10 Health-Food Facts You Always Thought Were True (But Aren't)

Wasn't it mom who used to say, "Don't believe everything you read?" Alas, she was right. We're setting the record straight on common health-food misconceptions, once and for all.

Tan, Khaki, Beige, Natural material, Artifact, Junk food, Paper, Paper product, Still life photography,
(Image credit: Archives)

1. Fresh is always better than frozen.
Freshly shelled peas have more vitamins than frozen ones, right? Not exactly. "Fresh" produce often travels far distances and sits on grocery shelves. Also, heat, air, and water can cause it to lose nutrients along the way.

2. Sea salt has less sodium.
There are several varieties of salt available, but one isn't better for you than the other. Pretty packaging and terms like "natural" can be deceptive. Gram for gram, sea salt contains as much sodium as table salt. However, because of its larger crystals, you may be inclined to use less of it.

3. Red wine is good for you.
Doctors agree one glass of vino a day can be chock-full of health benefits, but there's a key word in that sentence: "one." Once you drink more than one serving, you may actually counteract the health benefits.

4. Brown sugar is healthier than white sugar.
Brown sugar is simply white sugar that has had molasses reintroduced to it. Because of its molasses content, it does contain minerals, but only in small amounts so the health difference is miniscule.

5. 100 percent fruit juice is best for you.
100 percent fruit juice counts as a serving of produce, but ideally, you should opt for whole fruit over a glass of juice. A glass of juice has more calories than a piece of fruit and lacks fill-you-up fiber. On the other hand, a whole piece of fruit provides vitamins and fiber and tends to curb your intake of other food.

6. Organic food is healthier.
Organic foods are guaranteed to be grown without synthetic flavors, colors, sweeteners, most preservatives, and toxic or long-lasting pesticides and fertilizers, and they have not been genetically modified. Are they better for the environment? Yes. Are they more nutritious? Not necessarily. The USDA makes no claims that organic foods are healthier than non-organic foods.

7. It's OK to have a sports drink after you exercise.
Unless you're exercising intensely for more than an hour or in extreme heat, plain old water is sufficient to quench your thirst and replenish any fluids lost. After your typical 30-minute speed walk or treadmill jog, consuming a sports drink is just added calories!

8. Dark bread is always better than white.
If a loaf of bread is darker, it doesn't necessarily mean it's made with whole grains—it could simply contain caramel coloring or a little extra whole wheat and be no healthier than white bread. Look for the words "whole grain" or "100 percent whole wheat" on the package, and make sure the first ingredient listed is: whole wheat, oats, whole rye, whole-grain corn, barley, quinoa, buckwheat, or brown rice.

9. Brown eggs are more nutritious than white ones.
The only thing the color of an eggshell indicates is the color of the feathers of the bird it came from. White hens lay white eggs, and red hens lay brown eggs. Since brown eggs often cost a bit more than white eggs, you can now save your money without sacrificing nutrition.

10. If the label says "all natural", the product must be healthy.
Unless the label is on meat or poultry (indicating no artificial flavorings, colorings, or irradiation), the term "natural" holds no meaning—it's unregulated and undefined.

Follow Marie Claire on Instagram for the latest celeb news, pretty pics, funny stuff, and an insider POV.