We have all heard various myths pertaining to our daily food intake, some of which we have taken from our parents and grandparents down the age, while some of which we have received from the media or other sources. However, we need to be sure about the myths and facts pertaining our food so as to be able to have a healthy and nutritional diet each day. Well Known Nutritionist, Vasudha Sainik debunks common myths of food
1) Carbohydrates lead to weight gain.
Partial Myth: Carbohydrates by themselves do not cause weight gain unless they contribute to excess calorie intake. In fact, they are necessary for us and our body as our body banks upon them for energy. Carbohydrates can be classified as simple carbohydrates & complex carbohydrates.
Whole wheat flour, un-seived chapatti, whole bajra ,jowar, whole wheat bread, brown rice, whole grain pasta, oats, and barley are the whole grains which are sources of complex carbohydrates and loaded with nutrients. Complex carbohydrates are high-fiber foods, which improves the digestion. They help to stabilize the blood sugar, keeps energy at an even level, and helps us feel satisfied longer after our meal. Carbohydrates takes care of our health by protecting us against a range of chronic diseases.
Sugar, honey, sweets, jaggery, sweetened or unsweetened fruit juices, jams, jellies are all simple sugars or simple carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates can alter the mood, lead to cravings and compulsive eating, cause wide swings in blood-sugar levels. In addition, a high consumption of sugar can lead to uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms when you finally decide to improve your diet and forgo the sweets. Thus Discretion is the word…!
It’s not carbohydrates that leads to weight gain, it’s the choice of food & ‘yes’ the frequency of indulgence.
2) Cooking veggies destroys their vitamin content.
Myth: Cooking kills the bacteria and other parasites living in meat and on the surfaces of vegetables. Cooking also increases the amount of a nutrient that can be digested and absorbed.
Now, this is definitely a myth, and the fact that we all eat cooked vegetables ever since we were born stands testimony to this. Cooking actually boosts your body's ability to absorb the nutrients in some vegetables. The most important rule is to not overboil veggies as nutrients slip out of the vegetables into the boiling water, and all that goodness will be lost.
3) Calories eaten at night are more fattening than those eaten early in the day
Myth: Always follow the rule, “Eat more when you are active, less when you are not” simply because it helps the body burn the calories efficiently. When we are active, the metabolic rate of the body increases and helps in the fat burning process.
Also by 7pm our body’s metabolism becomes more sluggish. Calories eaten at night are not fattening if we are going to be active enough to utilize the calories.
4) Eggs are bad for your heart
Myth: Eggs are in fact, a very good source of nutrients. One egg contains 6 grams of protein and some healthful unsaturated fats. Eggs are also a good source of choline and many other vitamins & minerals.
But the word of caution lies here; Eggs have a lot of cholesterol. An average egg contains 212 milligrams of cholesterol. Thus, the population with heart disease, obesity & people with diabetes, have to take precaution. They can enjoy eggs without worrying about cholesterol by not including the egg-yolk, which contains all the cholesterol.
5) Fat free food helps to lose weight
Myth: 'Low-fat' or 'fat-free' doesn't necessarily mean low calorie or calorie-free. This is because in order to make such foods taste better, extra sugar and other things are added. These ingredients are high in calories and may lead to weight gain.
Foods labeled low-fat should contain no more than 3g fat per 100g. With low fat foods, look to see where else the calories might come from. Also watching the quantity is important, people tend to eat more, because a particular food claims to be fat free.
There is no need to follow a fat-free diet. Cutting down on saturated fats and eating unsaturated fats, found in olive oil,flax seeds and nuts will help.
6) Healthy food is expensive
Myth: What is more expensive, Pizza at the latest joint or the chapatti bhaji made at home? There are many other examples like this,
In India with varied eating options around, it is actually difficult to say what is expensive, buying a handful of groundnuts for 10 bucks or a vada-pav for 10 bucks. Or is it that buying 4 oranges for 20 bucks more expensive or a lavish coffee at one of the happening café’s.
The answer here lies in the questions itself. It’s the choice of food, where we go wrong..price and affordability comes secondary.
7) It is ok have honey and jaggery instead of sugar
Myth: Honey, jaggery or sugar, are all simple sugars and will given you roughly 4 kcals per 1gm. For Diabetics, all of them will increase the sugar levels equally. For obese individuals & weight-watchers it is going to add carbohydrate & calories in equal proportion.
Jaggery & honey are better over sugar, just because they are packed with other vital micro-nutrients. Honey contains a variety of vitamins and minerals. Honey is high in vitamin C, a variety of B vitamins such as niacin, riboflavin, and pantothenic acid, as well as, minerals such as potassium.
Similarly, jaggery is a potent source of iron. It has a considerably high iron and copper & magnesium contents.
To know more about food myths you can contact Nutritionist, Vasudha Sainik at email@example.com or 98213 92011. You can also share your opinion or other myths about food in the comment section below.