What I’m about to tell you goes against the grain of everything you’ve ever thought about food and nutrition, professional hypochondriacs. Some rarely challenged “myths” about food influence what we buy and feed our families. Isn’t it time we learned the facts?
Here’s the lowdown on some common nutritional myths according to Melissa Dobbins, MS, RD, prenatal and diabetes educator at NorthShore University HealthSystem in Evanston, Ill, and national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.
“Sugar causes hyperactivity.” Contrary to popular belief, eating sugar does not cause your blood sugar to spike and crash unless you have diabetes or another condition. When your kids start bouncing off the walls, it’s the party, not the sugar.
“Sugar causes obesity.” According to the American Dietetic Association, sugar does not cause diabetes or obesity. Sugar is a carb and has 4 calories per gram, while fat has 9 calories per gram. Fat has a much greater propensity to cause weight gain than does sugar.
“Low-carb diets can make you lose weight.” Carbs get a bad rap, with so many people talking about cutting back on carbs to lose weight. But weight loss is all about calories in vs. calories out. Low carb isn’t any better for weight loss than any other diet. Don’t go low carb. Go light carb and the right carb. That means whole grains, high fiber, popcorn, oatmeal, brown rice rather than white rice, whole wheat pasta, black beans, soy beans and edamame.
“Organic foods are better for you.” How many times have you seen the mother in the supermarket spending twice as much money buying organic because she thinks it’ll make her a better mom? The American Dietetic Association confirms that conventionally produced is as safe and nutritious as organic. Don’t be fooled by the fear factor. Pesticides used in conventional produce are regulated, so it’s not as if you’re throwing all caution to the wind. Organic produce won’t protect you from foodborne illness, either. Producing organic foods is very expensive, which gives us the impression that organic foods are better for us. Conventional farms can be just as sustainable as organic.
“Fruits and vegetables have to be fresh.” Fruits and vegetables are equally nutritious whether frozen or canned. Frozen vegetables are frozen at their peak of nutrition. Canned vegetables may have lots of sodium but are significantly less expensive than fresh. Bottom line: it doesn’t have to cost more to eat healthy.