The Top 5 Nutrition Myths

Posted: August 13, 2015 in Blog, Food, Nutrition
doctor holding a pizza

We’re all looking for the same things. The latest superfood; ‘healthy’ chocolate; the fastest way to lose weight without giving up too many foods we like.

Journalists, marketers and, yes, bloggers, all know that people gobble up information about the latest food that packs more nutrition than a vitamin pill, or vegetable that offers “negative” calories. So they shovel the info out knowing that they’ll get lots of readers and buyers.

Unfortunately, that churning out of information on healthy foods and nutrition ends up creating a number of myths. It’s like the game of “telephone”, where a message is relayed around a circle of people to see how much the message changes as it gets passed from one person to another.

Fortunately, there is hard research to support or debunk some of what you hear about healthy eating. And many of the findings are surprising.

Myth #1
Kale is King of Superfoods

Even the term “superfood” reeks of marketing and journalistic flair. A study at William Paterson University in the U.S. released in 2014 checked fruits and vegetables for their density of 17 nutrients linked to better cardiovascular health.

The highest ranking vegetable: watercress. Eight of the top 10 were leafy greens. But – are you ready for this – none of them were kale, which ranked 11th. Kale lagged behind long-time high-nutrition favourites, like spinach (it worked for Popeye), and some surprising top-ten finishers, like parsley and chives.

Myth #2
Nutrition Bars are Full of Nutrients

Let’s just shut this down straight away. The vast majority of nutrition, power and granola bars contain so much sugar that it negates most of the nutritional benefits and makes them more akin to candy than a nutritious food.

Power Bar promotes its new Fruit & Nuts variety as a “wholesome, nutritious choice”. But it contains the full daily amount of sugar that the World Health Organization recommends for an adult woman – in a single bar.

Myth #3
Dark Chocolate is Good for You

There has to be something that is good for you and tastes great. Dark chocolate fills that role for many of us. Though it’s not quite as delicious as milk chocolate, it doesn’t have the fat and, once you get used to it, it’s well worth the sacrifice.

But dark chocolate is dark because it hasn’t been processed and pumped up with milk and sugar. There are varying degrees of “darkness” depending on how much the chocolate is processed. But it’s only dark chocolate that’s 70% cacao or higher that gives you any real health benefits.

Myth #4
Multi-grain Bread is Better for You Than White Bread

Marketers love to play games with words to make you think you’re getting something you’re not. The problem with most white bread is that the nutritious parts of the wheat grain are stripped away to get its white colour. Whole grain breads are healthier because they have the nutrients from the entire grain.

Multi-grain bread is not necessarily made from whole grains (unless it says so on the package). So multi-grain bread is similar to white bread, except it has a greater variety of grains that have had most of their nutrients stripped away.

Myth #5
Yogurt Helps the Bacteria in Your Stomach

This is a myth that’s true, but not really. Yes, many yogurts have active bacterial cultures that fight bad bacteria in your gut.

But most grocery-store yogurts have lots of sugar. Not only is that not great for your nutrition, but bad bacteria loves sugar (it’s why sugary foods cause tooth decay). There’s so much sugar in yogurt that it attracts more bad bacteria than it eliminates. A single 170g serving of Danone Creamy Fruit Blends Strawberry Banana yogurt has almost 7 teaspoons of sugar.

There are many more myths, inaccuracies and untruths floating around about many of the foods we eat and take for granted. To learn more about the right foods for you to have a nutritious diet and healthily lose weight, visit your local Herbal One Centre and talk to a trained nutritional consultant.