Focusing on your health can sometimes lead you to find contradictory statements. There are many misconceptions out there when it comes to food and daily nutrition and understanding what's good and what's bad when it comes to your daily diet isn't always black and white. Separating nutrition facts from myths can allow you to know what you need to cut back on and what is okay to include in your daily efforts to eat more healthily.
Myth #1 – Microwaving Food Depletes Nutrient Content
This urban legend often gets passed down within families. The fact is many minerals and vitamins such as vitamin C are heat sensitive. This means the longer you cook foods that are rich in these nutrients, the less nutrition they have. Using the microwave to cook vegetables can be a good way to quickly steam them while retaining their nutritional value compared to boiling them in water for a longer period of time.
Myth #2 – Multigrain and Whole Grain Mean the Same Thing
One would think that the more types of grains a food has, the better. However, just because something has multiple types of grains, it doesn't mean it contains the whole part of the it. Whole grain means using every part of the grain—including the kernel, the bran, the germ, and the endosperm—which provides more nutrition than refined grains. According to the Journal of Nutrition there is consistent evidence that whole grains can play an important role in heart health, balancing blood sugar, weight management, and digestive health.
Myth #3 – Eating Eggs Raises Your Cholesterol
This misconception is common and can be boiled down to understanding that there are different types of cholesterol. The cholesterol which is found in eggs and other foods you ingest is called dietary cholesterol. This type does not greatly influence the amount of cholesterol in your bloodstream compared to the cholesterol your body makes on its own. It's the saturated and trans-fats in foods that increase your body's cholesterol production. Eggs, while containing some trans-fats, are not nearly as unhealthy as many commonly think. They contain several vitamins and minerals that your body needs each day such as vitamin D, vitamin A, and vitamin B12; plus the trace minerals selenium and iodine. So before you dismiss eggs from your diet, make sure you know the good things you're missing out as well. In fact, researchers from the University of Missouri recently presented research stating that eating a high-protein diet consisting of eggs early in the day can help reduce total calorie intake throughout the rest of that day, which can promote better overall weight management.
Myth #4 – White Vegetables Contain No Nutritional Value
Because of all the positives associated with brightly-colored vegetables, you can see how white-colored vegetables would be thought of being less nutritious. However, this is simply just not true. Foods such as cauliflower, turnips, potatoes, parsnips, corn, and onions all contain essential nutrients like fiber, potassium, and magnesium that are important for everyday health. Just this past year, researchers and experts at the University of Purdue formed a roundtable discussion called White Vegetables: A forgotten Source of Nutrients. The discussion helped assuage the claims that white vegetables lack the same healthy punch as multicolored varieties. In particular, many experts showed that these vegetables can be important in filling in daily nutritional gaps.
Myth #5 – Using the Salt Shaker Is a Big Factor in Raising Sodium Levels
With 9 out of 10 Americans consuming more than the recommended value of 2,300 mg of sodium daily, it's easy to blame the salt shaker for high sodium levels. However, 90% of sodium intake comes from eating processed and prepared foods. Manufacturers often use it as a preservative, so it can be found in abundance in foods that might not even taste salty. Your best bet in cutting back is to read the nutrition labels for sodium amounts. As a general guide, look for entrees with no more than 800 mg sodium and no more than 200 mg for snacks. The right knowledge is key to making healthy, informed decisions when supporting your daily nutrition needs. Before deciding to cut something from your diet for good, take the time to do some research—the truth may surprise you.