Hello all and welcome! Please stay safe out there as this cold weather and snow is making for some dangerous roads.
Every other Friday we will discuss a nutrition topic. Feel free to comment if there are specific topics you would like to see covered! We start this series out with some nutrition myths. There can be lots of misinformation surrounding nutrition, so here are the three most common myths in nutrition:
Myth Number One: All of my produce should be organic because it is more nutritious.
This is not necessary true! Buying organic produce often means supporting sustainable farming practices, which is certainly a good thing. However, no significant nutritional difference exists between conventionally grown foods and organic foods. An orange has the same amount of vitamin C whether it was grown using conventional or organic methods.
As an individual, you may choose to avoid non-organic produce due to the small amounts of pesticides, but this decision should not be influenced by the nutritional content of your food. If you are interested in buying organic produce, but don’t know where to start, try looking at this list called The Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen. This lists the best produce to buy organically, and what to buy conventionally. This practice can stretch your food dollar as organic produce can tend to be more expensive.
Myth Number Two: I should not eat carbs if I am trying to lose weight.
Carbohydrates are the main energy source for your brain and the rest of your body. Without potatoes, we literally would be couch potatoes! The reason for this myth is that there are two distinct types of carbs and some carbs are better for us than others.
There are simple carbs (sugars) and complex carbs (starches and fiber). Complex carbs provide needed good energy for our body in addition to being loaded with vitamins, minerals and fiber. Some great examples of complex carbs are whole grain breads and grains (rice, quinoa, etc) as well as fruits and vegetables. Simple carbs on the other hand, come to us in the form of delicious desserts. Cakes, candy, cookies and even sugary drinks are all examples of simple carbs. All simple carbs do is add sugar and calories, while complex carbs fuel us.
When transitioning to a healthy diet or trying to lose weight, it can be beneficial to reduce the amount of consumption, but never cut out a food group entirely. Each food group gives us important nutrients that the others cannot. Just be informed of the best choices within that food group! Should I wake up each morning and eat a chocolate croissant or is a better choice eating a whole wheat bagel instead?
Myth Number Three: All fats are bad and I should avoid them.
This is probably one of the biggest myths out there! I want less fat on my body so I eat less fat. Seems logical, right? We actually need fat in our diet for a reason. Many of our vitamins (vitamins A,D, E, and K for example) are fat soluble. That means our body only absorbs these vitamins when fat is present. Fat is good, but we don’t want too much of it in our system. Only about 20% to 30% of our calories for the day should come from fats.
Now, not all fats are created equal. There are three main kinds of fat: saturated fat, unsaturated fat, and trans fat. They all do different things in your body, and we could spend ages discussing those functions. If you comment and ask, we can build a whole Friday lesson on fats!
The bullet point version is this: saturated fats should be limited when possible, unsaturated fats should be eaten more liberally, and trans fats should be avoided at all costs. Saturated fats can be found in animal products like butter, meats, cheese and milk. Unsaturated fats found in vegetables and nuts such as avocados and peanut butter. Trans fats are a man-made fat (not naturally occurring) and are found in products like potato chips and fast food.
Now that we’ve dispelled several population nutrition-related myths, we hope you find more clarify in the exciting world of food!