OLIVE OIL WON’T MAKE YOU FAT. Myth: Olive oil contains the healthy kind of fatty acids. It’s good for your heart no matter how much you eat.
Truth: Olive oil contains a relatively higher proportion of monounsaturated fatty acids, which lowers the bad cholesterol but not the good cholesterol, and may prevent heart disease and stroke. BUT, olive oil is pure fat and provides 9 kcal per gram. Excessive intake of calories would result obesity.
EATING FISH IS HEALTHIER THAN OTHER PROTEINS SO WE CAN CONSUME MORE OF IT. Myth: Fish contains good source of protein, with the abundant amount of omega 3 fatty acids, making it a healthy food choice.
Truth: It’s true that fish is a protein rich food, but we should be aware of the right amount of protien intake rather than too much. For healthy adults, we need 5 to 6 ounces per day, providing approximately 35-42 g proteins, together with protein from other food groups such as grains and cereals, making up to 50-60 g proteins, whick meet the requirement of most adults.
NUTS IS A HEALTHY SNACK OPTION SO THERE I CAN HAVE AS MUCH AS I WANT. Myth: Nuts contain heart-healthy fats which have protective effects for the heart, so choosing nuts over other snack foods like potato chips will be better for the body.
Truth: Nuts, although they do have heart-healthy fats, are high-calorie foods. So, having large amounts of nuts can still lead to weight gain and possibly obesity which have negative health implications. It is suggested to have no more than a handful of nuts (best to be dry-roasted, unsalted) a day.
GRAPEFRUIT IS THE IDEAL DIET FOOD. Myth: Eating grapefruit instead of regular meals can lead to weight loss because grapefruit has substances that can speed up your fat metabolism and help you to burn excess calories fast to achieve weight loss.
Truth: Replacing a low-calorie food like grapefruit over other foods mean you are dramatically cutting back your food consumption. As a result, your weight will drop instantly due to the low food intake. However, the rapid weight loss seen is merely water loss and once you start regular food consumption again, you will gain back the lost water weight very quickly. In addition, eating grapefruit does not satisfy your appetite, so you can easily become too hungry and overeat and gain even more weight than before.
SALADS ARE LOW CALORIE FOODS. Myth: Salad is just a big plate of raw vegetables which are very low in calories so eating a salad is eating a light and healthy meal. However, the salad dressing poured on top of the salad can often add some to a lot of calories depending on the type. Mayonnaise is very high in fat so dressings like Caesar, Ranch and Thousand Islands will add about 60kcal per tablespoon to the salad.
Truth: Salads can be a great way to add more vegetables into your diet as long as you be careful about how much calories you will add by drizzling on the salad dressing. Best to choose lower-calorie salad dressings such as olive oil & vinegar and go easy on the amount you use.
FROZEN YOGURT IS BETTER THAN OTHER FROZEN TREATS. Myth: Frozen yogurt are much lower fat than ice cream so they must be much lower in calories and hence is not “fattening” and can be enjoyed freely.
Truth: Frozen yogurt has a lower milk fat content than ice cream; however, they are often quite high in sugar which will contribute calories and if enjoyed freely in large amounts, the calories can add up. Also, keep in mind that the toppings added will add additional calories to the treat, and those will make this treat no longer low in calories anymore!
“WHITE MEAT IS HEALTHIER THAN RED MEAT” Myth: White meat contains less cholesterol and fat. It is healthier than red meat and should replace all red meat.
Truth: It’s true that white meat contains less cholesterol, but does not mean that it contains less fat. It depends on which part of the white meat and also the cooking method. Generally speaking, each oz of meat contains 5g of fat. Although red meat contains more cholesterol, it also contains more iron, which is essential for the production of red blood cells. Completely withdrawn from red meat may pose risk of iron-deficiency anaemia.
“BROWN RICE IS FOR DIABETES, BECAUSE IT CONTAINS LESS CARBS.” Myth: White rice would shoot up the blood sugar level and should be restricted in a diabetic diet, whereas brown rice contains less carbs and is more suitable for diabetes.
