From juice cleanses to hot pockets, we found out the truth on some of the most popular food myths out there
Food is tricky. How do we know what we are putting into our bodies is in fact good for us? How do we know it’s not?
We asked Registered Dietitian and Health Educator for Health Promotions, Megan Anderson her thoughts on 5 common food myths.
Let’s dive right in…
Myth 1: Juice Cleanses
Everyday we see social media influencers posing with their lemon, charcoal and exotic-looking juice promising it will help your body in miraculous ways. We know it’s expensive — but does it really do wonders?
“I’m generally not a huge fan, our bodies are all really efficient when it comes to removing waste from our body, especially when we’re well hydrated and drinking lots of water. The research is also inconsistent, and the studies that do show a bit of a benefit are generally poorly conducted and generalized.
One last concern with juice cleanses is they typically lack the nutrients that keep us full and satisfied (protein, fiber, fat). They tend to lead to a lot of dizziness/fatique and can potentially increase the likelihood of someone entering a binge/purge cycle.”
Myth 2: Fruits and Veggies
It’s a tale as old as time — we’re told to always eat them but some vegetables have a higher carb count and fruits can have loads of sugar in them.
“All of fruits and vegetables will have a certain amount of carbohydrates and the range can vary from 5g per serving to 15g per serving. Starchy veggies (corn, peas, potatoes, winter squash) are on the higher end of the range- but that’s not a bad thing.
Our bodies and brains will use the starch as our primary form of energy, plus the fiber is really important for both gut and heart health. All fruit will have sugar in it — however, this is much different than the added sugars found in drinks and desserts.
Because of the higher fiber content, you see a much slower digestion process and our bodies react quite differently.
So, short answer is YES, some fruits and veggies have carbs and sugar, but it’s nothing to be scared of!”
Myth 3: Fat-Free vs. Full Fat
Picture this: you’re going up and down the aisles looking for salad dressing. You come across a bunch of different options and are swayed by the “fat free” option offering less calories and fewer grams of saturated fat. But, is it really better for you? Or is it just saying that to get you to buy it?
“There are certainly some people who benefit from lower fat foods, but it’s still an important nutrient. Not only does fat help absorb certain vitamins, it’s an important piece of cell structure and neurological health. It also keeps us full longer so it’s helpful to include with meals
“Fat is also really important for flavor, so many fat free products tend to be higher in sodium and sugar to make up for the flavor”.
SO, be sure to check the label and see if that fat free dressing you want is supplementing with other added ingredients.
Myth 4: Organic food
Sprouts, Whole Foods, and everywhere in between has a special aisle for all of their organic options. Our bank accounts feel the pressure, but is organic really worth the cost?
“Research has shown that organic foods have the same nutrient content as conventional foods. So, for someone on a budget, sometimes the more affordable option of conventional foods is just fine.
The thing of course to be concerned with conventional foods is the use of pesticides, including lifetime exposures and the impact on the environment.
I like to tell people- buy organic where you can, but don’t sweat it if you can’t”.
Myth 5: Frozen Food
College is all about finding easy and cheap meals. Especially if you live in a dorm, a microwave can be your best friend. That being said, is fresh food better than frozen?
“I think that with fresh foods, you have more variety in texture and flavor which can add to our enjoyment of foods.
For frozen though, the nutrition content is comparable to fresh and they’re so convenient for everything from just a simple side of steamed veggies to a way to boost the nutrient content of soups and smoothies.
Just be careful with some frozen items, which can have added sodium, saturated fat, and sugar. The healthiest ones are the plain ones!”
So when it’s late at night and you’re hungry, check the label on that Hot Pocket or frozen pizza before eating!
Now that we’ve cleared a few food myths up, you can now choose options that will be not only better for you body but your mind. Use your head and explore all of the options available to you! Here’s to a happy, healthy rest of the semester, Jacks!