To truly debunk common food myths, here is part three of our Dispelling Common Food Myths Series. From organic food to frozen vegetables, you may find yourself surprised!
Myth: Organic food is better for my health.
The reality: Organic foods are those grown and produced without the use of synthetic chemicals (including artificial fertilisers or pesticides). Some people choose organic foods because they are worried about chemical residues and pesticides in food. In Australia and New Zealand, the maximum limits safe for human consumption of pesticide residues have been set and are monitored by the regulatory body Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ). When included in a balanced and healthy diet both conventionally and organically grown foods can give you all the nutrients your body needs. Whichever you choose is up to you and your personal preference.
Myth: Skipping breakfast helps you lose weight
The reality: Logically you’d think that skipping a meal and eating less food would help you to lose weight. But in the case of breakfast, research has actually shown the opposite with those who skip breakfast, tending to weigh more compared to those who eat breakfast regularly. This could be because people who skip breakfast may be more likely to snack and overeat on less nutritious foods throughout the day. So when you think about it like that, a good bowl of cereal or porridge isn’t so bad after all!
Myth: Fresh vegetables are more nutritious than frozen
The reality: It may be surprising, but fresh and frozen vegetables tend to have a similar nutritional value. If anything, frozen vegetables may sometimes have a slightly higher nutritional content because they are usually picked in the prime and snap-frozen shortly after harvest so they retain a lot of nutrients. Fresh vegetables are often harvested, then transported across a long distance and then sit on a shelf or in the fridge before they get to your plate.
Both fresh and frozen vegetables are a great option to include in your diet and often the choice may just depend on which type you prefer or find more convenient.
Myth: Single Food Diets
The reality: There are some diets that suggest that the body can’t process a combination of nutrients, for example if you eat protein and carbohydrates at the same time that the digestive system cannot process them all at once because they ‘clash’ and cause weight gain.
In reality, when a combination of foods are eaten it can actually help digestion, for example vitamin C (found in tomatoes, citrus fruits, potatoes) can help iron (found in red meat, beans and legumes) to be absorbed in the body. You’ll also find that many foods aren’t made up of just one single nutrient, but instead are made up of a range of nutrients. The body’s digestive system is also well set up, and has enzymes that are designed to help to break down foods and absorb different nutrients all at once.
Our bodies are well set up to manage a diet that is made up of a variety of nutritious foods from each of the five food groups. Excluding certain nutrients or entire food groups from your diet can mean that your body is missing out on the nutrition it needs, so avoid restricting your diet unless advised by your Doctor or Dietitian.
When you begin your weight loss program, make sure to separate fact from fiction – diet, exercise and keeping track of your calories are still the best ways to keep your energy up and weight down!