Common Food Myths

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Grapefruit increases metabolism.

Grapefruit does not increase metabolism nor does it burn off fat in the body.  However, grapefruits, like most fruits and vegetables, are packed with nutrients.  They are also great low calorie, low fat snack any day of the week.

Gelatin makes your nails hard.

Gelatin may be great, but forget it as a way to strengthen your nails.  A balanced diet with adequate amounts of iron, vitamin C, folate and other B vitamins is probably your best bet for healthy nail growth.

Don’t eat after 6pm.

There is no dietary law that says you can’t eat after 6pm.  Your body doesn’t use the calories from a huge piece of cake any differently at 10 pm than it does at 10am.  When it comes to weight control, it all boils down to this:  If you’ve eaten enough calories to maintain your weight, but decide to have an extra snack, your body doesn’t care what time you eat; the surplus will be stored as fat anyway.  So if you want a snack before bed every night, just make sure you account for the calories in you overall diet.

The only way to lose weight is to eat less.

One of the best ways to lose weight may be to eat more – of the right foods. A handful of peanuts has the same calories as seven cups of microwave popcorn.  The difference is in the amount of fat and fiber.  Foods that are low in fat and high in fiber (like popcorn) naturally contain fewer calories than foods higher in fat (like peanuts).  Gram for gram, fat has more than twice as many calories as carbohydrates or protein.  Fat makes a little food add up to a lot of calories.

Brown or wheat bread has more fiber than white bread.

Brown bread, wheat bread, and white bread are essentially the same.  They are made from refined wheat flour and have about one half gram of fiber in a slice.  The only real difference is color.  Manufacturers often add caramel coloring or molasses to the darker bread to darken its hue. If you want lots of fiber, buy whole-wheat bread.  Look at the label, it should contain about 1.5 grams per slice.

Drinking hot tea with a meal will reduce the fat content of the food.

No beverage will keep you from digesting and absorbing the fat you have eaten.

Coleslaw is a healthy choice for a side dish.

Coleslaw typically contains a lot of mayonnaise or salad dressing and a cup of it can have 200 calories and 16 grams of fat (70 percent of the calories).  If you want a healthier version, use non-fat mayonnaise or yoghurt instead.

If a food has no cholesterol, it is healthy.

In spite of all the cholesterol-free banners on bottles and packages, dietary cholesterol isn’t the only key to heart disease.  Consumption of saturated fats (animal fats, such as those in butter, cream and beef, and some oils such as palm oil) is more significant than dietary cholesterol in elevating blood cholesterol levels in the body.  When the package proclaims “no cholesterol,” that should be your cue to read the label carefully.  Often you’ll find that the food in question is high in fat or calories—and that it never had cholesterol to begin with.

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