Demythified food myths
Over the years, various myths and misconceptions have arisen about certain foods. To make matters worse, false and unrepentant claims have tarnished the reputation of previously appreciated foods, some of which ultimately prove to be good for you. For example, the results of a large study indicate that among women who drank between one and four cups of coffee a day, the risk of diabetes decreased by 47%.
Here are some of the food myths that have a hard time.
1. Myth: the egg is bad for your health
For years, nutritionists and other experts have warned us against the egg, which is supposed to be bad for your health. After all, it is true that it is one of the richest foods in cholesterol and because it clogs the arteries, it has been thought to increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.
But that’s wrong. According to the results of large-scale studies, this theory is floundering. For example, in the well-known Framingham Heart Study, which established the link between high blood cholesterol and heart attack for the first time, there was no evidence that egg consumption increased the risk of heart disease.
How to explain this? It turns out that only 25% of the blood cholesterol comes from foods. The rest is made by the liver, which produces a lot when the intake of saturated fat, such as cheese burger, is high. However, the egg contains little of this category of fat. In addition, it is rich in nutrients with the power to protect against the damage potentially caused by its high cholesterol content, such as unsaturated fats, various minerals, folate and other B vitamins.
2. Myth: Coffee causes cancer
In the last 30 or 40 years, coffee has been associated with cancer on a few occasions. Thus, in the late 1970s, researchers reported that caffeine caused the formation of cysts in the breast tissue. This discovery has raised a number of concerns because women with cysts often end up suffering from breast cancer. Then, in a 1981 Harvard study, it was found that the incidence of pancreatic cancer was higher among coffee drinkers.
However, other scientists later tried to validate these results using a more advanced methodology and larger groups of subjects, but could not establish any link between coffee consumption and the incidence of these. cancers. Similarly, large-scale studies examining the incidence of other cancers in coffee drinkers have not been successful. In some cases, the opposite is true. Thus, the results of a review of 17 studies conducted between 1990 and 2003 indicate that the incidence of colon cancer is reduced by 24% among those who regularly drink coffee and tea.
It has also been shown in recent studies that coffee provides some protection against other conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease and type 2 diabetes (although, to significantly reduce your risk of suffering from it, you would probably need take six cups a day).
3. Myth: Among alcoholic beverages, only red wine has a protective effect on the heart
Researchers have speculated that the love of the French for wine, especially red, could partly explain the fact that they enjoyed better cardiovascular health than us. This makes sense given that red wine contains high levels of resveratrol, a phytochemical that acts as an antioxidant and decreases inflammation. More recent studies even suggest that this substance may help slow the aging process.
However, it seems that alcohol in red wine – as well as in white wine and beer – has a positive effect on heart health. The results of large population studies indicate that most people derive some benefit from moderate alcohol use in all categories.
Alcohol, no matter what form it takes, raises HDL cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol) and seems to reduce the risk of blood clots. Most public health organizations are of the opinion that one or two drinks a day (one for women, two for men), alcohol may have some benefit and probably no risk.
4. Myth: Lean or low-fat foods are necessarily healthier than those who are rich in them
When it comes to dairy products and other foods like meat, you can easily adopt a simple rule: the less fat possible, the better. But this is not necessarily the case for other foods, for example salad dressing: when you want to lose weight, it seems logical to opt for a sauce without oil and yet there is a price to pay for those 100 calories (provided by 2 tbsp) that you “save”.
First, salad dressings made from monounsaturated fats such as olive oil or canola oil could help prevent heart disease or other diseases. In addition, it has been shown in a recent study that depriving oneself of fat, one could also deprive oneself of certain protective elements, the reason being that, without fat, certain nutrients present in vegetables of salads are simply not absorbed by the body.
No need, however, to drown your salad in oil; 1 or 2 tablespoons is enough.
5. Myth: fruits and vegetables are more nutritious raw than cooked
The theory that cooking makes food less nutritious does not hold water. Crudivores insist that heat destroys enzymes in food and makes them more digestible. Although this is true, cooking also has the effect of degrading the fibers of food, thus facilitating their assimilation. Trying to survive essentially by eating raw fruits and vegetables may even turn against you if your goal is to be healthier.
German researchers who studied 201 men and women who only consumed raw foods found that their cholesterol and total triglyceride levels had decreased, but also their HDL cholesterol levels. In addition, their level of homocysteine (an amino acid that has been associated with heart attacks and strokes) has increased.
In recent years, researchers have discovered that cooking increases the content of certain fruits and vegetables in nutrients. Thus, ketchup contains five or six times more lycopene than raw tomato, making it a much more useful product against diseases such as prostate cancer.
6. Myth: Frozen or canned fruits and vegetables are less nutritious than fresh ones
Fresh fruits and vegetables are more nutritious than canned and frozen foods, it’s true, but only when they are harvested. During the long journey they must make between the harvest and the moment they arrive on the stalls, not to mention their long stay in the warehouse, the natural enzymes they release degrade some of their nutrients and make them less nutritious.
In contrast, processors quickly freeze fresh produce, preserving their vitamin and mineral content. For example, a study at the University of Illinois found that frozen beans contained twice as much vitamin C as freshly purchased at the grocery store. In addition, contrary to popular belief, the canning process also does not deprive fruits and vegetables of significant amounts of nutrients. While in some cases heat can cause some vitamin loss, in other cases the opposite is true: Spinach and canned squash are richer in vitamin A than their fresh counterparts.
7. As walnuts, almonds and other nuts are fattening, eat them sparingly
While nuts are very high in fat, they are good fats. Dry roasted peanuts contain three or four times more monounsaturated fat than saturated fat. Recent studies indicate that nut consumption can even contribute to weight loss.
Researchers believe that the fats in these foods contribute to the feeling of fullness and that during their digestion, their proteins could burn the calories they provide. In addition, the results of a study conducted by British researchers indicate that protein-rich foods help release a hormone known to reduce appetite.
The high concentration of good fat nuts makes them foods that can satisfy hunger without raising cholesterol or other blood lipid levels. In addition, they are excellent sources of fiber as well as various nutrients, including vitamin E, magnesium, folate and copper.