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Health Food Myths Vs. Reality

health food myths vs realityFor many elderly adults and their caregivers, the new year is a great time to make the resolution to eat a healthier diet. However, eating healthy food and making positive changes to your diet are big challenges that can actually be made harder by all of the myths and rumors circulating about healthy foods. Here are just a few of the health food myths you may have heard and the truth about these statements. When you know the facts about what makes food truly healthy, it will be easier to stay on track with your own healthy eating goals.

Myth: Diet soda is better for you because it has 0 calories.

Reality: While it is true that diet soda is lower in calories than regular soda, it still can’t exactly be considered a “health food.” Diet soda gets its great taste from artificial sweeteners which can still leave the brain craving more sweets.

Myth: Dark chocolate and red wine are good for you, so you should have them often.

Reality: It is certainly true that dark chocolate and red wine both have some great health benefits including preventing heart disease and lowering cholesterol. However, they should be consumed in moderation. Red wine should be limited to one glass a day. Dark chocolate should be 70% cacao or higher and should be limited to 1.6 ounces a day.

Myth: Food labeled “all natural” is better for you.

Reality: Even food that is labeled “all natural” can be high in sugar, fats, and calories. When something is labeled “all natural,” it can mean that it doesn’t contain artificial colors or flavors, which is a good thing, but it is important to check the label to see what ingredients it does have.

Myth: High-fructose corn syrup is worse for you than regular sugar.

Reality: The truth is that all added sugars should be avoided in a healthy diet, no matter where they come from. High-fructose corn syrup and regular sugar both affect the body in the same ways and they contain just about the same amount of calories. Don’t be fooled by food products that are labeled “No HFCS,” and opt for foods that contain no added sugars or sweeteners.

Myth: Carbohydrates are bad for you and will make you gain weight.

Reality: Carbohydrates are necessary, but it is true that eating large portions of simple carbohydrates like white bread and pasta can lead to weight gain. To maintain a healthy diet, opt for whole grains and whole fruits as carbohydrate sources instead of foods such as chips, crackers, and white bread.

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