6 Food Myths to Stop Believing
Nutrition is confusing — one day, fat is bad; the next day, everyone is dousing all of their meals in coconut oil. However, some myths are just that: myths. Let’s take a look at the top six most commonly circulated myths about food.
1. Organic Food is Always Healthier
While some foods — like fruits and vegetables on the “dirty dozen” list that are found to have the highest amount of pesticides — are recommended to purchase organic, other foods use the term on their packaging as a so-called “health halo.” For example, organic cookies are still cookies — they are not any healthier!
2. Egg Yolks Are Unhealthy
This myth has been touted for decades, and recent nutrition research has made it clear that egg yolks are not unhealthy! In fact, egg yolks have many nutritional benefits that egg whites don’t, including healthy fats, choline, and even omega-3 fatty acids in some types of eggs.
3. All Fat is Bad
Similarly, many nutrition messages in the 1990s and 2000s claimed that fat is bad and makes us fat. However, this could not be further from the truth — fat is an essential macronutrient that our bodies require to function properly. Plus, fat keeps us satiated and can help us lose weight.
4. Salads and Smoothies Are Always Healthy
On the flip side, salads and smoothies often get a health halo, even when they are packed with unhealthy ingredients. For example, a Cobb salad at a restaurant may be loaded with excess cheese, bacon, and a creamy ranch dressing, which could counteract the health benefits of the lettuce and other vegetables. Similarly, smoothies can contain several cups of fruit or fruit juices, adding hundreds of grams of sugar to your seemingly healthy breakfast.
5. Everyone Should Be Gluten-Free
While some people undoubtedly need to avoid gluten, the majority of the general population does not need to avoid this protein. Found in wheat, barley, and rye, gluten has been recently villainized, but most people do just fine with consuming it. Plus, many “gluten-free” replacement foods can be higher in refined carbohydrates and sugar.
6. Coffee is Bad For You
Similar to gluten, some people don’t do well with coffee or caffeine, as it can increase anxiety or contribute to poor sleep. However, coffee does have some health benefits, like being the most significant source of antioxidants in the American diet. While coffee is a slight diuretic, it is a mild one, and likely won’t cause dehydration unless you’re guzzling gallons of it.