12 Food Myths. Fact or Fiction

False Food Myths – There are many myths and stories around that prevent a great many people from enjoying the benefits of certain foods. Are they fact or fiction?

Here are 12 Common food myths. Are they fact or fiction?

Food myths include questions like, “Is red meat bad for you?” and “Is a cooked breakfast always unhealthy?“.

Most myths have origins that have been lost over time.

But some of the more modern food  myths, and even some of the older myths, are still doing the rounds.

Read the following 12 food myths and challenge your assumptions.

1. It’s best to eat fruit at the end of a meal?

  • Fruit eaten after a meal will be broken down at a faster rate than the main components of the meal, and so can speed up the transition of foods into the colon.
  • While the meal itself is being broken down, the fruit may start to ferment, which can lead to bloating and wind.
True Food Myth – Fruit is better eaten alone, separate from your main meal.

2. A full English breakfast Can Never Be Healthy? …

Full English Breakfast is Good For You

  • False Food Myth – If you grill lean bacon, poach your eggs, include baked beans, grill your tomatoes and cook your mushrooms without fat, then serve it up with thick slice of crusty bread, you’ll have yourself a delicious cooked breakfast that is also healthy and balanced.

3. You should never eat after 9pm …

  • Its usually better to try and finish your evening meal about three hours before retiring for the night.
  • Digestion can slow at the end of the day, so ideally your evening meal shouldn’t be too large.
  • For those who get hungry after supper, or for people who suffer from insomnia, try a small snack last thing, such as a small piece of fruit and a few raw nuts.
  • Cottage cheese and bananas contain an amino acid known as Tryptophan, which can aid sleep, so perhaps have a little of each.

4. Is red meat bad for you? …

Red Meat is Good For You

  • False Food Myth – Red meat contains valuable protein, yet many people who reduce their meat intake do not replace it with any other protein rich foods.
  • Meat is considered a ‘complete’ protein in as much as it contains the full range of amino acids, whereas pulses and beans are incomplete.
  • If you do reduce your red meat, then make sure you replace it with fish, poultry or tofu for complete protein intake.
Remember that red meat contains an absorbable form of iron known as ‘heam’, which can be beneficial for people with anaemia.

5. Is vegeterian always the healthy option?

Vegeterian is not fat free

  • False Food Myth – Some vegetarian dishes contain a lot of fat, especially if they’re made with lots of cheese, oil, pastry or creamy sauces, or if they’ve been fried. So they aren’t necessarily a healthy option.
  • In fact, red meat can be low in fat if it’s lean and all the visible fat has been removed.
  • Other low-fat options are chicken without the skin, and fish, if they’ve been cooked without too much fat.
But it’s always a good idea to have some vegetables with your meal because we should be eating at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables a day as part of a healthy balanced diet.

6. Why shouldn’t you eat more than two eggs a week?

Eggs are Good For You

  • Eggs have long had a bad reputation as a source of cholesterol.
  • It is true that eggs contain cholesterol, but consumption should only be limited if you know that your cholesterol levels are high, or you have had your gallbladder removed.
  • However, eggs are a valuable source of protein, and are beneficial for the immune system, as they can help raise levels of antibodies.
Remember that only 20% of cholesterol comes from food – the remaining 80% is manufactured by your liver.

7. Is fruit juice is as good for you as fresh fruit?

Eggs are Good For You

  • False Food Myth – Fruit juices contain nutrients in a highly absorbable form, but some water soluble vitamins, such as vitamin C, can be lost as the liquid evaporates.
  • So ideally juice should be squeezed at home and drunk immediately.
  • Eating whole fruit does have some advantages over juice. For example, the pith of an orange contains flavanols which are thought to recycle vitamin C – increasing the potential benefit.
  • The pith is lost in juicing.
Remember: Fresh fruit also contains fibre, juice is generally fibre-free, which can help balance blood glucose levels.

8. Why should you never drink water with a meal?

Water is good for you

  • True-ish – It’s probably best not to drink more than one glass of water with a meal as excess water can dilute digestive enzymes.
  • However, a little water is unlikely to do this, so drink if you are thirsty.
  • A large glass of water before a meal can contribute to satiety, that satisfied feeling of fullness, and perhaps prevent over-eating.

9. Is ice cold water the best drink to satisfy thirst?

  • False Food Myth – Water is best drunk slightly below room temperature, as its uptake in the body is increased at this level. You should remove your water from the fridge approximately twenty minutes before drinking.

10. Does coffee give you energy?

  • Any rush of energy that you may feel after drinking a caffeinated drink is bound to be very short lived.
  • If you want to lose weight, remember that caffeine will slow down the usage of fat stores for fuel and thus slow weight loss. (see: The health benefits of coffee.)

11. Is most of the salt in our diet added at the table?

Salt in your diet

  • About 75% of the salt in your diet comes from processed foods. Just 10 to 15% comes from the salt we add when we’re cooking or at the table.
  • On average we’re eating about 9.5g of salt a day.
  • We should try to cut this down to no more than 6g of salt a day for adults.

12. Are avocados an unhealthy choice?

Avocado is Good For You

  • False Food Myth – Avocados contain mono-unsaturated fat, which has a positive effect on blood cholesterol levels.
  • As part of a healthy diet it’s important to reduce the amount of saturated fat we eat and replace it with unsaturated fat, as well as reducing the total amount of fat we eat.
  • This means avocados are a healthy choice.
  • Half an avocado also counts as one of the five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables we should be eating each day.
However, avocados do contain fat and eating too much of any food containing fat can lead to weight gain if the energy isn’t used up through physical activity.

So, there you have it. Not all food myths are old wives tales but it does pay to check the facts before avoiding good nourishing food.