True or False?
In today's post I hope to clarify and shed light on a few common nutritional myths.
There is a lot of confusing and often contradictory nutritional information out there. It may be something you read on the internet or hear from a friend. But, with all this confusion, how do we know who or what is the truth?
A good place to start is to remember that for nutritional information to be true and reputable it should be based on scientific evidence.
Many articles and publications are used as marketing tools and advertisements for nutritional products (also known as sponsored content). These make claims which are aimed at selling a product and are not necessarily evidence-based.
Remember to always question where this information is coming from and ask yourself: “Is it based on scientific evidence?” Sometimes it is quite hard to know and this is where we need to question the credibility of this information.
These are the top 3 misconceptions that I hear almost on a daily basis. True or False:
1. Gluten-free is always a healthier option for everyone.
False. Gluten is a general name for a group of proteins found in grains such as wheat, rye, spelt and barley. For most of us, gluten is harmless and there is no reason not to eat foods that contain gluten such as breads and pastas. In which case, a healthier option is whole wheat and whole grain.The only people that should follow a strict gluten-free diet are people that have been diagnosed with Celiac’s Disease, a chronic autoimmune disease, or an intolerance to gluten.
2. We should not drink milk or eat any dairy products.
False. Dairy milk is an excellent source of calcium, phosphorus, vitamins B,A, D and protein. These nutrients are essential for bone and muscle health. People who suffer from lactose intolerance (sensitivity to the sugar in milk, called lactose) or an allergy to milk protein should avoid dairy completely and make sure that they are replacing these essential nutrients from other foods. For the rest of us, dairy should be a part of our daily balanced diet.
3. Raw sugar,coconut sugar, agave, maple syrup and honey are much healthier than regular white sugar.
False. Raw sugar, agave, honey and maple syrup contain fibre, minerals, vitamins and are more natural than regular white sugar. However these health benefits are miniscule and calorie-wise they all contain around 20 calories per teaspoon. In our bodies, they are broken down into simpler forms of sugar such as fructose and sucrose. Although these sweeteners contain more fructose, which does not raise blood sugar levels as much as white sugar, high levels of fructose disrupt normal liver metabolism which can lead to heart disease. The bottom line is that sugar is sugar. Use sparingly and chose a sweetener based on preferred taste rather than the idea that one of these is a healthier option.