What Food Myths Are Inaccurate?


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What Food Myths Are Inaccurate?

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What Food Myths Are Inaccurate?

Diving into the world of culinary lore, we’ve gathered insights from registered dietitians to CEOs to debunk eighteen of the most persistent food myths. From the misconception that restrictive diets guarantee lasting results to the myth that carrots significantly enhance night vision, our experts serve up a feast of facts to challenge your food beliefs.

  • Restrictive Diets Don’t Ensure Lasting Results
  • Coconut Products Healthy Misconceptions
  • White Rice Nutritional Value Overestimated
  • Corn with High Sugar and Starch Content
  • Coffee Doesn’t Cause Dehydration
  • Hydration Needs Are Personal, Not Universal
  • Protein Sources Beyond Meat
  • Full-Fat Foods Aren’t Necessarily Unhealthy
  • Red Pepper Flakes Offer More Than Heat
  • Eating Before Swimming Is Generally Safe
  • Potatoes as Nutritious, Not Just Fattening
  • Meal Temperature Doesn’t Affect Nutritional Value
  • Temperature Changes Don’t Spoil Beer
  • Sugar Rush in Children Is a Myth
  • Beverage Variety Contributes to Hydration
  • Meal Skipping Can Lead to Overeating
  • Complex Carbs Are Essential, Not Bad
  • Carrots Don’t Enhance Night Vision Significantly

Restrictive Diets Don’t Ensure Lasting Results

One food myth I often see when working with my weight-loss clients is that the results of restrictive dieting can be maintained with a separate maintenance diet. The truth is, what gets you there keeps you there. If you follow a restrictive diet to lose weight, you will have to continue following a restrictive diet to maintain those results.

A great question to ask yourself before starting any new program or diet is, ‘Can I see myself following this five years from now?’ If the answer is no, then you don’t have a sustainable plan and will most likely regain the weight once you reintroduce more foods into your diet.

Adrianne DelgadoAdrianne Delgado
Registered Dietitian, Bodymetrix Health and Wellness Services

Coconut Products Healthy Misconceptions

Coconut oil and coconut sugar carry a health halo around these products because the source is from coconuts. Coconut oil has been marketed as a heart-healthy oil, but in reality, coconut oil can raise cholesterol levels.

So, stick with vegetable oils. Coconut sugar is also described as a better sugar, but it’s similar to cane sugar as it contains the same glycemic index, calories, and carbohydrates, so it will impact the body as regular cane sugar.

Sabrina Young
Senior Food Scientist

White Rice Nutritional Value Overestimated

White rice has long been hailed as a staple food in Asian cuisine, but let’s debunk a common myth: its nutritional value. While many believe it to be a wholesome addition to every meal, the truth is white rice offers zero nutritional benefits and serves only as a meal filler.

Growing up, I fondly recall my mother encouraging my sister and me to finish our bowls of rice, promising it would help us grow. However, the reality is quite different. White rice is incredibly carb-heavy, containing a whopping 53 grams of carbohydrates per bowl. To put it into perspective, that’s nearly double the carbohydrate content of a cupcake, which typically has 29 grams.

This misconception about the nutritional value of white rice may contribute to the prevalence of diabetes in Asian culture, despite their otherwise balanced diets. Fortunately, there are healthier alternatives to white rice. Consider swapping it out for brown rice or even cauliflower rice. These alternatives are lower in carbs and packed with essential nutrients, making them a more nutritious choice for your meals.

So next time you’re reaching for that bowl of rice, remember that there are better options available to support your health and well-being.

Mark IwadareMark Iwadare
Recipe Creator, Food Expert, Healthy Foods, LowCarbingAsian

Corn with High Sugar and Starch Content

Corn, often seen as a healthy staple, is actually high in sugar and starch. Its glycemic index (GI) is 52, which is considered average. However, this can be deceptive if we don’t take into account the actual amount of sugar. To put this in perspective, corn contains more sugar than a can of soda; it’s more akin to a dessert than a main dish.

This can be particularly problematic for people with diabetes or those predisposed to it. Frequent consumption could lead to spikes in blood sugar and contribute to long-term health issues.

Vadim RachokVadim Rachok
Culinary Instructor and Chef, Recipe From Chef

Coffee Doesn’t Cause Dehydration

As a seasoned coffee expert, it’s essential for me to use this opportunity to debunk the myth surrounding coffee and dehydration. While it’s true that coffee can have diuretic effects and lead to increased urine production, the notion that it causes dehydration is largely exaggerated. In reality, even consuming multiple cups of coffee is unlikely to push you anywhere near dehydration.

The human body is remarkably adept at regulating its hydration levels, and factors such as other fluid intake and individual physiology play significant roles. Thus, enjoying your morning brew or indulging in a midday pick-me-up won’t leave you parched. It’s crucial to understand that while coffee may contribute to fluid loss, it rarely results in dehydration or any significant adverse effects on hydration status.

