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Myth Busters

Fruits after a meal cannot be digested properly

Our digestive system is ready to digest a variety of food at the same meal, and that includes our salad, main dish and fruit! Actually, having a piece of fruit after a meal has many benefits; first it acts as a sweet treat for people with a sweet tooth, so rather than having dessert, eating a piece of fruit is a more nutritious option that’s also lower in calories! Second, if you are having an iron-rich vegetarian dish like spinach stew, mloukhieh or lentils, having a vitamin C-rich fruit such as orange, melon or strawberries directly after your meal will help in the absorption of iron from the dish, making it easier for you to meet your needs of this important nutrient that helps prevent iron-deficiency anemia.

In case you feel really full after your meal, then keep your fruits as a delicious and healthy afternoon snack. It’s really up to you as long as you have 2-3 servings every day.

Eating a lot of sugar causes diabetes

It’s easy to link excess sugar intake to developing type 2 diabetes, but having too much sweets is not a direct cause. Being overweight or obese, leading a sedentary lifestyle and having a family history of diabetes are the main causes for developing type 2 diabetes. So in case you have it in your family, you may want to be more careful with your diet and lifestyle.

Honey is better than white sugar

Comparing teaspoon to teaspoon, it has the same amount of simple sugars and calories! The main difference is the degree of sweetness; honey is sweeter than white sugar so you may need a smaller amount to sweeten your coffee or warm drink.

Honey may also be known for its content of antioxidants and some vitamins, which are available in small amounts and will not contribute significantly to your vitamin and mineral needs. As honey contains simple sugars, it should be consumed in small amounts in our diet. Instead to get your vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, you need to rely on fruits and vegetables.

Frozen vegetables have less vitamins than fresh vegetables

Frozen vegetables can have the same or sometimes more vitamins than fresh vegetables, so in other words, they don’t lose their vitamins! How? Frozen vegetables are frozen at their freshest, which helps maintain and preserve their vitamins and minerals. On the other hand, fresh vegetables spend more time in transport and on shelf in grocery stores, which exposes them to light and air, all of which leads to vitamin and mineral loss. Conclusion: fresh vegetables are best consumed as soon as possible after harvesting, if you have limited availability for fresh vegetables, frozen vegetables are your best option.

Drinking coffee in pregnancy is not safe

Put your mind to rest; you can still enjoy your morning cuppa! Recent research supports moderate consumption of caffeine-containing drinks in pregnant women and that’s equivalent to 2 cups of coffee per day. In case you were used to drinking more coffee before your pregnancy, do not exceed 2 cups per day, and if you want more, opt for decaffeinated coffee. For more inquiries and concerns, it is always advisable to consult your doctor.

Having breakfast in the morning increases hunger during the day

Having breakfast actually helps wake up your body and kick-start your metabolism! Feeling hungry early on in the day depends on the type of breakfast you had. If your breakfast includes a good source of fiber such as whole-grain cereals or whole-wheat bread, then you’ll probably feel fuller for longer. Keep in mind though that it’s normal to feel hungry after 3 to 4 hours from having breakfast and here comes the importance of having a healthy snack to sustain you till lunch time.

On the other hand, if you skip breakfast, your body will feel hungry without you knowing it, and by midmorning, you’ll tend to reach for anything near, which will probably be an unhealthy snack. And if you make it till lunch time, you’ll probably over-eat and have a larger portion than you should.

The best solution is having a healthy breakfast that helps you feel satiated, such as a glass of low fat milk with whole-grain cereals and a piece of fruit or a glass of low fat milk with a whole-grain cheese sandwich and vegetables.

Eating sweets is not allowed when following a weight loss diet!

Yes you can treat yourself to your favorite dessert and indulge in moderation, as long as it’s a small portion and you account for it in your meal plan.

Remember that ignoring your craving for desserts may lead to feelings of deprivation which will make you crave more sweets and over-eat, which means more calories, fats and sugars!

So eat your sweets in moderation; you can have that small piece of chocolate once in a while. Or better yet look for low fat options of desserts, such as a light sponge cake or low fat yogurt ice-cream or sorbet… and enjoy it!

Grapefruit is a miracle food for Heart Health

Some studies have suggested that the red variety of grapefruit helps lower blood cholesterol level, but it’s not a miracle food, and consumed alone is not sufficient to lower cholesterol or protect against heart disease. In fact all colored fruits, which also include citrus fruits, are rich in antioxidants, phytonutrients and fiber, all of which help protect against heart disease.

On another note, if you eat grapefruit and you are taking cholesterol-lowering medication, it’s very important to check with your doctor about the grapefruit’s effect on your drug. Grapefruit may interact with certain medications and can cause levels of medicine to rise in the body and lead to serious side effects.

Coffee with milk makes it lose all its calcium!

It’s a popular misconception! Although the amount of calcium in urine increases slightly after drinking coffee, the net effect on calcium levels in the body is negligible. This is because calcium excretion from the body decreases later during the day. Recent evidence has shown that drinking coffee in moderation has no negative effect on bone health! And of course, strong healthy bones are a result of adequate calcium and vitamin D intake as well as regular weight- bearing exercise.

Come to think of it, if preparing your coffee with milk will encourage you to drink your glass of milk, then it actually helps you meet your calcium needs for healthier bones.

Taking vitamin/mineral tablets are a good replacement for food!

As the name indicates, supplements are meant to be a supplement to your diet rather than a replacement for the food. Remember that absorption of vitamins and minerals in your body is higher from foods as compared to tablets. Actually if your diet is balanced and varied, i.e contains adequate amounts of foods from all the food groups (grains, vegetables, fruits, dairy, meat and legumes) then you may not need supplements at all. This is excluding any special cases of deficiency or medical indications such as in pregnancy, breastfeeding or certain disease conditions.