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8 common myths about nutrition!

Published 1 Jul 2021 • By Candice Salomé

A healthy, varied and balanced diet is one of the keys to a healthy body. Eating at least five servings of fruit and vegetables a day, limiting your consumption of red meat, avoiding carb-heavy foods in the evening... there are many myths about what is good and what is not when it comes to nutrition.

Do starches really make us gain weight? Are frozen fruit and vegetables really less nutritious?

We separate the true from the false about food and nutrition in our article! 

8 common myths about nutrition!

Starchy foods make us gain weight!

FALSE

We often hear that starchy foods such as pasta, bread, rice etc. have little nutritional value and can make us gain weight. Well, that's not true! However, what goes with them can make them much more caloric. Indeed, butter, jam, pre-prepared sauces or shredded cheese make them considerably richer.

Starchy foods are, on the other hand, nutritionally valuable because they are often a good source of fibre and can help to limit snacking between meals

"Light" or "diet" products are better for your health!

FALSE

Take a stroll down your local grocery aisle and you'll most likely find a plethora of products labelled "light," "diet," "low fat," "fat free," etc. While these products can make us think that they are "better" for our health, they are made with many harmful additives and often contain significantly more added sugar and salt than the "original" versions. It is therefore a better idea to consume these products in their "original" form, which are much tastier and not necessarily much higher in calories. 

Moreover, because these products are labelled "light", we tend to feel less guilty and therefore consume more. 

Nevertheless, people with diabetes should check with their doctor to find out which foods are best suited to their diet.

It is extremely important to eat animal-based proteins every day!

FALSE

There are no added nutritional benefits or requirements to eat meat or fish on a daily basis. Animal-based proteins can easily be replaced with plant-based proteins. Furthermore, it is recommended to reduce one's consumption of fatty meats and cold cuts and to increase consumption of beans, legumes and whole grains, which are rich in protein, and to supplement it all by eating two servings of dairy a day (if you are not intolerant).

Frozen fruits and vegetables are less nutritious than fresh produce!

FALSE

On the contrary, frozen vegetables are often more nutritious, containing more vitamins and nutrients than fresh! Vitamins are quickly destroyed by light and storage in the open air.

Fresh produce is picked before it is ripe to give it time to fully ripen during the often days of transportation from farm to distribution centre and finally, to your plate. In that time, fruits and vegetables may not have the time to develop their full range of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Therefore, frozen fruit and vegetables, which are generally picked at peak ripeness and frozen immediately, are richer in vitamins and nutrients.

This only applies to natural fruits and vegetables and not to industrially prepared products.

Eating foods rich in vitamin C in the evening will keep you up at night!

FALSE

The idea that vitamin C-rich foods should not be eaten at night was spread in the 1930s after the first vitamin C supplements were introduced. The instructions on the product packaging contained a warning about the stimulant effects of the product.

Vitamin is involved in the synthesis of dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter stimulating energy and alertness.

Nevertheless, studies carried out on volunteers who had ingested 4g of vitamin C in the evening (the equivalent of 22 pounds of oranges) revealed no changes in the sleep cycle.

Spinach is a key source of iron!

FALSE

Despite what Popeye may have taught us, the idea that spinach is rich in iron originates from a transcription error at the end of the 19th century, estimated at 27mg of iron per 100g instead of 2.7mg per 100g. Before the error could be quickly corrected, the idea had already spread to the general public.

In addition, a high proportion of iron in spinach has low bioavailability, meaning that the majority of iron in spinach is not absorbed by the small intestine and therefore is not usable for the body.

A much higher proportion of iron can be found in peas, parsley, lentils, white beans, dandelion, etc., but also in all meat, and not just in red meat!

Calcium can only be found in milk!

FALSE

Calcium can be found in a variety of sources: in sardines, in cheese, but also in many plant/vegetable products such as poppy seeds, fresh parsley, figs, watercress, black or white beans, Chinese cabbage, and spinach.

Mineral water also contains calcium, but in a smaller quantity.

Cooking oils are less fatty than butter!

FALSE

Even though it has many health benefits, olive oil is composed of 100% fatty acids (both monounsaturated and saturated), which makes it the most caloric of dietary fats. In comparison, butter contains only 80% fat, the rest being mostly water (16%) as well as proteins, sugars, carbohydrates, etc.

It is therefore important to vary your intake between butter, olive oil and other vegetable oils.

We now know that food plays an important role in our well-being and health. However, many myths about nutrition still exist and are well anchored in the way we prepare our meals. It is essential that we be well informed to not make the same nutritional mistakes and to be able to compose a healthy plate that brings us all the necessary benefits and nutrients!

Watch this article in video here:



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6
avatar Candice Salomé

Author: Candice Salomé, Health Writer

Candice is a content creator at Carenity and specialises in writing health articles. She has a particular interest in the fields of women's health, well-being and sport. 

Candice holds a master's degree in... >> Learn more

1 comment


nineteen_gale
on 04/07/2021

Yes indeed. The article was very useful and informative. Thank you for sharing it. It was particularly interesting to read about Olive oil, as majority of people who consume Mediterranean diet use Olive oil in absolutely everything. We did too. Then we have recently switched to the oil called Crisp and Dry, made from Rape seed, and contains high amount of Omega 3. I hope we have made a right choice. As much as I love Coconut oil, but due to it high content of saturated fats, we limit it to occasional use only. Fish fried in Coconut oil is very tasty indeed. Happy eating every one.

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