You know the ones. The foods people think they should avoid because they’re either unhealthy or they make you gain weight.
But are they – and do they really?
By staying away from certain foods, people are actually missing out – nutritionally and enjoyment-wise, says Heidi Boyd, a Newfoundland-based registered dietician and spokesperson for Dieticians of Canada.
Here are Boyd’s top five misunderstood foods.
2) Fat: “We all tend to think of ‘fat’ as a bad word, but all fats are not created equal. We need a certain amount of fat in our diet and some of them are even helpful in preventing heart disease,” Boyd says.
She recommends such healthy oils as olive, flax and corn, as well as the oils naturally found in avocados, seeds and nuts. Omega-3 fats found in fatty fish, like salmon, mackerel and herring are also super good for you. What’s not good are the trans fats found in a lot of processed foods, which also tend to contain a lot of salt.
3) Milk products: “What we need to realize is that the nutrients in milk products, like protein, calcium and vitamin D, are all healthy and very important – especially for Boomers,” says Boyd.
Our need for some of these nutrients also increase as we age, she adds, since calcium and vitamin D help prevent osteoporosis and fractures, so we’re better able to stay mobile and active well into old age. Health Canada recommends women over the age of 50 get 1,200 mg of calcium a day and men get 1,000 a day. Once you’re over 70, both men and women need 1,200 a day. To put that in perspective, a cup of milk contains 300 mg of calcium.
4) Eggs: “Baby Boomers, in particular, grew up in a time when it was commonly believed that eggs increase your cholesterol levels,” Boyd says.
5) Frozen veggies: “People tend not to realize that frozen veggies can be a very healthy choice and are just as nutritious as fresh – in fact sometimes they’re even more nutritious since they’re picked and frozen at the peak of freshness. Fresh vegetables tend to deteriorate very quickly.”