Our goal should always be to eat as healthy as possible. Most of us do our best, but some of us live by a bunch of healthy eating myths that are, let’s just say, unsound. But they seem plausible, and taken as legit by many, especially when repeated non-stop by the media. And they often do more harm than good.
Today we’ll take a look at some of these healthy eating myths, and show you what science has to say about them.
Myth #1: Fruit juices are as good as a fruit
Freshly squeezed fruit juices are filled with vitamins and minerals. And they are also extremely tasty. But do you know what they also have? Calories!
When we look at the sugar content of a glass of apple juice, we’ll see that it can sometimes have more of it than a glass of sugary soda. Besides, the sugar in whole fruit is digested slower – it doesn’t cause an insulin spike like the one in the juice.
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Myth #2: Carbs make you fat
This is one of the healthy eating myths that have been around for decades, ever since the Atkins diet was released. A low-carb / no-carb diet is seen as the only one that will ensure a quick and lasting fat loss. Which is, simply put, a myth.
Carbohydrates are not some special kind of nutrients that transform into fat. It’s eating them in excess that grows your padding – which is true for all other nutrients. Carbs just happen to be the ones that are easiest to consume, in the form of refined sugar or high-fructose corn syrup.
To prove this myth wrong, a Kansas State University professor went on a “Twinkies diet” for ten weeks – with carefully controlled portions, of course. Toward the end of the ten-week period, he already lost 27 pounds (over 12 kg).
Myth #3: If you eat at night, you’ll be fat
This myth sees calories as if they were the hairy critter from “Gremlins” that, if fed after midnight, turns into an evil monster. Most people think eating at night is especially bad for your health, which is wrong.
Calories are calories, no matter when you eat them. It is your total intake that makes you fat or keeps you lean in the long run.
Myth #4: You need to detox
You are surrounded by toxic substances. You eat them, you breathe them in, your body even produces them, and they build up inside your body. At least this is what some people think. And the very same people believe that you should go to “detox” diets periodically to get rid of them. But they do nothing but undervalue the work of their internal organs.
Detox is one of the modern healthy eating myths that seems not to go away, even if there is evidence that it’s not needed by the body. Our liver works 24/7 to eliminate any toxins we consume – it’s its job, after all. The only help we can give it is to eat clean, allowing it to do its job efficiently.
Myth #5: Brown is better
People will choose brown sugar or bread over the white one since they associate its color with a better nutritional profile. This is one of the health myths promoted by manufacturers and has nothing to do with health.
Most types of brown sugar and brown bread are not brown because of their nature, but because of the coloring agents used to make them. Brown bread is often colored using molasses, a byproduct of sugar manufacturing – the same thing that makes brown sugar sticky.
Being brown doesn’t change the nutrient content of bread, and doesn’t transform sugar into a superfood. It’s just a way to make them more attractive to shoppers.