Truth: Both white rice and brown rice are rich source of carbohydrate and contain the same amount of carbohydrate, therefore, portion must be controlled carefully in diabetic diet. Brown rice is often suggested to diabetes because it contains more fiber, which needs longer time to be digested, thus, raising blood sugar in a slower rat, ie lower glycemic index.
“FRUITS WITH SWEET TASTE COTAIN MORE SUGAR” Myth: the sweeter the fruit tastes, the more sugar it contains and should be avoid by diabetes.
Truth: All fruits contain sugar – fructose. It is the natural kind of sugar in fruits. And yes, fructose contains the same amount of calories as sugar, ie 4 kcal per gram. However, the amount of fructose contained in certain fruit cannot be determined by the sweetness. For example, lemon tastes so sour and yet it contains fructose. For diabetes, they should consider fruits as part of their diet by counting the carbohydrate exchange. They do not need to avoid certain kinds of fruit, but to understand the carbohydrate content and calculate the portion they should eat. In that way, diabetes could still enjoy the variety of fruits.
STARCHY FOODS ARE FATTENING. Myth: Starchy foods contain high amount of carbohydrates, which will be digested into sugar easily, thus stimulating insulin production in our body. Increased level of insulin causes obesity. Therefore, starchy foods should be limited, or even be avoided in our diet.
Truth: The fundamental cause of obesity is the imbalance of energy intake and output, rather than a specific kind of food or nutrient. When energy intake is more than the output, the excessive energy will be converted to fat as storage in our body. Carbohydrate is one of the nutrients that contain energy. Other sources of energy in our diet include protein, fat and alcohol. Therefore, the best way to prevent obesity is to balance the energy intake as well as the output by 1) adopting a balance diet that contains all the nutrients needed with a reasonable energy intake, and 2) including regular exercise in our daily life that ensures sufficient amount of energy output.
HEALTH SUPPLEMENTS ARE QUICK FIX FOR GOOD HEALTH. Myth: We are too busy to take care of our own diet and health supplements become the shortcut.
Truth: Studies have shown that the benefits of supplements are not equal to the nutrients contained in real food because 1) the bioavailability of supplements, 2) the synergistic effect of nutrients in wholesome food, and 3) risk of overdose of the supplemented nutrients. Health supplements can never replace foods.
SKIPPING MEALS HELP REDUCE ENERGY INTAKE, THEREFORE INDUCE WEIGHT LOSS. Myth: By skipping meals, we eat less energy and help lose body weight.
Truth: Skipping meals do not necessarily mean eating less energy, it depends on the amount and kind of food we eat. In fact, skipping meals may switch on the “starvation mode” in our body, resulting suppression of metabolism, ie lowering the energy output. And it’s easy to over-eat after being starved for period of time. On the other hand, small frequent meals with wise choice of food is a effective way for weight management.
FRUIT JUICE IS THE BEST KIND OF DRINK. Myth: Freshly squeezed fruit juice contains less calories, and is the best kind of drinks.
Truth: Fruit juice contains calories, even it is made from real fruit, because fruits contain fructose which provide the same amount of energy as sugar. The best kind of drinks that our body needs is water, which contains NO calorie.
SOY MILK IS GOOD FOR BONE BECAUSE IT IS RICH IN CALCIUM. Myth: Cow’s milk is for cows. Human being should drink soy milk instead, as it provides the same amount of calcium as cow’s milk does.
Truth: Yes, cow’s milk is for cows. Human being should be fed on human milk. However, only infants who are fortunate to be fed on human milk. As infant grow up and wean from human milk, we still need cow’s milk as source of calcium, which is an essential nutrients to ensure bone health. Soy milk contains the same amount of protein as cow’s milk, but 50% less in terms of calcium. Unless calcium-fortified soy milk is chosen, there is risk of calcium deficiency.
HEALTHY EATING = BLAND DIET Myth: Delicious foods must not be healthy, because only foods rich in fat, sugar and salt taste savoury.
Truth: All foods taste naturally. The role of seasoning is to bring out the natural flavour of food, not to mask it. In fact, not all seasoning contains high amount of fat, salt and sugar, such as herbs and spices. Good chefs know well the best combination of foods and seasonings. Gourmet food can be healthy, the most important point to keep in mind is the portion control.