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5 Food Myths Busted
By : Laura Crooks

There are many beliefs about what to eat to lose weight or just be healthy. Some have become so distorted as they are "helpfully" shared that the underlying truth is hard to discern. Others have been repeated so many times that they are accepted as truth. See if any of the following 5 myths are a roadblock to your better health.

Myth 1: If I eat only healthy foods I can eat as much as I want and not gain weight. 
Fact: Gaining weight is about taking in more calories than you burn off. Healthy foods have calories, too. Think about nuts, avocados, and dried fruits; all are very calorie dense AND healthy. Eating nutritious foods is admirable, but you still need to watch the amount of food you eat. To avoid gaining weight aim for an assortment of nutritious foods in moderate amounts, along with adequate exercise.

Myth 2: Organic is always best. 
Fact: There can be benefits from buying local, whether the food is labeled organic or not. Many smaller farmers do not go through the process of registering as an organic farm. Local food leaves less of a carbon footprint because it does not travel far from field to your table. Organic foods can be shipped 3000 miles, losing nutrients during the trip. Organic farming has to do with not using pesticides; it does not have to mean using crop rotation and farming in other sustainable ways.

Myth 3: Fats are bad. 
Fact: All fats are not equal. Unsaturated fats (polyunsaturated: vegetable oils, nuts and seeds and monounsaturated: olive oil, avocados, nuts and seeds, and omega 3 fatty acids: salmon, mackerel, herring, flax seeds, walnuts) can help reduce your risk of heart disease. Fats help your body absorb some vitamins and help you feel full and satisfied longer. Saturated fats (animal products and tropical oils) can be detrimental to your cardiac health in large amounts. Transfats (partially hydrogenated vegetable oil: commercial baked goods, shortening, margarine, fried foods) should be seriously restricted.

Myth 4: It doesn't get any healthier than a salad with fresh vegetables and a fat free dressing. 
Fact: You need a bit of fat with your vegetables to best absorb the vitamins. To enhance how satisfying your salad is you can sprinkle a few nuts or cheese on your salad or use a small amount of dressing.

Myth 5: I eat a healthy diet so my cholesterol must be low. 
Fact: Cholesterol is both derived from animal based foods and is made within our bodies. Sometimes you can lower your cholesterol levels by improving your diet, but some people manufacture too much cholesterol regardless of their diet. It is always a good idea to have your cholesterol level checked periodically as it is not only affected by what you eat.

Food is the fuel for our bodies. We should eat some fats, carbohydrates, and protein each day.