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It seems like everywhere we turn, we’re inundated with advice about what we should and shouldn’t eat. From warnings about the popular foods you should never eat to the “healthy” foods nutritionists never eat, there’s always another item or category to add to the list of dietary no-nos.
While trying to navigate the controversial subject of what’s healthy and nutritious versus what to avoid at all costs, we come across so many food myths. Some have been debunked, but others remain a mystery among even the most informed. To get answers on the subject, Body and Soul tapped nutritionist Chloe McLeod to weigh in once and for all on some of the most circulated food myths. Here are the four we think you should readdress today.
“Coffee is bad for you.” While it would take a lot more than a bad report for us to ever give up coffee, we generally hold the belief that it isn’t really the best for us. So many diets require cutting coffee as one of its first tenants, yet McLeod notes that the research begs to differ. Coffee consumed in moderation can actually have health benefits. It’s when drunk in excess or muddled with excess milk, sugar, and syrups that its benefits are outweighed.
“Diet soft drinks are better than regular.” Sure, diet alternatives to regular soft drinks cut the excess sugar and calories, but what they offer in lieu of these negatives can be just as harmful. Diet soft drinks are full of artificial sweeteners that are not only associated with overeating (your body gets confused and overcompensates when it experiences sweetness without any calories to back it up) but have also even been associated with cancer. So what should you be drinking instead? If you really want to be healthy, cut out soft drinks entirely. If you crave that carbonation, go for straight soda water or sparkling water, and add fresh fruit slices if you want that extra kick of flavor.
“Yogurt gives you excess sugar.” While generally considered healthy and a great way to get an extra boost of probiotics, yogurts can be hit or miss when it comes to your health. Flavored yogurts, for example, can be incredibly high in sugar content if you’re not careful about which brands and types you’re choosing. If you want to reap all the benefits of yogurt minus the bad, consume only plain, unsweetened, natural or Greek yogurts. There is still some sugar content, but it’s minimal by comparison. Add your own flavor and sweetness by way of fruit, cinnamon, or a bit of honey.
“Milk is bad for you.” The dairy debate is a constant one, and everyone seems to take a side. McLeod notes that dairy milk can be a rich source of calcium, protein, B12, and other vitamins and nutrients. The problem is that many don’t tolerate dairy well, and that is where we see negative effects. Almond milk can be a healthy alternative, especially if fortified with calcium.