Food Myths Debunked

Food myths originated over time from a number of old wives’ tales and some smidges of wishful thinking. They seem to stick around because they are so familiar to us. However, it’s always good to brush up on this information and find out if it’s true or false.

Certain foods can burn fat.

WRONG! Although that would be an awesome addition to someone’s diet, this is just a myth. According to the “negative-calorie effect”, the act of chewing and digesting certain foods burns up more calories than the food itself. Cucumbers, celery, and grapefruit are notorious components to this myth. Although these foods are good to eat, they are not fat burners. Chewing sometimes feels as if it is a workout, and it is! It actually burns 11 calories per hour. This is great news for all sugar-free gum chewers out there!

It is better to eat six mini meals than three normal meals.

SO FALSE! As long as you’re picking healthy options, either style of eating can work. If you can’t have six mini meals a day, do yourself a favor and try not to go longer than four or five hours without eating. Doing so may make your blood sugar drop which can lead to overeating unhealthy foods. This can create the ever dreaded “blah” feeling you feel after eating high fat and high calorie foods. A simple solution would be to pack small, healthy snacks such as string cheese, a pear, non-fat yogurt or vegetables.

Fat free is calorie free.

INCORRECT! Some people indulge in extra-large servings of fat-free foods such as cookies, cakes and crackers without realizing that these foods may contain the same amount or even more calories than regular versions. Get the facts on fat-free foods by checking food labels for the serving size and number of calories per serving. To make such foods taste better, extra sugar, flour or starch thickeners are usually added. These ingredients are high in calories and may lead to weight gain.

Bananas are fattening.

FALSE! One medium banana has only about 105 calories—you’d have to eat at least six bananas to equal one slice of New York-style pizza! Bananas are a good sources of fiber, magnesium and potassium, all of which can help manage blood pressure. They’re also a good source of vitamin B6, which helps boost your immune system. What’s more, they’re portion-controlled, portable and don’t require refrigeration. Enjoy them sliced into cereal, mixed with non-fat yogurt or cottage cheese, or frozen for a yummy dessert. However, don’t assume that “banana chips” are as nutritious as the actual fruit. Banana chips contain added fat, sugar and calories. So, when looking for daily snacks throughout the pantry, remember these food facts and myths, and make informed decisions to achieve a healthy diet.


–Maria Londino

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