A harmless myth

1.  Ounce for ounce, oranges have the highest values of Vitamin C.  Green peppers have 3 times the amount of Vitamin C.  Red, yellow and orange peppers have more Vitamin C than do green peppers, a boon for people who have trouble digesting the acids in oranges.

2.  Chewing celery burns more calories than the vegetable contains.  Celery, cucumbers and iceberg lettuce contain few calories because of their high water content.  Chewing these vegetables burns an insignificant number of calories.

3.  Yogurt isn’t as nutritious as milk.  Yogurt is made from milk that’s fermented with “probiotic” bacteria.  Then it’s thickened with whole milk solids, which give it more calcium and B vitamins than milk.  (Be sure to check the nutrition label to be sure it’s fortified with Vitamin D.  If not, take your Vitamin D supplement with the yogurt.)

4.  The whey (watery separation) in yogurt and cottage cheese should be discarded.  The whey contains some water-soluble minerals and Vitamin B, so it’s worth stirring it back into the product.

5.  It’s OK to dump the last of the milk at the bottom of the cereal bowl.  Cereals are one of the best sources of Vitamin B, which is water-soluble.  Significant amounts of the vitamin may have leached out into the liquid.  Pick up the bowl and slurp down all the milk!

6.  Non-fat salad dressings, milk and other foods are good choices.  Only if you’re ordered by your doctor to use non-fats.  Calcium is a fat soluble mineral, and Vitamins A, C, E and K are also fat soluble, meaning that if you don’t ingest some fat with the meal, you might as well rub the food in your hair for all the fat soluble minerals and vitamins you’re assimilating.  Try low fat instead.  And smaller portions all around.

7.  Sweet potatoes have more calories in them than do white potatoes.  They both have 110 calories per 4-ounce serving—unless you load up the sweet potatoes with marshmallows and sugar.  Sweet potatoes and yams aren’t even potatoes.  They grow on vines and are in the squash family.  And unlike white potatoes, they’re bursting with beta carotene, Vitamin C and folate.

8.  Honey and brown sugar are more nutritious than table sugar.  Sugar is sugar.  No form is significantly more nutritious than others.  Brown sugar is white sugar with a little molasses added, and the additional nutrients in honey are insignificant.

9.  Shrimp is loaded with cholesterol.  This myth was perpetuated for decades until someone investigated and found that scientists had mistaken a relatively neutral fat for cholesterol and included it in the total cholesterol count.  Cooked shrimp have 170 mg of cholesterol per 3 ounces, within the 200 mg daily limit set by the American Heart Association for persons with heart disease or coronary risk factors.  It’s well within the 500 mg limit established for people without risk factors.  Shrimp are low in saturated fat, which affects blood cholesterol most.

10.  Trimming all visible fat from meats and poultry eliminates most cholesterol.  All parts of meats and poultry, lean as well as fat, contain about 20-30 mg of cholesterol per ounce.  It’s still important to trim off fat, though, because it’s highly saturated.

Source:  University of California, Berkeley Food and Nutrition Issue, Summer 2012.  And other sources


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