to gain weight. We know that muscle burns more calories than fat, but people with more mass, including those who are overweight, will still have a higher resting metabolic rate than thin people.

food, debunked food myths you need to stop believing

46) Asparagus Can Help Cure Cancer

According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, a phony claim has spread on the Internet and by email eating a serving of pureed asparagus daily could cure cancer. While there are many foods out there that may help prevent the development of certain cancers and other diseases, unfortunately, there is no miracle diet or food that can cure them.

food, debunked food myths you need to stop believing

47) Organic Food Is Healthier Than Non-Organic Foods

Organic foods may contain lower levels of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers, but are they really healthier than non-organic foods? Despite what every health nut and militant organic diet follower will tell you, the jury is still out on this one. Organic foods may be more environmentally friendly and good for those who are wary of pesticides, but they haven’t been shown to have a higher nutritional value than their non-organic counterparts. For people who want to eat healthy but can’t afford to go organic, they shouldn’t feel bad about sticking to conventionally produced foods.

food, debunked food myths you need to stop believing

48) “Feed A Cold, Starve A Fever”

Apparently this saying originated based on the differences in temperature each illness brings on. For example, when you have a cold, eating will raise your body temperature and therefore stimulate your immune system. When you’ve got the flu, your body temperature is already raised, and eating was thought to potentially worsen your fever. The truth is, you should be eating in both situations. Your body’s immune system is compromised no matter which illness you have, and it needs nourishment to function better, as your metabolic rate is already elevated.

food, debunked food myths you need to stop believing

49) You Should Consume A Lot Of Protein Right After Working out

It’s true that consuming protein will help your muscles rebuild following an intense workout, but you don’t need to eat an obscene amount to get the desired results. 10 grams is sufficient for the average person. Plus, it’s best to combine protein with carbohydrates post-workout, so you can restock your glycogen stores at the same time. And don’t forget that any protein consumed before your workout will be used and absorbed afterward.

food, debunked food myths you need to stop believing

50) Alcohol Is Bad For Your Health

There have been many studies on the effects of alcohol on health but no general consensus on whether or not it’s good or bad for you. Obviously, nothing is good for you in excess, so binge drinking poses a definite health risk. On the other hand, red wine is said to contain heart-healthy polyphenols, and moderate beer consumption has been linked to lower risk of heart disease. Red wine is also part of the Mediterranean diet, said to be one of the healthiest in the world. Regardless, the best course of action is to just stick to what we’ve been saying all along: Everything in moderation.

Hungry for more?  Here are 30 liver-cleansing foods that will detox your body.

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