Myth #1: Carbohydrates are bad for you.
All carbohydrates aren’t alike. Easily digested carbohydrates, such as those from white bread and white rice, if eaten often and in large quantities, may add to weight gain. But carbohydrates are also found in fruits, vegetables, beans, and dairy products; and these deliver essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Carbohydrates also give your body energy and help keep organs functioning properly.
A system called the glycemic index measures how fast and how far blood sugar rises after you eat a food with carbohydrates. White rice, for example, is almost immediately converted to blood sugar (glucose), causing it to rise rapidly, and so has a high glycemic index. Whole grain bread is digested more slowly, making blood sugar climb more slowly and not as high. It has a low glycemic index. Whenever possible, select carbohydrates that are whole grain, such as whole grain bread, whole wheat pasta, and old fashioned oats.
Myth #2. Vegetables mainly add fiber to your diet.
Vegetables are excellent sources of fiber and they supply vitamins and minerals, with very few calories. Orange vegetables like carrots, and dark leafy greens, such as spinach and collards, are good sources of vitamin A, an important nutrient to keep your eyesight keen, your skin healthy, and your immune system strong. Broccoli, pepper, and tomatoes are full of vitamin C, which promotes healing and keeps keep ligaments, tendons, and gums healthy. And beans and lentils supply potassium, which enables the body to convert blood sugar into glycogen, a stored form of energy that’s held in reserve by the muscles and liver.
Myth #3: To get calcium in your diet, you have to consume dairy products.
Milk, yogurt, and cheese are rich in calcium, which is important for building and protecting bones, but they’re not the only sources of this mineral. Today, many foods are fortified with calcium, including orange juice, soy milk, breads, and cereals. Other nondairy sources of calcium are canned salmon and sardines with bones, collard greens, broccoli, and almonds. If you find it difficult to get enough calcium from your diet, you can also take calcium supplements.
Myth #4: Meat, chicken, and fish are the best sources of protein.
Foods with protein help your body build muscle and tissue, and provide vitamins and minerals. Animal sources—meat, poultry, fish, and dairy products–have what’s called complete protein, that is, they contain all the amino acids needed to build new proteins. Proteins from fruits, vegetables, grains, and nuts are called incomplete proteins—they’re missing one or more amino acids. But animal sources of protein have their drawbacks: red meat and poultry skin are high in fat, especially saturated fat (a healthy diet should have less than 10% of calories from saturated fat). If you eat meat, stick to lean cuts, chicken with the skin removed, and fish. If you want to try vegetable sources of protein, try beans, nuts, and whole grains.
How to Eat Less – No Myth