In reality, the most persistent nutrition myths are those that contain at least a kernel of truth and some “myths” help us get to real dietary wisdom that actually might help our health. Here’s a cold, hard, science-based look at some of the most oft-repeated ones and what really is the truth behind them.
Chocolate; Studies unequivocally show there is no connection between chocolate and skin problems, and that some types of chocolate, in fact, may even be good.
Eggs; Eggs do contain a substantial amount of cholesterol in their yolks about 211 milligrams (mg) per large egg. And yes, cholesterol is the fatty stuff in our blood that contributes to clogged arteries and heart attacks. But labeling eggs as “bad for your heart” is connecting the wrong dots, experts say. “Epidemiologic studies show that most healthy people can eat an egg a day without problems.”
For most of us the cholesterol we eat in eggs or any other food doesn’t have a huge impact on raising our blood cholesterol, the body simply compensates by manufacturing less cholesterol itself.
Sweetener (HFCS) is worse for you than sugar; one of those urban myths that sound right but is basically wrong. Fructose was created to mimic sucrose (table sugar), so its composition is almost identical to sucrose’s (55 percent fructose, 45 percent glucose; with sucrose the ratio is 50:50). Calorie-wise, it’s a dead ringer for sucrose. And in studies that compare the effects of HFCS with other sweeteners, HFCS and sucrose have very similar effects on blood levels of insulin, glucose, triglycerides and satiety hormones. In short, it seems to be no worse but also no better than sucrose, or table sugar.
However studies show that consuming large amounts of added sweeteners primarily in sodas and other sweetened drinks is associated with greater risk of fatty liver disease, insulin resistance, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
It’s the amount of the sweet stuff we consume that matters or, to put it in another way, it’s the dose that is the problem. Too much sugar, honey, agave syrup or dehydrated cane juice would likely cause the same health problems.
We recommend that women consume no more than 100 calories a day in added sugars [6 teaspoons]; men, 150 calories [9 teaspoons],
Carbohydrates make you fat; There’s no question that loading up on sugary and refined-carbohydrate-rich foods, such as white bread, pasta and doughnuts, can raise your risk of developing health problems like heart disease and diabetes. But if you cut out so-called “good-carb” foods, such as whole grains, beans, fruits and vegetables, you’re missing out on your body’s main source of fuel as well as vital nutrients and fiber. What’s more, for many people, a low-carbohydrates diet may be harder to stick with in the long run.
Recent studies compared low-carbohydrates diets with low-fat diets and other approaches to losing weight. They found that in the first few months, those following the low-carbohydrates diets tended to lose slightly more weight. “That’s because low-carbohydrates diets are more restrictive”, she explains. “Anything that limits your choices will help you lose weight initially”. But after a year or as much as three years, weight-loss differences between the diets tend to even out. One recent report noted that although there was a greater weight loss initially, low-carbohydrates dieters tended to regain more weight by the end of three years when compared with low-fat dieters.