Nutrition, Food and Health Myths

When it comes to nutrition and health, there is a lot of misinformation out there. We often see sensationalist headlines based on studies with unsurprising results. For example…

Drinking milk does NOT increase mucus production. Studies have shown that there is no association between milk and increased nasal secretions, coughing, or congestion.

Frozen vegetables are NOT less nutritious than fresh vegetables, and may have MORE nutrients because they are frozen at the peak of freshness.

Mega doses of vitamin C do NOT cure the common cold (but do play an important role in immune function).

Agave is NOT a healthy alternative to table sugar. Agave is made of a type of sugar called fructose, which does not cause spikes in blood sugar like glucose (found in table sugar), but is metabolized by the liver and associated with a higher risk of fatty liver disease and insulin resistance.  

And speaking of sugar, sugar highs are an urban legend. A recent (2019) review of 31 studies revealed no association between simple carbohydrate intake and mood or energy levels. 

Eggs (and other foods high in dietary cholesterol) do NOT raise blood cholesterol levels in most people. (Eggs are a great source of protein, vitamins B2, B6, B12, D, choline and selenium, and minerals zinc, iron and copper.) 

Eating late at night is NOT bad for you. But it may lead you to make poor choices/consume excess calories. Choose a handful of nuts, air-popped popcorn, or a piece of fruit.

Are LUNA, CLIF and other granola bars healthy? It depends. Many are highly processed and full of sugar. Look for ones with pronounceable ingredients and <5 grams of sugar. 

BPA-Free plastic containers are NOT safe to heat food in or drink warm beverages from.  BPA replacement plastics have been shown to be no better, and often even more hazardous. Heat food in glass or ceramic and store food in glass, ceramic or stainless steel.

Low or fat-free milk is NOT better for you than whole milk. Whole milk contains essential fatty acids that are more filling and nutrient rich. Studies have shown that adults who drink whole milk are generally slimmer than those who drink low fat or fat-free varieties. If you drink dairy, choose whole, organic and pasteurized (rather than ultra-pasteurized, which is essentially a shelf-stable product, with less good bacteria).