Top 4 Myths about Nutrition November 16 2013
With so much information on cable TV and on websites competing for attention, it is sometimes difficult to sort nutrition facts from fiction. The advocates for each new product or fad diet make claims that really need to be examined in light of scientific facts.
Whether you use your high performance blender to make raw fruit or vegetable smoothies, or you prefer to make soups, sauces and dips, debunking these top 4 myths will give you some information about ingredients you use.
#1 You shouldn’t eat eggs because they raise your cholesterol
It is true that a regular chicken egg contains 200 mg of cholesterol and 1.6 grams of saturated fat; most of the cholesterol is in the yolk. But egg consumption alone does not raise one’s cholesterol levels.
An individual person’s cholesterol level is due to a number of factors, including heredity and activity level. Anyone who has quizzed a doctor about the components of cholesterol test results learns that there are at least three separate measurements: low density lipoproteins (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol, very low density lipoproteins (VLDL) also known as triglycerides, and high density lipoproteins (HDL) or “good” cholesterol. It is the interrelationship of these three components along with the overall total that doctors consider before prescribing medication, dietary changes or
While eating high cholesterol foods can contribute to higher cholesterol levels, it is important to eat them in moderation and make sure you are getting plenty of exercise and that your diet is consistently healthy overall.
#2 A vegetarian diet is a healthy diet
Not all vegetarians or vegans have healthy diets. A person attempting a vegetarian diet must find alternative sources of protein and make sure that sufficient levels of calcium, vitamin B12 and omega-3 can be found in non-meat products and non-animal products, as well. While it may appear on the surface that a vegetarian diet is healthier, it is up to the individual to pay attention to daily requirements and select meals that provide the necessary nutrition. By including veggie burgers, lentils, beans, tofu, nuts and seeds in the vegetarian diet, you will reach the recommended level of protein.
If you are staying away from dairy completely, include kale, spinach and collard greens to ensure that you are getting the proper amount of calcium. Miso, seaweed and nutritional yeast are good sources of vitamin B12.
Green smoothies, soups or sauces made with your high performance blender can help you achieve the right nutritional balance needed in the vegetarian diet.
#3 All sugar is unhealthy and should be avoided
The body converts all sugar, whether processed or fructose from fruit, starches and carbohydrates into glucose, which is needed for energy. The insulin our bodies produce carries the glucose into the cells to be used for energy or stored for later use. Too much sugar overloads the body, causing weight gain, hyperactivity and the infamous “sugar crash” when the energy is expended and the sugar level plummets.
Sugar from fruit is digested and enters the bloodstream at a more even rate than sweets and processed sugar. As a result, the body’s sugar level does not tend to spike and crash when it creates glucose from fruit. Another obvious benefit from fruit is that you receive vital vitamins and minerals not present in other sugary snacks.
Fruit smoothies provide energy, and a smoothie base of dairy milk or soymilk gives you a protein boost.
#4 Organic foods have higher nutritional value
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) defined the processes that must be followed in order to earn the “organic” label. Organic fruits and vegetables must be grown without the use of chemicals or synthetic material. Fertilizers must be natural, and farmers use beneficial insects instead of insecticides. Weed growth is controlled through crop rotation and weeding instead of spraying herbicides. Organic meats must come from animals that have not been given antibiotics, hormones or any other medications that would prevent disease or encourage growth.
According to an article published on the Mayo Clinic’s website ***, a study that reviewed articles and papers written in the last 50 years was not able to conclude that organic foods are more nutritious than food grown using conventional methods. Organic fruits, vegetables and meats are more expensive, though, due to the labor-intensive processes that must be followed in order to earn the distinctive label.
Whether you make raw smoothies from organic or conventional produce, you will receive the same nutritional benefits. It is the ingredients you choose that determines health value, and not the way the food is produced.
Consider these myths officially debunked and most all-or-nothing statements; all generalized bits of knowledge should be closely examined. When it comes to nutrition, it is important to gather as much scientifically valid information as possible because good health depends on good choices.
*** Reference Mayo Clinic's website: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/organic-food/NU00255