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To Eat or Not To Eat - Nutrition Myths and Their Facts

The science of nutrition and human health is constantly evolving. This constant change creates confusion as we hear contradicting information. There is so much information out there, that it can make it hard for us to be sure what is fact and what is fiction. Many nutrition claims are based on fact initially but then are manipulated to appeal to consumers. Look to see if the products' or diet plans claims are backed up by a body of scientific research rather than just one study--or none at all. Educating yourself by separating fact from fiction when it comes to nutrition can help you feel more empowered to develop a nutritious and sustainable dietary pattern that works for your individual needs. Consult a registered dietitian. He or she can work with you to develop a personalized plan providing a balanced approach for long-term success of your fitness goals.

Below are some common myths surrounding nutrition along with facts that debunk them:

  • Myth: Organic foods are healthier than regular foods.

Fact: While organic foods have fewer synthetic pesticides and fertilizers and are

free of hormones and antibiotics, they may not always have a nutritional advantage over their conventional counterparts. It is also unclear if the pesticides used in organic farming are safer than non synthetic pesticides used in conventional farming. Rinsing, peeling when possible, and cooking can reduce the amount of pesticide left on your produce, whether this produce is organic or not. There is no conclusive scientific evidence that organic foods are superior with regard to food safety and nutrition.

  • Myth: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

Fact: Eating breakfast is not necessary for everyone. It does not matter which of the daily meals – the first or the last – is skipped. However it is important to eat the right portion size in your meals and keep sufficient intervals between meals. If you are not hungry first thing, listen to your body. When you are ready to eat, help yourself to healthy options. You should base your breakfast consumption on your preferences and personal goals.

  • Myth: A high protein diet is essential.

Fact: Protein is essential for the body's growth and repair (hence why it is recommended after exercise) and general overall health. However an excess seems to have a negative impact and can lead to adverse effects. It can also be toxic for people with liver disease. Depending on your health and activity levels, you should be getting up to 35 percent of your calories from protein, and ideally from natural sources such as beans, pulses, meat, poultry, fish or eggs.

  • Myth: Foods labelled ‘Sugar Free’ are healthier.

Fact: Find out what is replacing sugar. These products usually contain artificial sweeteners that are hundreds of times sweeter than sugar. Eating too much of these types of chemically treated sugars has been linked to adverse side effects on health and appetite. Several high protein foods such as nutrition bars and breakfast cereals are filled with artificial sweeteners that can damage your fat loss progress without you even realizing it. In savory packaged foods, sugar is often replaced with more salt and/or fat to provide a better mouthfeel, texture and palatability. It is better to consume natural produce as much as possible.

  • Myth: Avoid eggs because of their cholesterol content.

Fact: Dietary cholesterol contained in the whole egg is not well absorbed and does not increase plasma total cholesterol concentration. Most healthy people can eat an egg a day without problems since the body simply compensates the cholesterol intake by manufacturing less cholesterol itself. The chief heart-disease culprits are saturated and trans fats, which have a much greater impact on raising blood cholesterol, especially in people prone to such conditions. One whole egg or two egg whites a day can be part of a healthy diet. Keep cholesterol in check by monitoring saturated fat in your diet.

  • Myth: Bananas make you fat.

Fact: Bananas are healthy, cheap and available all year-around. Banana is a commonly consumed fruit in India. Being rich in nutrients, they are a powerhouse of energy and thus keep you fuller for longer. Bananas are rich in fiber and pectin. A high fiber intake has been linked to reduced body weight and a number of health benefits. They help in decreasing bloating as they allow a good build-up and utility of healthy bacteria. As a replacement for many less nutrient-dense snacks, they can be a healthful option. A balance of what you eat throughout the day, along with how active you are, will have the greatest impact on your weight loss, especially in the long term.

  • Myth: Gluten free is good for health.

Fact: Gluten is a protein found in wheat. A gluten-free diet is recommended for people with celiac disease as they have an intolerance to this wheat protein. Beyond this, there is little evidence that a gluten-free diet offers any particular health benefits. Foods that contain gluten are important sources of nutrients, including protein and iron. When not done carefully, gluten-free diets can lead to deficiencies. Commercially prepared gluten-free snacks and bakery products are usually high in refined carbohydrate, fat, sugar and salt.

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