Busting nutrition-related myths

by Khushboo on October 30, 2014

The Internet is double-edged sword space.  I love that it gives everyone a voice- whether that is in the form of blogging, updating Facebook statuses, tweeting, or utilizing any other kind of social media outlet.  Unfortunately that’s also Internet’s drawback.  With a click of a button, misinformation is easily spread and over time, it starts to become hardwired in our brains regardless of its lack of accuracy.  Many times, these myths are started by unqualified individuals who cannot back their claims with any source of study or research.  While I’d love to bust these nutrition-related myths every time I hear one, sometimes it’s more appropriate to politely nod & smile.  There’s a time & place…and that time is now.  Here are 4 ludicrous “tips” I’ve heard in the past month: 

  • Dairy is the best source of calcium:  Any mention of eliminating dairy from one’s diet tends to raise the question Where will you get your calcium from?- trust me, I KNOW!  While 1 cup of milk racks in about 300mg of calcium, our body can only absorb 30-35% of that due to the bioavailability of calcium in dairy products i.e. the amount of calcium that’s actually available for absorption into the body from the food.  Various studies reveal that the calcium in green leafy vegetables like kale & Swiss chard are actually better absorbed than milk.  Other great non-dairy sources of calcium include almonds, tahini, broccoli, fortified non-dairy milk & soybeans.   


  •  It’s healthiest to cook in unrefined olive oil:  Full of monounsaturated fatty acids that are known to improve cholesterol levels, there’s no doubt that unrefined extra virgin olive oil is a heart-healthy oil.  However due to EVOO’s smoke point (i.e. the temperature at which the oil starts to degrade & produce smoke), it’s better used as salad dressings, lightly sautéing & drizzling.  I personally prefer cooking with rice bran oil or coconut oil, both of which are more heat-stable.  

Omelet with potatoes & mushrooms

  • Organic foods are more nutritious than conventional varieties: The term ‘organic’ refers more to how a food is produced rather than its nutrient content.   Produce labeled as ‘organic’ means that herbicides & pesticides have not been added whereas ‘organic’ meat, dairy & eggs are free from antibiotics & growth hormones.  While eating organic varieties of foods can reduce the risk of consuming pesticide/herbiscide residue and other harmful chemicals, a Stanford Study revealed that there is a lack of strong evidence that organic foods are have a significant nutritional edge over conventional foods (Source).  When the option’s available, I personally prefer to buy organic varieties of meat, eggs & produce from the dirty dozen list i.e. produce with the highest pesticide residue.  These include apples, celery, peaches, strawberries, blueberries, nectarines, bell peppers, spinach, cherries, kale, potatoes & grapes. 
  • Bananas are high in sugar:  Let’s take a look at the numbers- A medium apple contains 19g of sugar whereas a medium banana contains 14g of sugar…shocker eh?  While bananas may contain more total carbohydrates than apples, they also rack in plenty of fiber & various other nutrients including potassium manganese & B vitamins.  If you’re really concerned about a banana’s effect on your blood sugar levels, pair it with some healthy fat (e.g. natural nut butter) or protein (plain Greek yogurt or an egg) to prevent rapid spikes & dips.

Banana & Fritatta Muffins

Whoosh- I feel better already getting that off my chest ;) !

What’s the most ludicrous health- or nutrition-related ‘tip’ you’ve heard recently?


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