Did you catch it? Readers Digest recently published an article I found particularly revealing because in the past, I have followed the advice attached to these ‘myths’. Below I outline 3 of my favorites from the article source and realized we all need a ‘myth update’! These are 3 food myths that just wont die!
MYTH 1: Eggs are bad for you
Wrong. This is the #1food myth of all. The largest cardiac study of all time, the famous Framingham Heart Study, which first revealed that high blood cholesterol causes heart attacks ALSO found there was NO-NO-NO connection between eating eggs and cardiovascular disease.
Why? The dietary cholesterol found in eggs actually has little effect on your cholesterol numbers. Eating cheeseburgers, doughnuts, and other saturated fat food items are the culprits – they are loaded with TRANS and SATURATED FATS which is the real problem. Eggs contain very little saturated fat – 1.5 grams/large egg – and absolutely no Tran’s fat. When you deprive yourself of an egg, it means you deprive yourself of 13 natural vitamins and minerals – not to mention an excellent, affordable breakfast option. I also discovered in my search that only 25% of cholesterol in your blood comes from food! The remaining 75% is manufactured by your liver.
MYTH 2: Red Meat Causes Heart Attacks
Oh boy. This is a new twist on an old myth. A new 2010 Harvard School of Public Safety divided red meat safety into two groups: processed vs. unprocessed red meat. This is the first meta-analysis of worldwide evidence on eating unprocessed red meat relates to risk of CV diseases and diabetes.
The HSPH study found out that processed meats: bacon, sausage, deli meats was associated with a 42% increased risk of heart disease, 19% increased risk of type 2 diabetes. Conversely, the researchers did not find any higher risk of heart disease or diabetes with those eating unprocessed red meat: beef, pork, or lamb. Study quotes:
“Although most dietary guidelines recommend reducing meat consumption, prior individual studies have shown mixed results for relationships between meat consumption and cardiovascular diseases and diabetes,” said Renata Micha, a research fellow in the department of epidemiology at HSPH and lead author of the study. “Most prior studies also did not separately consider the health effects of eating unprocessed red versus processed meats.” “When we looked at average nutrients in unprocessed red and processed meats eaten in the United States, we found that they contained similar average amounts of saturated fat and cholesterol. In contrast, processed meats contained, on average, 4 times more sodium and 50% more nitrate preservatives.” “This suggests that differences in salt and preservatives, rather than fats, might explain the higher risk of heart disease and diabetes seen with processed meats, but not with unprocessed red meats.”
Source: HSPH Study at Harvard
Meat and other animal products are the only dietary sources of Vitamin B12, critically important for healthy nervous systems and making red blood cells. New guidelines state that we can go ahead and include red meat back into our eating plans BUT opt for the leanest cuts. Makes good sense.
MYTH 3: Chocolate – Dark Only, Eaten Alone, Moderately
Dark Chocolate and chocolate, and their benefits are the source of many myths. Since we are looking for the health benefits, here are the guidelines for healthy Dark Chocolate.
~ Dark chocolate, which should be at least 60 percent cocoa by weight, is one of the richest sources of the bioflavonoid antioxidants that counteract cell damage.
~ Milk chocolate, which contains a much lower percentage of cocoa, confers less than half of the benefits of dark chocolate.
~ White chocolate has no health benefits because it lacks cocoa.
Dr. David Katz, director of the Prevention Research Center at Yale University, said part of the reason why so many people love chocolate is because eating it stimulates the brain’s pleasure centers. The xanthine compounds in chocolate — a group of chemicals that includes caffeine — aid that reaction. “It’s absolutely magic food,” Katz said. “Because it’s so good, it almost feels a little naughty.”
There has been compelling evidence that eating dark chocolate has positive cardiovascular effects. Studies have found that chocolate can lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of blood clots and improve blood flow through veins and arteries in humans.
Dark chocolate — but not eaten with milk says Mauro Serafini, PhD, Italy’s National Institute for Food and Nutrition Research in Rome. The report appears in the Aug. 28 issue of Nature. Antioxidants gobble up free radicals, destructive molecules that are implicated in heart disease and other ailments.
“Our findings indicate that milk may interfere with the absorption of antioxidants from chocolate … and may therefore negate the potential health benefits that can be derived from eating moderate amounts of dark chocolate.”
Serafini’s team signed up seven healthy women and five healthy men aged 25-35. On different days they each ate 100 grams of dark chocolate by itself, 100 grams of dark chocolate with a small glass of whole milk, or 200 grams of milk chocolate.
An hour later, those who ate dark chocolate alone had the most total antioxidants in their blood. And they had higher levels of epicatechin, a particularly healthy compound found in chocolate. The milk chocolate eaters had the lowest epicatechin levels of all.
REMEMBER! Balance the calories. A 100-gram serving of Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate Bar has 531 calories, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. If you ate that much raw apple you’d only take in 52 calories. But then, you’d miss out on the delicious blood pressure benefit.
HINT: Don’t replace healthy foods with chocolate. Most people’s diets have plenty of sweets. Switch those for some chocolate if you’re going to try the truffle treatment.
Thanks for reading. Barbara