More myths and facts about nutrition 

Published 11:41 am Tuesday, August 9, 2022

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Last week, I explained that one of the main issues within the field of nutrition isn’t that there are not enough details and particulars. Some of the nutrition information out there is just plain false. Today, I’d like to share more from my list of food myths and facts


Myth: Sweet potatoes and white potatoes are related. Fact: The sweet potato is actually a member of the same family as morning glories. White potatoes, meanwhile, are in the nightshade family along with tomatoes, eggplant, and chile peppers. 

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Myth: You can overcook mushrooms. Fact: While it’s true you could possibly burn or scorch mushrooms, their structural integrity will remain intact no matter how long they are cooked. That’s because chitin, a large molecular structure contained within the cell walls of mushrooms, can withstand higher amounts of heat unlike other polymers present in certain foods. 


Myth: Eating once a day is a good way to lose weight. Fact: Intermittent fasting or eating all of your calories in one meal each day may result in temporary weight loss, but the weight almost always comes back. That’s because when you go long periods without eating, your body doesn’t know you are choosing not to eat, it just thinks food is unavailable. This causes the body to go into starvation mode, where it magnifies every calorie. 


Myth: Fat-free salad dressings are better for you. Fact: So many folks choose fat-free dressings in an attempt to cut back on fat intake, thinking it’s most healthful. Au Contraire…dietary fat is necessary for the absorption of several valuable nutrients, including those found in many salad-type dishes, like beta-carotene, lycopene, and vitamin K. Even for those who don’t often indulge in salads, dietary fat is crucial for the utilization of all sources of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. 


Myth: Coconut oil is good for you. Fact: Coconut oil is an edible oil derived from the wick, meat, and milk of the coconut palm fruit. However, there is very little (if any) scientific evidence that coconut oil provides healthful benefits. One of the main issues is that coconut oil is 90% saturated fat, compared to butter (64% saturated fat), beef fat (40%), or even lard (also 40%). Saturated fats tend to raise low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels in the blood. LDL is the “bad” cholesterol, and high blood levels can increase the risk for coronary disease and stroke. 


Myth: Multi-grain is always healthful. Fact: It’s true that grains are certainly preferable to refined white flour since they contain more nutrients such as fiber and B vitamins, but one shouldn’t fall into the “multi-grain trap.” Just because a food product has “muti-grain” on its label doesn’t mean that those grains haven’t too been processed and stripped of many of their nutrients. It simply means that the particular food product was made from more than one type of grain. 


Myth: Fruit Loops cereal has different flavors: Fact: Speaking of multi-grains, you’d think that those multicolored loops would have varying flavors that match their colors, but not so. Fruit Loops used to consist of 3 colors…yellow, orange, and red, representing the flavors lemon, orange, and cherry. Today, among the colors displayed are orange, red, blue, green, purple, and yellow. However, not only are the flavors the same, but each cereal tidbit in your bowl tastes the same. They all have the same “fruit” flavors. By the way, that also goes for Fruity Pebbles and Trix cereals. 


Myth: French fries were invented in France. Fact: There’s good evidence tracing them back to the country’s northeast neighbor, Belgium. It is believed that villagers along the river Meuse resorted to frying potatoes when the river froze, and they couldn’t fry fish. By the way, they’re not called French fries in France either, but rather “frites” or “Pommes frites”. 


Myth: Farm-raised salmon is pink. Fact: Farm raised salmon is generally gray. Wild salmon is naturally pink, due to its diet which includes astaxanthin, a reddish compound found in krill and shrimp. Farm-raised salmon has pink color added.   


David Crocker is a nutritionist and master personal trainer. Questions? Email David at or text to 864-494-6215.