Sunday, March 28, 2010

10 Nutrition Myths Summarized (from Cooking Light Magazine)

     Here are some of the most important blips of information from the fabulous article in April 2010's edition of Cooking Light, the story is by an MS and RD (registered dietician) and for consulting the truth, they went to leading nutrition researchers, chefs and food scientists. Here is why I LOVE LOVE LOVE that article...

Myth 1     Added Sugar is ALWAYS Bad For You; 
Truth: You can use the sweet stuff to ensure that your sugar calories are far from "empty" calories..
Sugar is essential in the kitchen. Consider all that it does for baking...Keep in mind that other sweeteners like "natural" honey are basically refined sugar anyway-and they are all metabolized by your body the same way, as 4 calories per gram. "Add a little bit of sugar to help boost your intake of nutrient rich foods by making them tastier," says Jackie Newgent, RD. Don't go overboard, of course. Most health experts suggest that added sugar supply no more that 10 percent of your total calories-about 200 in a 2,000 calorie diet.

Myth 2     Eating Eggs Raises Your Cholesterol Levels;
Truth; Dietary cholesterol found in eggs has little to do with the amount of cholesterol in your body...
The same word, "cholesterol" is used to describe two different things. Dietary cholesterol-the fat like molecules in animal-based foods like eggs-doesn't greatly affect the amount of cholesterol circulating in your bloodstream. Instead, what fuels your body's cholesterol making machine is certain saturated and trans fats. Eggs contain relatively small amounts of saturated fat...(1 large egg =1.5 grams sat. fat which is a fraction of the portion some use to cook the egg!) "the research with eggs has never shown any link of egg consumption with blood lipids or with risk of heart disease," says Don Layman, PhD. Cutting eggs from your diet is a bad idea, they're a rich source of 13 vitamins and minerals.

Myth 3     All Saturated Fats Raise Blood Cholesterol;
Truth: New research shows that some saturated fats don't...
There are 4 main types of sat fat; lauric, myristic, palmitic, and stearic acid. Whats interesting is that they are handled differently by the body when consumed. Stearic acid, found naturally in cocoa, dairy products, meats, and poultry, as well as palm and coconut oils has attracted the most scientific interest because it appears to act similarly to monosaturated fat in that it does not raise harmful LDL cholesterol but boosts beneficial HDL cholesterol levels. Foods like coconut and chocolate that contain what may eventually be called the "good" saturated fat, in moderate consumption, is healthier than we once thought. We say moderate though because foods rich in any type of fat tend to be dense in calories as well.

Myth 4     The Only Heart-Friendly Alcohol is Red Wine;
Truth: Beer, wine, and liquors all confer the same health benefits...
More research has shown that antioxidants aren't the answer after all. Alcohol-the ethanol itself-raises levels of protective high density lipoproteins (HDL or good cholesterol) which help protect against plaque buildup in the arteries and reduce clotting factors that contribute to heart attack and stroke...and any kind of beverage that contains alcohol, when consumed in moderation (1-2 drinks per day) helps reduce the risk of heart disease.

Myth 5     Adding Salt to the Pot Adds Sodium to the Food
Truth: Salt added to boiling water may actually make vegetables more nutritious...
Sodium is a potential problem even for non-hypertensive people. But it's easy to overlook how sodium can actually help in recipes. "Salt in the cooking water reduces the leaching of nutrients from vegetables into the water," says Harold McGee, author of On Food & Cooking. "It also speeds up the cooking process so you don't lose as many nutrients from overcooking." Use about 1 tsp per cup of water, the amount of sodium absorbed by the food is minuscule. 

Myth 6     Fried Foods Are Always Fatty 
Truth: Healthy deep-fried food is not an oxymoron
When food is exposed to hot oil, the moisture inside boils and pushes from the interior to the surface and then out into the oil. As moisture leaves, it creates a barrier, minimizing oil absorption into the food when done right. To keep food from soaking up oil and calories, fry according to instructions (make sure oil is at desired temp before starting) Also, do not over cook as it will soak up too much oil. Keep it reasonable and only once in a while...but delicious!

Myth 7     The More Fiber You Eat the Better
Truth: Not all fibers are equally beneficial. Consider the source...
Fiber is a fad-food component right now, and food manufacturers are isolating specific types of fiber and adding them to packaged foods to take advantage. Gone are the days of 2 types of fiber: water soluble (oats, fruit, legumes) and insoluble (whole grains, nuts, seeds) We know now that different fibers have diff. functions (for ex. wheat bran helps move food along; oat bran lowers cholesterol; inulin supports healthy gut bacteria) Joanne Slavin, PhD, RD says "Foods fortified with fiber will not provide all the inherent goodness of whole foods like whole grains, legumes, vegetables, and fruits." So while its true most of us do not get enough fiber, added fiber doesn't get us off the hook.

Myth 8     You Should Always Remove Chicken Skin Before Eating
Truth: You can enjoy a skin-on chicken breast without blowing your sat-fat budget...
A 12 oz bone-in skin-on chicken breast half contains just 2.5 grams saturated fat and 50 calories more than its similarly portioned skinless counterpart. Whats more, 55 percent of the fat in the chicken skin is monounsaturated-the heart healthy kinds you want more of. 

Myth 9     Organic Foods Are More Nutritious Than Conventional
Truth: There are many food reasons to choose organic, but nutrition isn't one of them...
If you buy organic because you believe that sustainable farming supports the health of the soil, the work of small farmers, or the well-being of livestock, that's all good. However, it's not accurate to also promote organic as inherently more nutritious. Researchers at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine provided 50 yrs. of organic research concluding no significant nutritional difference exists between conventional and organic crops and livestock. There is of course, still the issue of trace amounts of pesticides so wash produce carefully.

Myth 10    Cooking Olive Oil Destroys its Health Benefits
Truth: Even delicate extra-virgin olive oils can take the heat without sacrificing nutrition...
Since olive oil became a "good" fat the thought that if you cook with premium versions you heat away the healthful properties. First of all, heart-healthy monounsaturated fats aren't unfavorably altered by heat. Research from Italy and Spain shows they can surprisingly stable as long as oil isn't heated past the smoking point (extra virgin olive oil is about 405^). Storing is more important, unopened opaque bottles can keep for 2 yrs in room temp and away from light. Once opened, use within 6 mos.

1 comment:

  1. great post... and a great blog! looking forward to reading more. :)


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