We love debunking a good myth ‘round these parts and none more so than those pesky perpetrators that have to do with our favourite topic: food, glorious food!
For every food fact out there there’s a food furphy waiting to kill your real butter-loving buzz; but sorting the monounsaturated (good) from the trans (bad) can be harder than distinguishing paleo from the Atkins diet i.e. very hard.
We took a break from chowing down on burgers, guzzling maxed-out milkshakes and whisking our matcha lattes to drop much-needed truth bombs (filled with gooey salted caramel, of course) on a bunch of food myths that are just plain wrong.
1. All fat is bad.
No, this doesn’t mean you can just start mainlining lard, or in fact, continue your wanton consumption of burgers and fries (sorry!). It does mean that you can ease up on the fat content patrol, as long as what you’re eating contains “good” fats like those found in vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fish. But before you pick sides in the life and death battle between good and bad fat, know this: trans fat is NOT your friend. In the hierarchy of the fat kingdom (good: poly- and monounsaturated fats, not-so-good: saturated fats, bad: trans fats), trans fats are like Voldemort.
2. Low fat dairy and products are a better option.
“Say hell no to low” would be my campaign slogan if I was running for the job of Health Minister of the World (it’s a thing, right?), so strong is my in-principle hatred of low fat products. And lucky for me, there’s science to back that up. Food scientists and nutritionists are now discovering what we’ve all known all along: low fat products not only taste like sh*t, they aren’t any good for you thanks to their often high sugar and refined carbohydrate content.
3. Eggs are way too high in cholesterol.
Egg white omelettes: a novel new way to bore yourself silly with healthy replacements. What is the effing point? In the ultimate twist of irony, the yolk is where the majority of the cholesterol is, but it’s also where all the nutrients (protein, iron, calcium, B vitamins) are too. And while added cholesterol isn’t good for you per se, research is showing that cholesterol found in food isn’t quite as harmful as first thought. Prevailing advice is that anywhere from two eggs a week, to an egg a day is a-okay.
4. Artificial sweeteners are better than sugar for weight management.
A 2013 study by Purdue University found that artificial sweetener may actually work counter-intuitively and contribute to weight gain (and a bunch of other no-good conditions). Yep, WTF is right! Apparently, your body can be confused by something tasting sweet, which can send things haywire when it comes to its ability to regulate calories, causing weight gain. This is not carte blanche to keep at the full sugar soft drinks, just don’t sip on your diet version all smug-like.
5. All salt is no good for you.
There was a brief moment, in the history food bad guys, where salt was working its way to the top of the wanted list. But like most slightly menacing yet noble bad guys, salt has been downgraded to the role of endearing rascal and accepted back into the party. In fact, some studies have found that naturally occurring salt isn’t anywhere near as bad for you as first thought, and that a diet too low in salt has its own harmful side-effects. The caveat applies though: balance is key and most of your daily salt intake can be found in a healthy diet. A lot of salt all over your deep-fried, refined carbs? Still bad for you…
6. Carbs are the devil.
First sign of the apocalypse: low carb potatoes in the supermarket. True story. That’s what the world is coming to and it makes me want to cry. Because I love potatoes just like Bey loves Jay. And while limiting carbs may help you if you are on a weight loss plan, complex, low GI carbs are necessary for healthy body function, and intense low-carb diets can be pretty unsustainable. Keep the skin on, roast (rather than fry) them in a little bit of vegetable oil, and keep the goose fat to a minimum—taters for life!
7. Olive oil is the worst.
Coconut oil reigned supreme as the goody-two-shoes of the frying oil world thanks to its high frying point but we’re glad this olive oil myth isn’t true. Because if you’ve ever experienced the pure joy that is real, straight-from-Greek-nonna-style olive oil, you get it. As long as you remember that olive oil is still a calorie-dense, monounsaturated fat, and you are eating a balanced diet of fresh veg, fish, and nuts, you’ll be fine. Also, a hot tip in case you need to be told: olive oil may be a healthier option but soaking a doughnut in olive oil doesn’t suddenly transform its health properties.
Image Credit: Jackie Dewar for Metropolist