By GWEN SCHOEN
June 01, 2008
Jeannie Gazzaniga Moloo, spokeswoman for the American Dietetics Association, is on a mission to squelch myths.
Here's a list of 12 common beliefs along with the facts from Moloo.
-- Myth: Eating sugar causes diabetes.
-- Fact: Diabetes is the result of the body either not making enough insulin or the body's cells not responding to insulin. Since foods high in sugar are often high in calories, overeating these foods can lead to weight gain, which can increase the risk for developing Type 2 diabetes.
-- Myth: Eating carbohydrates causes weight gain.
-- Fact: A diet too high in calories - whether from protein, carbohydrate or fat - causes weight gain.
-- Myth: Eating after 8 p.m. causes weight gain.
-- Fact: It's not when you eat, but how much you eat that causes weight gain. Some people find that not eating after a certain time in the evening helps with weight control. It works because they are limiting their calories for the day, not because calories are metabolized differently.
-- Myth: Fresh fruits and vegetables are healthier than frozen or canned.
-- Fact: Canned or frozen fruits and vegetables are often flash frozen or quickly canned after harvest so they retain most of their nutrients. Fresh fruits and vegetables often will lose some of their nutrients while sitting in grocery stores or in your refrigerator.
-- Myth: Most sodium in people's diets is from salt added while cooking or at the table.
-- Fact: About 77 percent of the sodium in Americans' diets is from processed foods. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day for most adults and 1,500 milligrams a day for African Americans, people with hypertension and older people.
-- Myth: Brown eggs are more nutritious than white eggs.
-- Fact: Egg shell color has nothing to do with nutrient value of an egg. White hens lay white eggs, and brown hens lay brown eggs.
-- Myth: Brown sugar is healthier than white sugar.
-- Fact: Brown sugar is refined white sugar with molasses added. The darker the brown sugar, the more molasses it contains. The molasses adds some minerals, but you would have to eat a lot of brown sugar to gain any significant benefit.
-- Myth: A label that says 95 percent fat-free means only 5 percent of the calories come from fat.
-- Fact: A product advertised as 95 percent fat-free means that 5 percent of the total weight is fat. The calories from fat could still be high. For example, 95 percent fat-free ground turkey might have 8 grams of fat per 170 calorie serving which translates to 42 percent of the calories from fat.
-- Myth: Honey is better than white sugar because it is natural.
-- Fact: Honey does contain antioxidants and some nutrients that white sugar does not, but in very small amounts. You would have to eat a lot of honey to gain a significant benefit. In addition, honey has 60 calories per tablespoon compared to 46 calories for sugar.
-- Myth: Certain foods like grapefruit, celery or cabbage soup can burn fat and make you lose weight.
-- Fact: No one food can cause your body to burn fat or lose weight. Restricted calorie intake with regular physical activity is the only proven way to lose weight.
-- Myth: Consuming extra protein is necessary to build muscle mass.
-- Fact: Research shows that eating more than 30 percent of your total daily calories as protein can be hard on your body. A diet that is rich in whole grains, fruits and vegetables and lean dairy, meats and fish is going to do more for muscle building than just eating more protein.
-- Myth: Diet sodas cause weight gain.
-- Fact: The studies showing a link between drinking diet sodas and weight gain were not designed to show cause and effect, but only an association. People who drink diet sodas may be compensating for other unhealthy lifestyle habits that cause weight gain. For example, they may choose a diet soda thinking they are saving calories and then choose fries to go with their giant cheeseburger. People who drink diet sodas for weight control should drink them in moderation, keep track of total calories and stay tuned for more research.
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