Top 8 Food Myths You've Been Told

You need milk for strong bones. Bread is bad. Don’t eat sugar. With all this “helpful guidance” it’s hard to decipher what’s fact and what’s fiction. It’s up to you to debunk those ever present pieces of advice to make sure you’re living your healthiest you. Here’s eight popular food misconceptions and why you should be careful before following them.

  1. 1. If It’s Got Protein, It’s Good For You

    Protein is an important part of your diet. However, many forms of protein are often not as healthy as advertised. For example, a box of fudge brownie protein bars with 20 grams of protein sounds great right? Wrong. As nice as it would be to be able to eat a brownie flavored meal, that 20 grams of protein most often comes with a scary level of calories and sugar that make the protein not worth it. So instead of reaching for the shiny, tempting package of a protein bar, hunt down some lean meats or spinach for your protein fix. 

  2. 2. Sugar Free Is Better

    Artificial sugars are often used in the place of natural sugars because they have virtually no calories and can aid in weight loss. However, artificial sugars are the sweetest form of sweetener and can leave your taste palette unbalanced. So, when you go to eat an apple you used to find very sweet, it may taste bland. In addition, sugar alcohols can often leave you with some pretty nast side effects such as bloating and diarrhea. All in all, all forms of sugar should be consumed in moderation (unless it’s finals week, then we advise you consume every type of sugar possible).

  3. 3. You Need Meat To Make It A Meal

    Bacon. Butter. Burger. Three words that used to leave me in a food day dream for days. Living in Wisconsin has exposed us all to the countless ways to enjoy burgers, steak, wings, you name it. So what’s the harm? Why shouldn’t we gorge ourselves on this delicious source of protein? Unfortunately, according to the National Institute of Health red meat does raise your risk for diabetes, cardiovascular disease and certain cancers. There’s no saying we can’t enjoy a famous Nitty Gritty Burger after an iconic Badger win, but meat doesn’t need to be the star of every meal (spicy tempe bowl anyone?).

  4. 4. Drink Milk For Strong Bones

    As kids, most of us have been told if we drink our milk we’ll grow up to be “big and strong.” What we should really be told is, if we drink our milk we’ll receive a good amount of vitamins and calcium, but it’s not the only option. About 65 percent of the human population is lactose intolerant, so we don’t all have to sit and have a glass of milk to receive proper nutrients. Collared greens (cabbage or broccoli) contain more calcium than a glass of milk. Some other options are seed, salmon or dairy-free milk. So if milk isn’t your thing, which might not be the case in the Dairy State, you’ve got choices. 

  5. 5. Brussel Sprouts are Gross

    I will concede, if you shove a piece of raw brussel sprouts in your mouth, you’re probably not going to enjoy it. However, the amount of delicious brussel sprouts recipes on the rise is too many to count. You may remember being told by your parents or grandparents that brussel sprouts are gross but that’s because they didn’t grow up eating sauteed brussel sprouts with bacon and apples. Not to mention roasted brussel sprouts, cheesy brussel sprouts or brussel sprouts salad. Basically, there’s no excuse for not liking brussel sprouts as there are infinite ways to cook them to your liking. 

  6. 6. Fruit is Always Fruit

    This may seem redundant, but hear me out. A strawberry is definitely a strawberry, but a strawberry smoothie? Not always strawberries. Acai bowls, juices and smoothies are all the hype lately, but they’re not always what they are chalked up to be. For example, many health clubs or coffee shops most likely use a fruit juice or fruit puree that’s more sugar than it is fruit. Next time, before indulging on your aesthetically pleasing bowl ask your barista what you’re really eating. 

  7. 7. Starches Are Fattening

    The starch we’re most familiar with is potatoes, and they unfortunately have a bad reputation for making your jeans fit a little bit tighter. However, potatoes alone with many other starches actually are a great source of energy and keep you fuller, longer without consuming as many calories. Starchy foods aren’t your enemy, it’s what you put in them. Loading sour cream, cheese and bacon onto  your baked potato will gain you some lb’s, so try substituting salt and pepper or everything bagel seasoning for an equally delicious snack. 

  8. 8. Cut Out Sweets If You Want To Lose Weight

    The biggest misconception with dieting and eating in general, is that in order to have a rockin’ body you can’t go near anything with sugar. It’s true that if you have a slice of cake everyday, you’re probably not going to lose weight or lead a healthy lifestyle, but with proper exercise and a balance of nutrients there’s no saying you can’t treat yourself every now and then. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, eat everything in moderation! Instead of a whole cake, have a slice one day and stick the rest in the freezer for the next time you’ve earned it. In addition, there are a multitude of ways to satisfy your sweet tooth craving without all of the calories. Craving chocolate ice cream? Put a little cacao powder and banana in your morning smoothie for a chocolatey start to your day. 

Whether you’re trying to shave off a few pounds, bulk up or overall striving to live a healthier life, it’s important to know what’s accurate and what’s the latest trend. While it would be nice to have a magic pill or diet to achieve optimal health, the only thing we can really do is eat efficiently, intelligently and you guessed it, in moderation!