5 every day diet myths

Posted by: Ren

I attribute my fascination with fad diets to being a teenager in the nineties, when there was a mass outcry against carbs, and Calvin Klein model sizes were ideal. Atkins told us one thing, and then someone from South Beach told us another. No wonder we’re so confused with so many conflicting messages.


These days, my diet (and body image) is much more in-balance. Occasionally though, I find myself roped into trying whatever food trend is popular at the moment, though it’s more out of personal curiosity than any desire to slim down. Whether it be Paleo, Gluten-Free, or the Juice Cleanse du jour, I experience every temporary diet as a mini-research project. Through it all, I’ve come to learn a great deal about what it means to “eat healthy”, but more importantly, I’ve come to learn that I shouldn’t always believe what I read, or hear. Even if it’s from someone with M.D. behind their names, and even if they’ve been on Oprah.



Here are five common food myths that you might have heard, but I’d advise you to re-think:

1. Red meat will give you a heart attack, white meat will not. In fact, free range and grass fed beef can be an excellent supplement to your diet (in moderation). Factory farmed chickens pumped with antibiotics will never be better for you than a healthfully raised cut of beef. And of course, if you’re eating chicken nuggets three times a week, I think you can pretty much guarantee a heart attack eventually.


2. Eating salt is part of an unhealthy diet. Sea salt, in particular, is made of minerals that are beneficial to your body. Previous research claiming that high salt intake leads to health problems has recently been found to be contradictory and insubstantial. In other words, eating salt will not lead to heart disease, unless you are eating it by the handful and combine it with smoking a pack a day and eating a chili cheeseburger every night.


3. Carbs will make you gain weight. Let’s face it, carbs taste good. I’m one to believe that moderation is the best way to live life, whether it be with fats, grains, or sugars. If you can’t give up pasta, try whole wheat pasta. If you love curry and rice, give wild rice a try. These days, there are just as many whole grains available that provide more texture, flavour, and digestive capabilities than regular refined wheats. Other examples are farro, bulgur, and quinoa.


4. If you’re lactose intolerant, you can’t have cheese. As a former cheesemonger, I believe this to be the most evil lie ever told to mankind! In fact, hard cheeses – such as aged goudas and parmesans – have virtually no lactose. Much of the lactose in dairy products is found in the whey, which is strained and pressed out of most hard cheeses. Furthermore, the aging process converts lactose into lactic acid, eliminating many of the sugars which lactose intolerant people are sensitive to. The firmer and drier the cheese, the more likely a lactose intolerant person will be able to safely consume.


5. Soy products are healthy. Soy has become the most popular substitute in recent years, and there are now just as many options for soy milk on supermarket shelves as there are regular milk. While I love tofu, and have boxes of soy milk stocked in my pantry on the regular, I do take care in which labels I select. Soy milk can, deceptively, be terribly processed. In other words, that “healthy” soy milk you are drinking in place of regular cow’s milk might just be as full of preservatives, sugars, and stabilizers as that sugary box drink in the pantry.


If you have any other diet myths that you want busted, comment below! Now, if anyone has heard of a croissant, or danish diet (seven days of nothing but pastries?), I’d love to give that one a try…

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