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Nutrition Myths and Facts

Spinach is a good source of iron

FALSE
There are two types of iron in the foods we eat; haem iron, which is found in animal foods, and non-haem iron, which is found in plants. The body absorbs haem iron better than non-haem. While spinach does contain some iron, (100 gram of spinach has 1.14 mg of iron)), it also contains a substance that binds to iron; meaning it’s not taken up by the body as well as the iron in red meat and other animal foods. It’s important to include a variety of both plant and animal foods to get the iron you need. Vitamin C can also help the body absorb more non-haem iron from foods. 

Green leafy vegetables are a good source of calcium

FALSE
Green leafy vegetables absorb minerals from the soil, so they can contain small amounts of calcium, although this is much less than dairy products. For example100 g of spinach has 73 mg of calcium and 100 g of milk has 120 mg of calcium. You can see you would have to eat higher amounts of green leafy vegetables to get your daily calcium needs. So, while green leafy vegetables are important for folate, fibre, iron, Vitamin C, riboflavin and antioxidants, make sure you eat other foods like milk and milk products for calcium.
Eggs are bad for you

FALSE
For years people have thought that eggs are bad because they contain cholesterol. Even though the cholesterol found in foods can contribute to blood cholesterol levels, it’s actually the saturated fat in food that has a bigger impact. 
Eggs can be included in your diet and provide high quality protein and many vitamins and minerals. You can go for boiled eggs or egg white alone (removing the yolk part) for keeping cholesterol levels in limits. 

Meat takes days to digest

FALSE
So, you’ve eaten a big steak of chicken and you feel like you will be full forever. Contrary to the myth, it won’t take you days to digest. In fact, most people digest meat within 3-5 hours of eating it. Your digestive system is very efficient. It breaks down food into nutrients the body can absorb – and the nutrients from meat, like protein and fat are no different. Lean meat is predominantly a protein food. Our bodies use protein for building and repair of body tissues, so try to include at least one serve of meat, fish, poultry or an alternative such as legumes (lentils, baked beans, chickpeas) in your daily diet.

Brown sugar is better for you than white sugar

FALSE
The only difference between brown and white sugar is that brown sugar contains molasses, which has a caramel aroma and flavor, while white sugar has been refined to remove the molasses. Both of these sugars provide the same amount of energy (kilojoules), so the truth is that your body can’t really tell the difference.

Rock salt is better for you than ordinary salt

FALSE
There’s is no difference between the two types of salt except their name and that they can have a different crystal size. Both have the same effect in your body. Too much salt can affect your heart health, so it is best to be used sparingly. Most people already eat more than the recommended amount of salt each day. Most of the salt that we eat comes from manufactured foods like bread and snacks, so there’s no need to add any extra.


Skipping meals is a good way to lose weight

FALSE
It may seem logical that skipping a meal will help you lose weight because you eat less, but it’s not that simple. Missing out on meals can actually have the opposite effect. Your body goes into ‘survival mode’, slowing down your metabolism and conserving energy rather than using it up. Skipping meals can also make you hungrier, and more likely to snack on high fat or sugar foods. A better way to reach and maintain a healthy weight is eat small meals regularly throughout the day and find ways to be more active.

Sugar makes kids hyperactive

FALSE
Does your child come home from birthday parties bouncing off the walls? Do you think it’s all the sugar in the party food? It’s actually not the party food. The reason they’re hyped-up is more likely due to all of the excitement and activity at the party rather than the sugar in the party food. Studies have shown no direct link between consumption of sugary foods and increased hyperactivity in children.