Nutrition fact…or fiction?
Here’s a sample of fact or fiction topics. Check out my blog here for more tips.
#1. Is margarine is healthier than butter? It all depends…
…on the type of margarine you choose. If you choose a cheap type of margarine that is hydrogenated, you’d be better off with butter. Hydrogenation is a process used by the food industry. It changes the structure of fat in margarine, turning a liquid vegetable oil into a solid at room temperature.
The downside of hydrogenation is that it creates trans fat. Trans fat is very bad for your heart because it both raises your “bad” (LDL) cholesterol and lowers your “good” (HDL) cholesterol.
However, non- hydrogenated margarine is definitely healthier than butter, which contains saturated fat. When consumed in excess, saturated fat can raise “bad” (LDL) cholesterol.
#2. Is eating after 7 pm sure to cause weight gain? Nope. Calories can’t tell time.
A calorie is a calorie, it doesn’t matter what hour you ingest it. Your body won’t metabolize calories any slower because it is late in the day. Always listen to your body and if you are hungry, eat something. If you’ve already had dinner, snack on low-calorie options like fruit.
The only problem you may face from eating late in the day is a little insomnia. Foods containing caffeine can stimulate the body and disrupt the body’s sleep cycle.
#3. Do I really have to do a regular cleanse to rid the body of toxins? NO (thank goodness)!
If this were true then those of us who don’t cleanse would be very unhealthy! If this were true then we wouldn’t need a liver—the second largest organ of the human body. Or at least our liver wouldn’t have much to do.
Detoxifying is one of the liver’s most important jobs. It eliminates all harmful substances from our blood, such as alcohol, drugs and environmental toxins, by metabolizing and/or secreting them.
So no, you don’t need to do a cleanse. But you can help your liver by eating lots of fruits and vegetables. They contain antioxidants that help to neutralize free radicals, molecules in our body that can damage cells and tissues.
#4. Will eating sugar cause diabetes? Not directly.
Eating excess amounts of sugar will not directly cause diabetes. The amount of sugar (glucose) in our blood is managed by insulin, which is produced by the pancreas. Insulin keeps the glucose level within a normal range.
In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas does not produce enough insulin and individuals must take artificial insulin injections to keep the blood glucose level normal. Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body becomes resistant to insulin and the pancreas cannot make enough insulin to overcome this resistance.
So, what is sugar’s role, when it comes to causing diabetes? Eating too much of it can lead to weight gain. When an individual has excess amounts of fatty tissue, especially in the abdominal area, he or she could be at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
#5. Do I have to limit my egg consumption because of eggs’ cholesterol content? Not necessarily.
First, a kind word for cholesterol. Despite all the bad press it’s been getting, cholesterol plays a very important role in maintaining good health. It is critical to many of the body’s metabolic functions, such as absorbing fat-soluble vitamins from food, and the production of hormones.
Our liver produces enough cholesterol naturally that we do not need to supplement it through the foods we eat. A healthy diet limits the daily intake of cholesterol to 300 mg.
So, what about eggs and cholesterol? Egg yolks do contain cholesterol, about 190 mg per yolk. Eggs also contain a low amount of saturated fat (about 1.5 g) and zero trans fats. Research has shown that eating an egg a day does not always affect the body’s LDL (“bad”) cholesterol level.
However, if you have high cholesterol levels it may be a good idea to reduce your intake of eggs and other cholesterol-containing foods in order to reduce your risk factors for heart disease.
Researchers have found that rising cholesterol numbers are more likely to be caused by eating saturated and trans fats. Always choose lean cuts of meat, low-fat dairy products and remove the skin from poultry to limit your saturated fat intake.
If you aren’t sure if a specific food contains cholesterol, consider its source. If the source had a heart, then the food will naturally contain cholesterol.
#6. Is healthy eating expensive? It doesn’t have to be.
Everyone wants to save a dollar. Many people want to eat healthily. With a little know-how and discipline, it’s possible to do both.
Here are some ways to cut back on your food spending.
- Visit discount stores. You can save up to 30%.
- Make a shopping list and stick to it.
- Use coupons. 25 or 50 cents may seem insignificant at the time but every cent counts. The trick is to keep the coupons in your wallet–and not on the kitchen table!
- Buy in bulk when it makes sense. As long as you can use it up or freeze the product before it expires, bulk is usually cheaper. Consider the cost per serving.
- Look for sales and deals.
- Don’t be brand-loyal. Always choose the product that is on sale, or part of a special offer such as 2 for 1. But don’t buy two if you only need one. You will still get a discount. It just might not be as cheap.
- Look down! Grocery stores often stock their less expensive, but generally just as good, store brands on the bottom shelf in the grocery aisle.
- Check out sale shelves. Bread, produce and even meat sections often discount items that are close to their expiry date. They are safe to eat as long as you do so that same day or shortly thereafter.
- Shop once a week, maximum. Limiting the number of shopping trips will save you money over time. If you are incredibly organized, like one of my clients, you can shop once a month for most items and then weekly for perishable items such as milk.