Anna LearieAnna Learie
Outreach Specialist, Caffewerks

Hydration Needs Are Personal, Not Universal

Everywhere you look online, you see many consumers and influencers talking about how much water they drink each day. It can make you feel as though you aren’t getting enough hydration, but in reality, you probably are. There is a common misconception that you need to “drink 8 glasses of water a day,” but this is simply a myth.

The amount of water a person actually needs depends on various factors including age, weight, gender, activity level, climate, and overall health. One-size-fits-all recommendations like “eight glasses a day” fail to account for these individual differences.

And many foods, particularly fruits and vegetables, contain high amounts of water which contribute to overall hydration, so your intake of fluids is probably higher than you even realize. Other beverages like tea, coffee, milk, and even juice also contribute to fluid intake, so it’s not necessary to rely solely on plain water to meet hydration needs.

It’s essential to listen to your body’s signals, drink water when you’re thirsty, and maintain a balanced diet that includes hydrating foods and beverages, and to not force yourself to drink a crazy amount of water each day.

Thanh DangThanh Dang
Influencer & Founder, Food Senpai

Protein Sources Beyond Meat

One food myth that’s surprisingly widespread but totally off-base is the idea that meat is the only source of protein worth considering. It’s like the world has this collective amnesia about all the other protein-rich foods out there.

Sure, meat is a fantastic source of protein, but it’s far from the only one. You’ve got legumes like beans and lentils packing a serious protein punch, tofu and tempeh for the plant-based crew, and even dairy and eggs if you’re into that. The beauty of it is that these alternatives often come with extra nutrients and fiber that you won’t find in your typical steak or chicken breast.

So, let’s put this myth to rest once and for all; protein isn’t a one-trick pony, and there’s a whole world of options out there waiting to fuel your body.

Gabrielle YapGabrielle Yap
Senior Editor, Carnivore Style

Full-Fat Foods Aren’t Necessarily Unhealthy

That full-fat foods are bad for you! Our body needs fat to survive, and most foods that claim to be lower in fat are bringing in additives, which will do more harm than good. Full-fat foods, when eaten in moderation, will literally generate energy and provide nourishment. It is a lot better and more beneficial to cook your food with a cube of butter or coconut oil than it is to use non-stick spray for the sake of lower caloric intake.

Tia DevincenzoTia Devincenzo
Intuitive Eating Mentor, TD Wellness LLC

Red Pepper Flakes Offer More Than Heat

A common food myth surrounding red pepper flakes is that they are only used to add heat to dishes. However, the truth is that while red pepper flakes do indeed provide a spicy kick, they also offer a complex flavor profile beyond just heat.

At Edi Gourmet Spice, our red pepper flakes are carefully selected to ensure a perfect balance of heat and flavor. Whether sprinkled over pizza, pasta, or salads, our red pepper flakes add depth and dimension to dishes, proving that they’re not just about spiciness, but about enhancing the overall taste experience.

Ilker DalgicIlker Dalgic
Business Owner, Edi Gourmet Spice

Eating Before Swimming Is Generally Safe

I’ve always heard that eating before swimming could cause cramps, leading to a dangerous situation in the water. This cautionary advice is more myth than fact. While vigorous exercise immediately after a large meal might be uncomfortable due to digestion, there’s no scientific evidence linking eating before swimming directly to muscle cramps or drowning risks.

A light snack before swimming isn’t just safe; it can provide the energy needed for physical activity. It’s important, however, to listen to your body and allow some time for digestion to feel comfortable while swimming.

Stephan BaldwinStephan Baldwin
Founder, Assisted Living Center

Potatoes as Nutritious, Not Just Fattening

Have you ever heard that potatoes are fattening? Who hasn’t? It’s high time to bust that myth. Contrary to popular belief that potatoes are only carbs and empty calories, without vitamins and minerals, they’re 99.9% fat-free, cholesterol-free, and nutritious. Potatoes contain vitamin C, potassium, and vitamin B6. They’re also high in minerals and fiber. What’s more, a medium potato contains only 145 calories.

The thing is, people often eat potatoes as part of a larger course—alongside thick sauces, pork meat, or other high-calorie foods. The preparation method also matters. Fried potatoes are often cooked in unhealthy oils and may contain added fats and salt, which makes them fattening. Another example is baked potatoes topped with butter, sour cream, or cheese, which are also calorie-dense. But it’s never about the potatoes themselves. Yes, they have a high glycemic index (GI), but consuming them in moderation, paired with other foods with a lower GI, helps mitigate this effect.

