Big, bigger and biggest myths about healthy eating

Bethany Hooper

Image from proteenqueen.com

Image from proteenqueen.com

To maintain a healthy diet, there are many misconceptions about what foods are safe to eat and what foods are not, but scientists and nutritionists found that many of these myths are incorrect.

Status quo myths about foods, such as carbohydrates and sugar, continuously circulate. What men and women do not realize is these foods are essential in moderation.

Limiting sugar consumption is hard for people to do, especially after dinner.

Avoiding late night snacks is a popular belief among individuals. However, indulging before bed could have little impact on students’ health, according to Coordinator of Nutrition Services Jane Jakubczak.

“A lot of students feel guilty if they eat after dinner,” Jakubczak said. “Gaining weight is truer for older people, but not for college students who go to bed [later]. Plan on a snack at around 10 or 11. If you have it planned, it is easier to control the amount.”

Another myth that people mistake as true is it is healthier to avoid carbohydrates.

“[You should] definitely [stay away from] carbs and sugars and a lot of greasy things like pizza,” sophomore business finance major Joseph Dizonsaid.  “I think so because you definitely feel worse after eating those meals.”

Jakubczak, on the other hand, said that carbohydrates are our body’s main source of energy.

“A lot of people assume cutting carbs will help lose weight,” Jakubczak said. “The truth is too many calories gain body fat. [Carbohydrates] are the types of food we tend to overeat. It is a big mistake because…people end up binging on carbs and gaining weight.”

To maintain a healthy diet, consumers should practice healthy habits, such as a balanced meal and an active lifestyle.

“You probably [shouldn’t] eat too many fatty things, but they are my favorite,” sophomore environmental science and Spanish major Shulamit Shroder said. “Everything in moderation…bread is amazing but don’t eat just bread.”

The same principles apply to foods, such as sugars.

Added sugars are not necessary to a balanced diet, according to the Choose My Plate website.

These sugars are called empty calories, meaning that there is hardly any nutritional value to them, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.

“A myth is all sugars are bad,” Jakubczak said. “Things like fructose are okay…[because] our body breaks down all our food to sugar and uses it at energy…People are cutting out healthy foods that are okay.”

Overall, students are cutting out key nutrients from their diet because they believe these myths about what they are eating, Jakubczak said.

“College life is…probably the most challenging environment to make healthy choices,” Jakubczak said. “[Students] don’t think about eating until they are starving. Then it is almost impossible to make a healthy choice. Making what they put into their body should be more of a priority.”

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