The Stories We Tell Ourselves about Eating Well
When we’re trying to eat well, we can be challenged by many of the inaccurate statements or false assumptions surrounding nutrition. Let’s look at some of them and clear up the confusion.
Myth # 1—Eating well is expensive—This may be true with respect to prepackaged food items, but it’s generally not true with respect to well-made and healthy food options. Eating frozen “diet dinners” can get expensive in a hurry, but the truth is that those meals are not really that healthy. They may have fewer calories, but they tend to have a lot more sodium and other substances introduced during processing that are simply not good for you. You are better off (and you’ll spend less money) if you buy your own vegetables, meats and other products and cook your own food. You will likely have to spend more time planning and preparing those meals, though.
Myth #2—Gluten is bad for you—Most of us are aware of the rise of celiac disease, and most of us have a friend, family member or acquaintance who insists that gluten is evil. Gluten, however, is a natural protein found in barley, rye and wheat, and can have significant health benefits, including fiber and B-vitamins. Often, when the gluten is processed out of food, other substances are added to ensure flavor or texture. Those other substances can include salt, sugar or refined starches, all of which can be detrimental to your health.
Myth #3—Honey, agave, and other syrups/sugars are better than white table sugar—With sugar, it’s less about the type and more about the quantity. As a general rule, sugar is sugar, regardless of where it comes from. Be careful, though, that you’re not getting a lot more sugar than you think you are. Many processed food products contain sugars that carry names like dextrose, fructose, maltose, lactose or sucrose.
Myth #4—Eating products with full natural fat will lead to weight gain—Fat isn’t necessarily bad for you and it won’t necessarily cause you to gain fat. The health benefits of fat include essential vitamins, protection of your internal organs and the maintenance of cell membranes. Saturated fats have been shown to increase risk of cardiovascular disease, but unsaturated fats do not necessarily equate to weight gain. It’s about quantity.
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