We all like to think we’re well educated when it comes to healthy eating. But with the glut of information coming from all directions, it would be a miracle if we didn’t make the occasional misstep.
Read on for some surprising, but very common, misconceptions.
Faux pas #1: Skipping fruit to skip the sugar
Don’t pass up the fruit for fear of taking in too much sugar. The difference is in the type of sugar (naturally occurring fructose versus added sucrose or high-fructose corn syrup). Processed foods with added sugar are the real culprits in the sugar war. Plus, many studies have demonstrated the powerful health benefits of fresh fruit consumption.
Faux pas #2: Taking your multivitamin with coffee
Caffeine revs up the digestive system, moving nutrients through our body more quickly, resulting in less time to absorb them. Coffee and tea also contain tannins, which can decrease the absorption of iron, thiamine (vitamin B1) and calcium. Taking your multi well before or at least 30 minutes after you’ve finished your morning cup of joe is recommended.
Faux pas #3: Choosing products based on the product claims
The product screams, “Gluten free,” “sugar free,” “natural” or even “organic.” But have you read the fine print on the nutritional and ingredients sections of the label?
While a product might make a claim to being gluten free, for example, it could also be loaded with added sugar, unhealthy fats or refined ingredients. And although a product is “low” in something that we know we shouldn’t consume—low-sugar, low-sodium, low-fat—it may still contain more than our body needs.
Faux pas #4: Assuming you’re healthy because you’re slim
Weight is only one measure of our overall health. Some people can eat copious amounts of unhealthy foods and never exercise, but remain slim. Looking a little deeper, a health care practitioner might find other measures of health have been affected.
The best approach to overall health, as we’ve all heard many times before, is to focus on a wide variety of foods in the right proportions, including abundant fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes, while limiting refined sugars and processed foods.
Faux pas #5: Avoiding egg yolks to avoid cholesterol
It’s true—egg yolks contain lots of cholesterol. We used to think that reducing the cholesterol in our diet was necessary to keep our heart healthy, but evolving research has since demonstrated that the cholesterol in our blood is made in our liver—it doesn’t come from cholesterol we eat. The even better news is that eggs are little bundles of big nutrition.
Faux pas #6: Forgetting to shake your nondairy milk before pouring
Non-dairy milk alternatives often rely on fortification with nutrients they lack, like calcium and vitamin D. These added nutrients don’t stay in the liquid, but settle to the bottom of the container. So before you pour your favorite nondairy milk, remember to shake it up.