We love dispelling rumors, especially when it comes to food and nutrition. We’re cutting through the “noise” to give you the truth about the multitude of myths floating around in the media and likely at your gym or juice bar. Leaving no rock unturned, we’re tackling everything from should you wash that already washed bagged lettuce to is that cup of java in the morning setting you up for serious dehydration?
Read on to learn more and then do your part! Become a nutrition myth “buster” too by sharing this post and spreading the truth!
Myth 1: You need to wash pre-washed greens
The Truth: You certainly don’t and shouldn’t. In fact, if you buy spinach, kale, or other salad greens that are labeled pre-washed, triple washed, or ready-to-eat, you’re actually better off NOT rinsing them, according to a scientific consensus. The reason: Your greens are susceptible to cross contamination when you rinse them off in your kitchen sink. Kitchen sinks are notoriously known as breeding grounds for harmful bacteria that can make you sick, so save that water for washing dishes.
Myth 2: Frozen food is not a healthy option
The Truth: Frozen fruit and vegetables are picked at the peak of ripeness and flash frozen to be distributed. When purchasing plain frozen fruit or vegetables (without added sugar or sauces), these are healthy options that can be incorporated into your meals, no matter the season. Tessa Nguyen, RD, LDN
Myth 3: If your leftovers don’t smell, they’re safe to eat
The Truth: This sniff test doesn’t work here. According to food safety experts, the bacteria that can cause illness might be odorless and tasteless (so taking a bite might not be so smart), and they might not impact the appearance, either. Your best and safest bet is to toss any leftovers (smell or not) after 3-4 days.
Myth 4: Sea salt is better for you than regular salt
The Truth: Sea salt has about the same sodium content as regular salt. The main difference is in the taste and texture; there is no nutritional difference. If a food package says, “made with sea salt” it does not mean its low or lower in sodium. Moreover, you might be missing out on iodine, a critical nutrient for pregnant and breastfeeding women, unless you buy iodized sea salt. Rachelle LaCroix Mallik, MA, RD, LDN
Myth 5: You should take a multivitamin-just for insurance
The Truth: The best protection against chronic diseases is to eat a plant-forward diet—rich in fruits and veggies and other whole foods like legumes, whole grains, and nuts and seeds. Selecting a variety of these types of foods will help ensure that you’re meeting your nutrient needs without the added insurance. While some people, like pregnant women, do need to supplement their diets, with a little planning, most of us can do just fine on real food—which has the added benefit of being delicious and filling! And studies on multivitamins haven’t shown the payoff you’re after. Looking at large populations, studies have shown that multivitamin use did not reduce the risk for heart disease, cancer, memory problems, or early death.
Myth 6: Coffee is dehydrating
The Truth: The high water content of coffee outweighs its mild diuretic effect. There are thousands of compounds in coffee that may protect our health. Coffee intake is correlated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, stroke, depression, death, and Alzheimer’s disease. How much? For most people, three 8 oz. cups of coffee should be no problem, though it all depends on one’s sensitivity to caffeine, current habits, body weight, physical condition, and overall anxiety level. Bottom line: If you drink coffee on a regular basis, your daily coffee habit won’t lead to dehydration. But it’s best to limit caffeine to moderate levels to steer clear of jitters and interruptions to sleep.” And it shouldn’t replace water. Jennifer McDaniel, MS, RDN, CSSD, LD
Myth 7: To build muscle, you need to eat more protein
The Truth: The fact is that consuming enough carbohydrates is one of the single most important criteria to fuel the workouts required to build muscle mass. Carbs are also necessary to replete muscle glycogen stores that your body then utilizes for energy during your next strength training workout. Protein intake is certainly important, but intake that exceeds your needs will either be used for energy or stored as fat – not magically turned into muscle mass. Lisa Cimperman, MS, RDN, LD
Share your nutrition questions with us in the comment section! Be sure to download the Luvo App ‘Checkit‘ to help you make better (and quick) decisions in the grocery store (available only in the US)