When it comes to food and drink, it can feel as if the media is feeding us a continuous diet of fake news specially designed to confuse the life out of consumers.
What are the goodies and baddies? It’s a minefield.
So here we shine a light on some of the most common myths, separating fact from fiction once and for all.
10 – Low fat/Fat free: in or out?
Whatever anyone says to the contrary, there’s still a massive pressure to be thin so naturally all eyes are on fat free foods at the supermarket. Fat free means we can gorge ourselves freely and fearlessly. Or does it?
To add taste and have us rushing back for more, food manufacturers compensate for the lower fat content by adding refined sugar and salt. Is this made loud and clear? No. Fat free is a marketing strategy…the ‘f f’ words written in bold, the nasties in tiny print on the food label.
Better to eat smaller quantities of full fat than second (or third) helpings of fat free food.
9 – Avocadoes: calorie bombs or health saviours?
Simple calorie counting is so last century. Things have moved on. Yes avocadoes score quite heavily in calories (160 per 100 grams) and fat content but this is outweighed by their awesome health enhancing properties. As well as being vitamin and mineral dense, avocadoes contain ‘good’ monounsaturated fat which reduces the risk of heart disease. Their high protein and fibre content make us feel full for longer, reducing the risk of stuffing ourselves with unhealthy, fattening snacks.
8 – Red wine: healthy or not?
Tastes good=unhealthy. That simple equation just about sums it up doesn’t it? Well, for years, red wine actually did appear to buck the trend. Countless studies demonstrated a daily glass of vin rouge with its antioxidants and healthy heart potential was good for us.
Well, you’re not going to like this; a 2016 statement by the UK’s Chief Medical Officer poured cold water on one of our favourite tipples claiming there’s no evidence for its health benefits and anyway these are far outweighed by the negative effects of excessive drinking.
Who do you believe? Take your pick. Personally, I’ll take the risk and stick with moderate consumption.
7 – Eating Vitamin C rich foods prevents colds: yes or no?
Generations of parents have spouted this, probably to encourage children to eat oranges but sadly another sacred cow is consigned to the myth bin. The common cold is the most widespread infectious disease in US and other countries but there’s no evidence that eating crates of oranges will keep us cold free.
Surprisingly, Vitamin D, not C is actually more effective in this department. Get it from the sun or supplements. Plus fortifying the immune system with a well balanced diet containing a low or zero intake of sugars and processed foods is a great way to maintain overall health, including cold prevention.
6 – Frozen vegetables: good or bad?
In an ideal world, we’d all be popping to farmers’ markets for vegetables plucked that morning from Mother Earth. Sadly, work and other demands get in the way, so we stock our freezers with frozen peas and beans.
No need for guilt trips! Frozen veg is actually more nutritious than greens which have been flown half way across the world. Vegetables are frozen within minutes of being picked and therefore retain much of their yummy taste and nutritional value.
5 – The world’s healthiest diet?
Guess what: a research project, published in the Lancet which studied the diets of almost 4.5 billion adults across 187 countries between 1990 and 2010 concluded it’s not the olive oil Mediterranean or the Japanese seaweed rich diets which are the healthiest! We’re all too familiar with famine stories from Africa but in fact the 3 highest scoring countries were Chad, Sierre Leone and Mali because they eat the most seeds, fruit, vegetables and wholegrains and the least junk food.
4 – Bottled water v tap water
Somewhere along the line, we started believing the best water comes, not out of a kitchen tap but in a bottle – what a super successful marketing strategy! The word from the experts, however is fairly unanimous…tap water is actually better for us. The stringent tests carried out on domestic water supplies mean it’s about as safe as mama’s breastmilk. And what about the obscene amount of plastic jamming up landfill…let’s not even go there! So, back to basics…drink tap water, save money and the planet.
3 – Coffee. Good or bad?
Like so many other goodies, coffee has had a bad press recently but all those coffee shops can’t be wrong surely?
Well, there are pros and cons to lattes and americanos. On the plus side, coffee contains antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins and makes us less susceptible to type 2 diabetes, liver disease, dementia and depression. As we all know on a groggy morning, it increases alertness and energy levels.
But, it can disrupt sleep, increase anxiety and is addictive, so withdrawal can drive us a little crazy.
2 – Fruit: could it really be unhealthy?
The latest food commandment to come under scrutiny is…unbelievably…fruit because of its high sugar content. Expert advice: if you stick with whole fruit rather than juice, you can’t go far wrong because fruit contains fructose not the yukky glucose contained in added refined
1 – The 5 second rule
Who invented this? Probably, someone who, like me, is clumsy and regularly drops food on the floor. Scoop it up fast and it’ll be fine, we reassure ourselves.
Well, sorry to say, even in a heartbeat, food picks up bacteria especially from wood or tiled floors. Keep food above ground level or practice your catching technique to maintain maximum hygiene standards.
So, there you have it; with the food and drink facts at your fingertips, you can make informed choices about what’s hot and what’s not in this baffling fake news filled world.