Agata SzczepanekAgata Szczepanek
Career Expert, LiveCareer

Meal Temperature Doesn’t Affect Nutritional Value

As far as I can remember, I was always told by my grandmother and mother to have at least one hot meal a day; however, now it’s proven that the temperature of the meal doesn’t affect its nutritional value. In fact, some foods can even be more nutritious when eaten raw or cold, so it’s important to prioritize a balanced diet.

Tom MolnarTom Molnar
Operational Director & SEO Specialist, Fit Design

Temperature Changes Don’t Spoil Beer

One I hear all the time is that warming up your packaged beer and cooling it back down will make the beer go bad; this is absolutely not true. Storing beer warm, or exposing it to extreme temperatures, will affect the flavor, but running some errands with a couple of four-packs in your trunk and then putting them back in the fridge will do no harm.

Beer is regularly kept unrefrigerated in store stock rooms and then put in the cooler for selling. Assuming the brewery did their job caring for the beer ahead of time, your best bet to get the best taste out of your beer is to find the freshest examples possible and support those local breweries making high-quality beer!

Jacob MitchellJacob Mitchell
Head Brewer, Craft Brewing Company

Sugar Rush in Children Is a Myth

The idea of a sugar rush—hyperactivity in children following sugar consumption—is widely accepted but not supported by scientific evidence. Studies have shown that sugar does not directly cause hyperactivity. The perceived behavior change may be due to the context in which sugar is consumed, such as parties or holidays, rather than the sugar itself.

Parents and caregivers must understand that while limiting excessive sugar intake is important for overall health and preventing cavities, attributing hyperactivity directly to sugar is a misconception. A balanced approach to nutrition, including moderation of sugary foods, remains the best practice.

Allison KesselringAllison Kesselring
Sales Manager, Oaks Roofing and Siding

Beverage Variety Contributes to Hydration

Drink up, mostly water! That’s a frequent, calculated, and constant message from many health and wellness fronts. Certainly, we know that each and every cell of our body requires water to function. We know that our bodies require water on a daily, literally almost hourly, basis to function.

So, what if we don’t want to limit our beverage intake to strictly water? Will anything else we drink count toward this healthful practice? Most certainly, it will, and thus the food myth of drinking water to replenish our bodies is a partial myth. Consider the many sources of water that we do consume: how about milk, and all those morning get-me-up drinks, including coffee and tea? Yes, they count. Yes, it’s true that coffee and tea, especially black tea, contain a lot of caffeine, which is a known diuretic or has a dehydrating effect.

That said, some of the volume of these beverages does count toward your fluid intake. Flavoring water, especially with simple citrus juices and fruits, is as beneficial as straight water. And, our childhood favorite, milk, offers quite a bit of water as well. Lastly, don’t forget the water contained in many fruits and vegetables. Apples, celery, and lettuce are excellent sources of water.

Ashley KennyAshley Kenny
Co-Founder, Heirloom Video Books

Meal Skipping Can Lead to Overeating

One myth I’ve come across is the belief that skipping meals can help with weight loss. This strategy can backfire, as it often leads to overeating later in the day or making unhealthy food choices due to increased hunger.

Regular meals support a balanced metabolism and provide the body with a consistent source of energy, helping to control appetite and make informed food choices. A more effective approach to weight loss includes eating balanced meals, paying attention to portion sizes, and incorporating physical activity into your routine.

Bert HofhuisBert Hofhuis
Founder, Every Investor

Complex Carbs Are Essential, Not Bad

One food myth that is widely believed but inaccurate is the idea that carbohydrates are bad for you. This myth likely emerged from popular low-carb diets such as the Atkins Diet, which claimed that cutting out carbs could lead to weight loss and better overall health.

However, not all carbohydrates are equal, and it’s important to understand the difference between simple and complex carbs. Simple carbs, found in refined grains and sugary drinks, can cause spikes in blood sugar levels and may contribute to weight gain. On the other hand, complex carbs, found in whole grains and vegetables, provide essential nutrients and fiber that are important for maintaining a healthy diet.

In fact, cutting out all carbohydrates from your diet can lead to nutrient deficiencies and potential health issues. The key is to focus on incorporating more complex carbs into your diet and limiting consumption of simple carbs.

Amira IrfanAmira Irfan
Founder and CEO, A Self Guru

Carrots Don’t Enhance Night Vision Significantly

One myth that we can thank the British for is that carrots significantly improve your vision, especially your night vision. While carrots are certainly a good source of vitamin A, which you do need to maintain eye health, eating a bushel of carrots a day isn’t going to do a whole lot for you, unfortunately.

The myth started as a bit of clever obfuscation by the British Royal Air Force during World War II, where pilots attributed their success in night flights to improved vision due to eating carrots rather than the real reason—the development of radar technology. As far as food myths go, this one is rather benign, as carrots are, after all, quite good for you.

Dragos BadeaDragos Badea
CEO, Yarooms

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