The best nutrition advice is based on science and fact. Before making changes to your diet make sure that you know the facts and that the practices are based on good science and not myths and misinformation. Here are five popular nutrition myths along with the facts you need to get on the right track to eat better for your health.
Myth #1: Eating healthy is hard and complicated and the recommendations change all the time.
The Facts: Healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle do not have to be complicated. Use the USDA’s MyPlate www.choosemyplate.gov as a guide for an overall healthy eating plan. Its key messages include eating a variety of healthy choices from each of the food groups and enjoying physical activity each day. MyPlate can be personalized to make it work for you.
Myth #2: Weight loss diets work.
The Facts: Diets don’t work, healthy lifestyles DO. It is estimated that 98% of all dieters regain weight loss after going off a “diet”. Those most successful at losing and maintaining weight loss made substantial changes in their eating and activity habits. If the diet seems too good to be true it probably is. You didn’t gain the weight overnight, adapting new habits and lifestyle changes take time, too.
Myth # 3: All carbohydrates should be avoided.
The Facts: Carbohydrate-rich foods are a critical part of a healthy and active lifestyle. In fact, they are the preferred source of fuel for the body. The thing to remember is that all carbohydrates are not created equally. Some carbohydrates such as sugars and starches like those found in candies, soda pop and white breads offer quick energy and little other nutrition. While other carbohydrates such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables contain nutrients like fiber, vitamins and minerals and offer slow-released, sustained energy. As with all foods, portion control is essential. Carbohydrates can be an important and enjoyable part of a healthy diet.
Myth #4: I really don’t have control over my health.
The Facts: You have more control than you think; genetics plays a small role in your overall health. The fact is that 90% of all Type 2 Diabetes, 80% of cases of heart disease and 33% of cancers can be prevented with good nutrition, an active lifestyle and a healthy weight. There is never any time better than right now to start eating more fruits, vegetables and whole grains in place of convenience type foods that are high in fat and sodium.
Myth #5 everyone should take vitamin supplements and/ or mega-vitamins as an insurance policy for good health.
The Facts: Food should be the primary source of needed vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. Eating a wide variety of foods is still the best way to get all these essential nutrients. Phytochemicals, compounds in foods that appear to promote health by reducing your risk of certain diseases, can be an added bonus in foods like fruits and vegetables. For those who choose to use supplements, select those that do not exceed the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for that nutrient. If you think you have a specific nutrient need, contact a health professional for recommendations. Over supplementation can hurt both your health and your budget.
By Cheryle Jones Syracuse, PhD.
Judy’s passion for cooking began with helping her grandmother make raisin oatmeal for breakfast. From there she earned her first food service job at 15, was accepted to the world-famous Culinary Institute of America at 18 (where she graduated second in her class), and went on to the Fachschule Richemont in Switzerland where she focused on pastry arts and baking. After a decade in food service for Hyatt Hotels, Judy launched Food and Health Communications to focus on flavor and health. She graduated with Summa Cum Laude distinction from Johnson and Wales University with a BS in Culinary Art, holds a master’s degree in Food Business from the Culinary Institute of America, 2 art certificates from UC Berkeley Extension, and runs a food photography studio where her love is creating fun recipes.
Judy received The Culinary Institute of America’s Pro Chef II certification, the American Culinary Federation Bronze Medal, Gold Medal, and ACF Chef of the Year. Her enthusiasm for eating nutritiously and deliciously leads her to constantly innovate and use the latest in nutritional science and Dietary Guidelines to guide her creativity, from putting new twists on fajitas to adapting Italian brownies to include ingredients like toasted nuts and cooked honey. Judy’s publishing company, Food and Health Communications, is dedicated to her vision that everyone can make food that tastes as good as it is for you.