In today’s media-focused world, we are constantly bombarded with new diets or nutrition tips promising rapid results. Ever wonder what the science says? Read on to get a dietitian’s perspective on five common nutrition myths:
- A Calorie is a Calorie: Though all calories contain the same amount of energy, it is too simple to assume all calories are truly equal. Different food items containing equal amounts of calories can have various effects on fullness, metabolism, blood sugar, and more. This, in turn, causes different effects on hunger and eating behavior. The focus should be more on quality than Make sure you get your calories from a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean meats, dairy and whole grains!
- A Healthy Diet Excludes Carbs: Carbohydrates have a bad reputation when it comes to weight loss. However, carbs provide the body with energy to function and are a great source of various vitamins and minerals. Cutting back can mean missing out on important nutrients. Instead, focus on high-quality, high-fiber carbs like those in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and limit refined carbs like sweets, sodas, and processed snacks.
- Avoid Your Favorites to Lose Weight: A healthy diet can include your favorite foods! Total restriction often backfires and can lead to overindulgence. Instead, carefully consider portion sizes and enjoy your favorites in moderation. This will help keep cravings at bay and allow you to find a healthy balance!
- Fruit Has Too Much Sugar: Though fruit contains sugar, it is not the same as added sugars found in processed foods. Added sugars are metabolized rapidly and can have adverse effects on health. In addition to its natural sugars, fruit also contains fiber which helps slow the body’s response to sugar and keeps us feeling fuller for longer. Additionally, fruit is a great source of vitamins, minerals, and water and should be included in a healthy diet!
- Healthy Packaging = Healthy Product: The regulation of food packaging and advertising might not be as robust as you think. Often, health claims are completely uncorrelated with actual the nutritional quality of the item. Be sure to read the nutrition facts and look for ingredient lists that are short and recognizable. Don’t be mislead by buzz words and catchy packaging!
If you’re looking for new ways to include nutritional programs or challenges into your overall wellness program, contact Director of Population Health and Analytics Sarah Michaels, RN for more information.