Nutritional research can be a bit confusing, and you might get conflicting recommendations on what you should and shouldn’t eat. Some of this advice can sidetrack you from developing a healthy eating regimen and you may end up not meeting your energy requirements. Understanding more about foods and their impact on your body is important to stay healthy. Let’s look at the myths and facts about certain foods:
- Egg yolks contribute to high cholesterol: Saturated and trans fat can raise blood cholesterol levels. Till lately, eggs were considered to be a high-cholesterol food by many nutritional experts. According to the Heart Foundation, the latest research shows that eggs don’t actually increase cholesterol levels. It’s true that egg yolk is high in dietary cholesterol, but it has relatively low saturated fat. Eggs are loaded with useful nutrients such as zinc and iron, antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, vitamin D, and the brain-boosting chemical choline. The best way to keep cholesterol in check is by monitoring saturated fat in your diet. So, an entire egg can actually be a part of a healthy diet.
- Sweeteners and sugar substitutes: The general perception is that sweeteners and sugar substitutes are the answer to effective weight loss. Harvard Health reports that sugar-containing natural foods such as whole fruit tend to be highly nutritious and are high in fiber, and low in glycemic content. On the other hand, consuming refined, concentrated sugar in large amounts will raise blood glucose and insulin levels, increases triglycerides, inflammatory mediators and oxygen radicals. This will increase the risk for diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other chronic conditions.
- Salad is the safest option on the menu: Salads are healthy but only when they are without unhealthy add-ons. When you’re in a restaurant, avoid salads with creamy, sweetened, bottled dressings of cheese, bacon, croutons or even sweetened dried fruit. Choose one with leafy greens, lean protein, a small serving of healthy fat, and an oil-based dressing. The oil will absorb all the fat-soluble nutrients you’re eating. Adding herbs like basil, garlic, lemon juice or parsley to the salad will improve flavor and also many disease fighting antioxidants.
- Coffee is dehydrating: Coffee contains caffeine, which is believed to cause some undesirable side effects. As caffeine is a diuretic, there was an idea that it could lead to dehydration. However, according to a 2016 Live Science report, an expert says that drinking your daily cup of coffee will not dehydrate you. Only very large amounts of caffeine would be harmful to health. Moreover, the report says that some scientific studies show that coffee actually has a number of health benefits as it is rich in antioxidants.
- Butter vs. margarine: The latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommendations recommend that both butter and margarine should be used in moderation. The guidelines limit saturated fat (<10 % of total calories) and trans fats (as low of intake as possible). Since butter is high in saturated fat, and solid margarines often contain artificial trans fats from hydrogenated oils, we need to control our consumption of both these spreads. Make sure to read the Nutrition Facts panel when comparing spreads and choose one that does not have trans fats and has the least amount of saturated fat.