Myths We Have All Believed About Food

Collage of four photos: breads, fried egg, corn syrup, and ice cream1. Myth: Eating eggs raises your cholesterol and is bad for your heart.

In recent decades eggs have been condemned for their high cholesterol content and their potential for increasing risk for heart disease. Recent research has suggested a different story. According to an article by the Harvard School of Public Health, eating 1-2 eggs a day can actually lower your risk of heart disease due to the presence of protein, vitamins B12 and D, riboflavin, and folate in the yolk.

The confusion about eggs revolves around the presence of cholesterol in egg yolks. There certainly is cholesterol in eggs, but it refers to dietary cholesterol, which is different from the cholesterol in our blood.  In fact, dietary cholesterol doesn’t greatly impact the amount of cholesterol in your blood. Trans fats and saturated fats on the other hand greatly dictate the cholesterol level in blood.  That being said, people with diabetes and heart related problems should be cautious about eating egg yolks.

2. Myth: High Fructose Corn Syrup is worse than sugar

High fructose corn syrup (HFCS), a sweetener that is derived from corn syrup. It is often portrayed as being enemy number one when it comes to sweeteners, but the reality is that HFCS isn’t any worse than other sugars. “From a biochemical standpoint, [high fructose corn syrup] is no different from sucrose, or table sugar,” says Marion Nestle, professor of nutrition at NYU.  The problem with this sweetener is that companies add it to many of their products so people end up consuming more sugar than is healthy.  Companies began using HFCS instead of sugar because it is significantly cheaper to produce.  Those who are opposed to HFCS argue that the substance is responsible for the increase in diabetes and obesity in the United States; however, not all experts agree.  Certainly, obesity began to become more common around the same time that food producers extensively implemented HFCS, but a broader perspective may be necessary to explain the correlation.  Some experts believe that because HFCS is cheaper, food producers were able to add it to more products and lower the cost of sweet foods.  As a result, Americans developed a sweet tooth and began eating more sugary foods.

3. Myth: Carbohydrates cause weight gain.

The truth is, calories cause weight gain, not carbs.  Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for your body.  Whole grains, beans, and high fiber fruits and veggies are all sources of good carbs.  Carbs get a bad name from refined foods like white bread, pasta, and other ultra processed foods.  The bad combination of simple carbs and fatty foods tells our body to store fat and can lead to weight gain.  In short, if you want to lose weight by cutting out carbs, cut out processed flour, refined sugars, and packaged food.

4. Myth: Eating late at night will make you gain weight

According to the Weight Control Information Network, a part of the US Department of Agriculture, “it does not matter what time of day you eat. It is what and how much you eat and how much physical activity you do during the whole day that determines whether you gain, lose, or maintain your weight.”  The current conventional thought about calorie intake is that a calorie is a calorie regardless of when it is eaten.  This means that eating a late night snack does not necessarily lead to weight gain.  That being said, spreading calories out over the entire day is ideal for a healthy diet, so keep that after dinner snack around 200 calories or less.  As always, eating minimal amounts of processed, sugary foods is the best choice for a healthy lifestyle.  



2 thoughts on “Myths We Have All Believed About Food

  1. Thanks. I’m enjoying the informative emails you’re sending out. Keep up the good work!

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