April 3, 2019

Five Nutrition Myths to Stop Believing

President's Blog
Margaret Hudson
President, Burnbrae Farms
4th Generation Farmer

Growing up surrounded by food and nutrition, I’ve seen many fad diets come and go. I’ve watched nutrition change over the years as science progresses, and I’ve seen how celebrities and social media content have muddied the waters. Sometimes it’s hard to know what to believe. So, I asked my dietitian colleagues for the five nutrition myths they wish people would stop believing, and here’s what they told me..

Myth: Brown eggs are healthier than white eggs.

It’s true that, when choosing rice or wheat, the whole grain ‘brown’ version is more nutritious than the white. But that logic refers to whole grains, and does not translate when choosing eggs!

Truth: It’s as simple as this: white-feathered chickens lay white eggs, while brown-feathered chickens lay brown eggs. There is no difference in the nutritional value. Both varieties of eggs contain vitamins, minerals and high-quality protein, all wrapped up in 70 calories. What can make some eggs more nutritious than others? Varying the feed. For example, hens fed flaxseeds will produce eggs with more omega-3 fat such as our Naturegg Omega Plus Eggs . Feeding marigolds to hens will result in eggs that are higher in lutein. And if the hen’s diet is high in vitamin D, the hen’s eggs will be too!

Myth: Fresh vegetables are always better than frozen.

That supermarket bounty of colourful broccoli and carrots is certainly beautiful, and it’s healthy. Vegetables are filled with fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. But in the time between the vegetables being picked, packed, shipped, purchased and eventually cooked, the vitamins can degrade. They are still super-healthy, but frozen vegetables may have an edge.

Truth: Frozen vegetables retain vitamins quite well, because they are picked and frozen within hours, which locks nutrients in. In some situations, frozen vegetables have MORE vitamins than their fresh counterparts.

Myth: Natural sweeteners are healthier than sugar.

From agave syrup to evaporated cane juice to coconut sugar, this sweet ingredient goes by many different names . Some people are turning to these “alternative” sugars that are being marketed as healthier because they contain trace minerals or have a lower glycemic index than sugar.

Truth: The dietitians told me if you bake cake using a cup of sugar, it really doesn’t matter what type you use if you eat the whole cake! When it comes to sugars, the quantity you consume matters more than the type. Some may have some trace minerals, but you’d have to eat cups of it to get any significant amount, which no one should do. Read more here .

Myth: Sea salt is healthier than table salt.

Sea salt and its shelf-mates such as Maldon, fleur de sel and pink salt have a much better reputation than table salt. They are touted to be healthier because they are “natural” or contain bits of minerals.

Truth: The tiny quantities of minerals in fancy salt contribute very little to the body, plus we already get enough of these nutrients from the foods we eat.  Both sea salt and table salt contain the same amount of sodium by weight, and that’s the nutrient of most concern. Consumed in excess (more than 2,300 mg/day), sodium may put you at higher risk for stroke, kidney disease and high blood pressure.

Myth: You need to detox.

Detoxes and cleanses are promoted as a way to clear toxins and pollutants from the body, which supposedly get there when we eat unhealthy food or inhale bad air.

Truth: There’s no need to cleanse with pills or juices because your body self-cleanses daily. We all have built-in detox systems: the skin, intestines, liver and kidneys effectively remove waste from your body through sweat, urine and feces. Read more here about why you don’t need to detox.

Are there any other nutrition facts you’re not sure about? Let me know and I will find the answers for a future post.

Margaret Hudson

President, Burnbrae Farms