13 Food Myths You Shouldn't Believe

Forget everything you thought you knew about food.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

1. Eggs are bad for your heart. Eggs are known to contain a fair amount of cholesterol, which we all know, is bad for your heart. But it's not that simple: studies have shown that the cholesterol found in eggs won't impact the cholesterol found in your body. It's saturated fat, not dietary cholesterol, that's the real culprit in raising your cholesterol levels.

2. Trail mix is a healthy snack. While trail mix has healthy ingredients, think about what else is thrown in there: chocolate chips, M&M's, marshmallows, among other unhealthy treats. If you're going to indulge in trail mix, make it yourself or remove the less-than-good-for-you bits and pieces.

3. Fatty foods leads to a fatty body. There's different kinds of fats, and keeping some sort of fat as a part of your diet is essential to healthy eating. Sure, butter and french fries might be high in fat, but so are healthy edibles like almonds and avocados. In fact, the fats in your favorite green fruit are actually super healthy—and lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. It's knowing which fats to limit in your diet that's key.

4. Avoid carbohydrates. Like fats, it's important to know what kind of carbs to avoid. Carbs are in everything, from fresh fruits to frosted donuts. Just make sure you're eating more of the former and less of the latter.

5. Fat free is always better for you. When you give something up, in most cases, you have to supplement it with something else. And usually, what fat-free foods lack in fat, they make up for in sugar.

6. Meat is the only way to get "complete protein" in your diet. While meat is a complete protein, meaning that it contains a complete set of amino acids, essential to building healthy tissue in your body, it's not the only way to get it in your diet. Complete proteins are everywhere: in beans, veggies, fruits and grains, as well as in meat, so don't feel that being a carnivore is the only way to maintain a balanced diet.

7. Organic is healthier, always. The pro-organic and nay-sayers are split when it comes to eating organic food. While organic produce doesn't have more nutrients than others, it is exposed to less pesticides and other chemicals, so if you're really into clean eating, stick to organic. If you just want to eat a balanced diet, eating organic matters less.

8. Red wine is good for your heart. Don't worry, we're not debunking your favorite heart-healthy indulgence. But it's not just red wine that will boost heart health—it's all alcohol. The ethanol of alcohol bumps up your levels of good cholesterol, which protects you against buildup in your arteries. But don't use this as an excuse to binge drink—it's only healthy in moderation.

9. Granola is good for you. Just because granola is oats, nuts, and dried fruits sound super healthy on their own, doesn't mean the same effect translates when they are rolled up into one. Granola has a TON of sugar, so if you're looking for a healthy cereal choice, this isn't the one to choose.

10. Brown rice is better for you than white rice. There's a reason that white rice is a staple in the diets of known-to-be-healthy nations such as Japan. White rice may go through more processing than its darker-hued counterpart, but it's later enriched with the nutrients it is losing. Brown rice, on the other hand, has higher levels of arsenic and contains phytic acid, which makes it harder for the body to absorb things like iron.

11. Coffee is bad for you. No, we're not recommending drinking your body weight in caffeine every morning, but coffee actually has a fair amount of health benefits. The beverage contains a ton of antioxidants, which protect your body, as well as contributes to a decline in risk of developing type 2 diabetes, Parkinson's, and Alzheimer's.

12. Eating gluten free will help you shed pounds and stay healthy. Eating gluten free is the food craze that's sweeping the nation, but it's only necessary for health reasons if you have a gluten intolerance or sensitivity. Otherwise, you're just depriving yourself of something that could be bringing you a whole lot of joy.

13. Sugar is always bad for you. As with all ingredients, moderation is key. Experts say you should keep your sugar intake at 10 percent of your diet.


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Diana Pearl

I'm an Associate Editor at the Business of Fashion, where I edit and write stories about the fashion and beauty industries. Previously, I was the brand editor at Adweek, where I was the lead editor for Adweek's brand and retail coverage. Before my switch to business journalism, I was a writer/reporter at PEOPLE.com, where I wrote news posts, galleries and articles for PEOPLE magazine's website. My work has been published on TheAtlantic.com, ELLE.com, MarieClaire.com, PEOPLE.com, GoodHousekeeping.com and in Every Day with Rachael Ray. It has been syndicated by Cosmopolitan.com, TIME.com, TravelandLeisure.com and GoodHousekeeping.com, among other publications. Previously, I've worked at VOGUE.com, ELLE.com, and MarieClaire.com.