When it comes to what types of foods you should and shouldn’t be eating, answers can often be difficult to come by. Some people swear by eating only fresh foods, whereas others insist that frozen foods are just as—if not more—healthy.
Therefore, to help you distinguish between fact and fiction, truth and myth, we’ve put together a few of the most widely-held misconceptions about food.
1. Frozen food is less nutritious than fresh food’
One of the most prevalent food-related myths is that fresh food is always healthier and more nutritious than frozen. This isn’t the case. In fact, frozen fruits and vegetables are often ‘flash frozen’ within a few hours of being picked, locking in their freshness.
Compare this to fresh foods, which can spend days, if not weeks, being transported around and sitting on supermarket shelves, and it’s easy to see why frozen food can often be the healthier and more nutritious option. And that’s on top of that fact that frozen food is often cheaper and easier to store than fresh.
2. ‘If you want to lose weight you’ll have to give up all of your favourite foods’
Luckily, this is a myth. While some foods are less healthy than others, it’s still possible, when consumed in moderation, to enjoy your favourite foods from time to time, whether it’s pizza, sausage and mash, or even chocolate fudge cake.
3. ‘Packaged foods are bad for your health’
While it’s true that packaged foods can be high in calories, additives, and fat, this is by no means always the case. Some packaged foods, in particular frozen fruit and veg, low-fat yoghurt, and packaged brown rice, can all contribute towards a healthy, balanced diet.
4. ‘Vitamin supplements are fine as a substitute for a poor diet’
Unfortunately, this is a myth. It’s not possible to compensate for a poor diet simply by taking vitamins. In fact, despite the popularity of vitamin supplements, there has yet to be any conclusive evidence that they’re able to enhance the health of the user. So instead of spending your spare cash on costly vitamins, use it on foods that will keep you fit and healthy, such as lean red meats and poultry, wholegrains, unrefined brown rice, nuts, seeds, oily fish, and plenty of fruit and vegetables.
5. ‘All packaged foods are high in salt’
Another myth. Nowadays, people are becoming far more attuned to their salt intake, and food manufacturers know this. That’s why, over the past few years, many packaged foods have drastically reduced their salt content, in some cases cutting it out altogether.
Therefore, where you can, go for the low-salt or no-salt options, and rinse off any tinned vegetables before using them. To further cut down your salt intake, try to avoid adding salt to meals unless you’re making them from scratch (in which case don’t simply rely on salt for adding flavour—use lots of herbs and spices, too).
TIP: Salt and sodium are two different things. One easy way of finding how much salt a product
contains is to multiply its sodium content by 2.5. E.g. if a product contains 3g of sodium, that’s the
equivalent to around 7.5g of salt.
6. Foods can be divided into two categories: good and bad
As with most things, moderation is key when it comes to defining a food as ‘good’ or ‘bad’.
Consuming too much of anything—fatty foods, salt, even water—can, of course, be detrimental to your health. However, by practicing moderation (by, say, only eating out at a fast food restaurant once a month) almost all foods can help contribute towards a healthy, balanced diet.
7. ‘White potatoes should be avoided’
Unlike white bread or white rice, white potatoes are actually very nutritious and full of B vitamins, fibre, and vitamin C. Just make sure that you don’t overdo it with the portion sizes (a portion around the size of your clenched fist is a good guideline), and cook the potatoes in a healthy way, without too much added butter or other fatty toppings.
8. ‘You need eight glasses of water per day to stay healthy’
While a 1945 study recommended at least 4.5 litres of water per day, there has been surprisingly little evidence since to support this conclusion. Of course, water is an essential part of any diet, but the amount of water you need to consume per day isn’t a constant. On hot days, for instance, or after drinking alcohol, you’ll need more water than usual in order to fend off dehydration.
9. ‘Fat-free or reduced-fat foods are always better for weight loss’
Contrary to popular belief, low-fat or fat-free products aren’t automatically the best choice when it comes to losing weight. Many such products are actually bulked out with cheaper ingredients or more sugar which, ultimately, can result in a higher calorie intake.
10. ‘Don’t worry about the food, worry about the calories’
When it comes to maintaining a healthy diet, calories are important. However, they’re not the be-all and end-all. Just as important is the nutritional value of the food you’re eating. It’s better to eat a plateful of different-coloured vegetables than one slice of white bread, even if both contain the same number of calories, simply for the fact that the plate of vitamins contains far more fibre, vitamins, and minerals than the slice of bread.
11. ‘Bananas contain far too much sugar to be part of a healthy diet’
Despite their reputation as a sweet, high-energy fruit containing more sugar than a bag of sherbet, bananas in fact only contain a few more grams of sugar than apples, oranges, and most other fruits you care to name. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should go overboard on your banana intake, simply that there’s no need to avoid them.
12. ‘The speed you eat at has no bearing on how much you consume’
This is definitely a myth. Eating too quickly can and will lead to overeating. This is all down to the amount of time the brain takes to register that your stomach is full, which can take anything up to 20 minutes. So take time to eat more slowly, enjoy your food, and don’t rush it. And, if you really want to get the most out of mealtimes, try our ‘plate’ technique. Divide you plate into two and place your veggies on one half, your protein in one of the remaining quarters, and your carbs in the other quarter. Start off by eating your veg, then move onto the protein, and finally the carbs. This way, if you do feel full before the meal’s over, you’ll only be missing out on carbs and not on any of the nutritious vegetables.
13. ‘When dining at a restaurant, you should always go for the salad’
Unfortunately, due to the way many restaurants prepare their salads, this isn’t always a good idea. Fat-filled dressings, deep-fried croutons, and other ingredients can often turn salads into an unhealthy option. Instead, try to stick to grilled protein sources and avoid anything deep-fried in order to eat out more healthily.
14. ‘Some foods contain ‘negative’ calories’
One persistent myth surrounding healthy eating is that certain foods—celery, in particular—will actually make you lose calories. This misconception is based on the idea that chewing and digesting some foods uses up more calories than they themselves contain. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case, and digestion of food generally only uses up around 10% of the calories consumed.
15. ‘If you want to eat healthier, you’ll have to spend more time in the kitchen’
A lot of us dream about the good life—growing vegetables and herbs in our gardens, keeping chickens for laying eggs, and being able to cook everything from scratch. Unfortunately, for most of us, such a life simply isn’t possible. However, just because you’re not cooking your own meals, doesn’t mean your diet needs to suffer. Quick and simple recipes such as stir fries are a great source of protein and vitamins, and options such as slow-cooked meals can help to take the work off your hands. And that’s not all: tinned foods, frozen vegetables, and pre-sliced meat, cheese, and fruit are also good options for quick and easy nutrition.
Get some balance back into your life by choosing a Bodychef Home Delivery diet.