Food Myths: Separate Facts from Fiction @ Reward Me

Food myths -- true and false.

Today there is a wealth of information about food and its importance to our health. Many people are aware of and interested in food facts, and new information about what and how we should eat continues to be developed. Sometimes it is said that a particular food has miraculous properties, whereas other foods have acquired an undeserved bad reputation, and as a result we avoid a food that might in a larger perspective be good for us to include in our menu and our habits. In this article, we discuss some common myths about food -- both true and false.

"Coffee increases fat metabolism -- false.
This myth is doubtful, at least when we're talking about it in relation to weight loss. The amount of fatty acids in the blood increases with intake of caffeine, but unfortunately this does not mean that the body's consumption of fat necessarily increases. However, caffeine has other mechanisms of action which seem to provide a somewhat performance-enhancing effect. Thus, if you think that a cup of coffee before your workout will allow you to exercise harder and longer, and you follow through on this, then your total energy consumption and hence fat metabolism will increase. The increase here is attributed to the increased exercise and not to the caffeine. In other words, drink your coffee because it's good tasting, and exercise because your body needs it.

Bananas and avocados are high in calories -- false.
Of course, everything is relative, but an avocado contains ca. 160 kcal, and a medium sized banana contains ca. 150 kcal. It is certainly more than many other fruits and vegetables, but compared to, for example, a small Delicato chocolate ball at 278 kcal, there is no doubt about which is the best choice when it comes to calories. Both bananas and avocados are good food, and may be part of a varied diet, even for those who have to think slim. They contain beneficial vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids, and we should feel good about eating them.

Blueberries are beneficial -- true.
Blueberries are very rich in substances known as "antioxidants". "Antioxidants" is a collective term for a large group of substances found particularly in fruits and vegetables. They protect cells, and play a large role in protecting against diseases. We find different antioxidants in vegetables and fruits. Many antioxidants contribute the color to these foods. Different colors indicate that the foods contain different antioxidants. Today we know that the antioxidant system of the body is very complex, and that the safest source to obtain what we need is through diet -- a varied diet with fruits and vegetables in all colors of the rainbow. So eat blueberries and all the other good berries, fruits and vegetables. It is also true that chocolate and red wine contain antioxidants.

Eggs increase the cholesterol levels in the blood -- false.
As long as you do not have the disease "familial hypercholesterolemia", you can safely include eggs in your daily diet. It is the body's own production of cholesterol that determines the cholesterol level in the blood. In this regard, it is important that we eat the right kinds of fat -- the fats we find in vegetable oils, oily fish, avocados, olives, and nuts. Eggs are a valuable food that contains a good amount of protein and is a source of both vitamins and minerals. Increasing attention is being devoted to vitamin D, which you will also find in a respectable amount in eggs.

Nuts are beneficial -- true.
Beside being good tasting, nuts are very nutritious. They are a natural food with vitamins, minerals, and beneficial fats that the body needs. Nuts contribute a lot of energy, and 100 grams of this pleasant food provide as many calories as a full meal. Thus, you should adjust your consumption of nuts to your energy consumption, or in accordance with your need to increase or decrease your weight. It is a good idea to mix different types of nuts, and eat them according to your needs and preferences.

Eating late at night will cause you to gain weight -- false.
If you have a biorhythm or lifestyle that makes you eat one of your main meals later in the evening, this does not need to affect your weight. What you eat at night is metabolized in the same way as what you eat during the day. Whether you gain or lose weight or keep the same weight is determined by the total of what you eat in 24 hours and how much you exercise and move around. It is more important to consider how you eat, and to spread your meals evenly throughout the day. Skipping meals during the day or letting too much time go by between meals can cause your blood sugar to play tricks on you at night and make you extra hungry or craving. Then it is easy to overeat or choose the wrong kind of food.

There is new evidence in favor of spreading out food intake evenly. Some older findings become ingrained and may develop into myths about food even though they are not completely accurate. However, the classical advice to eat regularly, with a varied diet rich in fruits and vegetables, and that you can eat almost anything but not as a staple, stands up pretty well. If you add daily exercise and movement to this, you are well along a healthy path.

Author: Sofia Antonsson, registered dietitian.



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