8 Biggest Diet and Nutrition Myths
Cooked versus raw, frozen or fresh? Here, we debunk some of the most popular and persistent food myths.
Hearing something over and over again – even if it’s not true – can make you believe it is. Maybe that’s why there are still so many myths about food out there.
Think carbs make you fat? Coffee dehydrates you?
Well, think again.
Here are some of the most popular and persistent food myths, according to Leslie Beck, a widely-consulted Toronto-based registered dietician and the author of 12 books on healthy eating.
2) You need a high-protein diet to build muscle: While Beck says it’s true that people who work out often and work out hard have higher protein requirements than more sedentary people, research shows that most active people can meet their protein needs through their diet – and diet alone.
3) You need to drink eight glasses of water a day: Beck says women require nine cups (2.2 litres) of water a day and men need 12 cups (three litres).
4) Fresh vegetables are more nutritious than frozen: This one depends on the time of year, since fresh produce might not be as fresh as you think, says Beck.
“By the time it travels from the farm to the supermarket to your dinner plate, it may be a couple of weeks old, during which time nutrients are lost,” she says. “Studies have shown that many frozen vegetables rival or sometimes even outrank fresh vegetables as a source of vitamins and minerals because they’re processed and packaged almost immediately after harvest, which locks in more nutrients.”
5) Raw veggies are more nutritious than cooked: “A lot of people still think this, yet it’s a fact you get more minerals and more anti-oxidants when you eat your vegetables cooked,” says Beck. “That’s because heat breaks down cell walls in plants, releasing more minerals, like calcium, iron and magnesium, making them more available for your body to absorb.”
6) You should eat multiple small meals a day to speed up your metabolism: Some people still think that it’s better to eat six small meals a day, rather than three regular-sized meals and that “grazing” helps to burn more calories and fat, says Beck.
7) Coffee is dehydrating: “The truth is if you regularly drink caffeinated coffee or tea – or even caffeinated soft drinks – caffeine is no more dehydrating than plain water.”
8) Carbs make you fat: “The truth is carbohydrates don’t make you fat unless you’re eating them in large portions. Excess calories, whether they’re from carbohydrates, protein or fat, will cause weight gain.”