This post was provided by our friends at Puori.
Let’s face it: we often choose what to buy based on the product’s packaging and advertising. When it comes to food, labels like “organic” and “fat-free” usually give people the impression it is healthier and better for the body. Thus, we readily consume these products only to find out later on that they are not as healthy as they claim.
The tendency to quickly accept manufacturers’ marketing campaigns without proper research results in a number of food misconceptions. Here are five food myths you should stop believing.
5 Food Myths We Need to Squash
1) Diet Food Is Always Healthy
Any food packaged with the word “diet” doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a great option for safely losing (and keeping off) body fat. Diet soda, for example, contains fewer calories compared to regular soda. However, it’s packed with artificial sweeteners, which could be harmful to your body. This is the same case with other labels like “sugar-free.”
When you remove sugar, fat or other ingredients from “normal” products, they need to be substituted with artificial ingredients. This is to make up for the loss of taste, flavor and texture. For instance, fat gives both flavor, mouthfeel and texture to a product. These functional properties are lost when the fat is removed. Therefore, the diet product needs to be stabilized, emulsified and flavored in some other way: by additives.
2) Carbs Make You Fat
Our bodies need carbohydrates for energy. How much you need largely depends on your level of physical activity.
However, there is truth to the idea that not all carbs are created equal. Good carbs are often found in vegetables, regular and sweet potatoes and whole grains. These things have a lower glycemic index and more fiber (1). They’re called intrinsic carbohydrates. Bad carbs, with high glycemic index, are those found in processed food like white bread, white rice, pastries and candy.
If you’re a more sedentary person, you should enjoy these carbs sporadically. However, if you’re exercising a lot, white rice, pasta and bread are a suitable carbohydrate source to incorporate into your diet. A well-balanced diet and not the elimination of carbohydrates is the key to maintaining a healthy weight.
3) Gluten Is Dangerous
While there is data to support both sides of this argument, there are a few important things to note.
A gluten-free diet is recommended for people with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease, since the consumption of gluten can damage their intestinal cells and result in health complications. These people tend to feel best when avoiding gluten.
If you don’t have a gluten sensitivity or celiac disease, you don’t have to go gluten-free. In fact, it could be detrimental to your health. One study looked at people who don’t have celiac disease and still avoid gluten. It found they have a higher risk of inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, lupus and thyroid disease (2). This suggests switching to a gluten-free diet merely to improve your health might not be the safest route to take.
4) All Fat Is Bad
Your body needs fat. Fat is a source of energy and helps you absorb necessary vitamins and minerals. Whether it’s good or bad for you depends on the source. Good fats, for instance, include monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (3). We can get monounsaturated fats from food like olive oil, avocado and nuts. Some sources of polyunsaturated fats are fatty fish like salmon, walnuts and flaxseeds.
Trans fats, on the other hand, give us no health benefits. Trans fat has harmful cholesterol, which increases the risk of heart disease and stroke.
5) Only Meat Will Give You Protein
While meat is heavy in protein, it’s certainly not the only source. You can also find significant protein in soy, quinoa, peas, Greek yogurt, lentils and cottage cheese. If you prefer to eat little or no meat, simply make sure you are adequately covering your protein needs elsewhere. You do this with nutritious foods and even supplementation.
Spend time doing your homework before deciding to follow popular food trends. Also bear in mind that we’re all different. What works for one person might not work for another. You’ll probably need to try different diets to see what feels best. Remember, maintaining a balanced diet with sufficient rest and exercise is still a promising course of action.
Banana Protein Pancakes Recipe
Puori PW1 Vanilla recently ranked #1 in Clean Label Project’s test of 133 protein powder products from 52 brands, and works incredibly well not just as a shake, but also in numerous recipes. Download Puori’s PW1 recipe book here, and start cooking. Here’s a taste: