It's about time you knew the truth. 5 Food Myths You Need to Stop Believing

by MyFitness Pal

You can find healthy eating advice on every corner, but that doesn’t mean it’s good advice, though. Nutrition research can be confusing, and it’s always changing. Throw in the sensationalistic headlines and the rate at which information is spread, and it’s no wonder the nutrition tips or suggestions you get from your friend are unsound. Best-case scenario, following bad advice means you unnecessarily avoid your favorite foods. Worst-case, you end up choosing the unhealthier option all while thinking you’re making a better choice.

We zeroed in on five myths about healthy eating that especially need to die.

Myth #1: Egg yolks are bad for you.

Dietary cholesterol has been wrongly accused of raising our blood cholesterol levels for years. It’s become clearer that saturated fats and trans fats are more influential in raising blood cholesterol levels. And while eggs – the yolks included – are high in cholesterol, they are relatively low in saturated fats. Lots of research has been done in recent years, and the verdict is that the entire egg can actually be a part of a healthy diet and in most people, do not significantly impact cholesterol levels or heart disease risk.

Myth #2: Coffee is dehydrating.

Yes, coffee is a diuretic (aka, promotes urine production), but it’s an extremely mild one. It also has a lot of water in it and therefore actually counts toward your daily fluid intake. The amount it would take to dehydrate you is more than anyone should be consuming in a day. If you have two or three cups daily, your fluid levels will be completely fine. Be mindful of your caffeine consumption though.

Myth #3: Natural sugar is different from added sugar.

Sugar is sugar is sugar. On a molecular level, the sugar in an apple is the same as the sugar you spoon into your coffee cup. There can be a difference in how our bodies break down the sugar when it’s combined with other nutrients like fiber and protein, but simply being natural doesn’t cut it. Sugar in a whole fruit comes with fiber and helps slow digestion and prevent blood sugar spikes. That’s better than sugar that comes void of other nutrients. But when you squeeze out the juice and drink it, or eat maple syrup, agave syrup, or honey, your body reacts the same way it would to table sugar or the sugar in a Coke.

Myth #4: Margarine is automatically better than butter.

Margarine become popular in the fat-is-bad era, but many actually contain trans fats, which are worse for you than the naturally occurring saturated fat in butter. Butter’s ingredient list is short and sweet and doesn’t contain extra ingredients to make up for lack of taste. Not all fake butter is bad, but you have to be cautious about what you’re buying. Stick margarines are not recommended due to the fact that they contain hydrogenated oils (aka trans fats). Spreads that are in tubs can be considered, just make sure the ingredients are beneficial. Look for ones with olive oil to get a good dose of healthy plant-based fat.

Myth #5: Salads are always the healthiest option on the menu.

You’d think that choosing the salad is safe. But all the add-ons piled atop a bed of lettuce can make the sugar, fat, and calorie count just as high as the mouthwatering burger you’re trying to resist. Watch out for tricky salad toppings that add up quickly: creamy, bottled dressings; cheese; bacon; croutons; or sweetened, dried fruit. Other ingredients, like avocado and nuts, are healthy in small amounts but are usually served in too-large portion sizes. To make sure your salad is as healthy as possible, look for one with leafy greens, lean protein (fried chicken doesn’t count), a small serving of healthy fat, and an oil-based dressing on the side. The oil helps you absorb all the fat-soluble nutrients you’re eating, and keeps you away from caloric creamy dressing.