Carob, a raw diet, and washing chicken: More food myths and facts

Published 11:39 am Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Most everyone wants to eat well because that is the primary way to stave off disease, get stronger, and increase energy levels. However, sometimes the nutritional decisions we make are founded on practices and rules that simply aren’t accurate or true. In part 3 of this series, let’s take a look at more food myths and facts. 


Myth: Carob is more healthful than chocolate. Fact: Carob is often marketed as a healthy alternative to chocolate. Carob is produced from the pod of the carob tree. It is naturally sweet and is usually sold as a powder, chip, bar, or syrup. Chocolate is made from fermented roasted and ground cocoa seed kernels. Carob does contain some dietary fiber, B vitamins, and antioxidants, with no caffeine or theobromine (a compound found in chocolate that actually provides healthful benefits). However, processed carob usually comes with added sugar and fat, so unless you’re eating pure carob, there aren’t many health advantages to choosing carob over chocolate. 

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Myth: White chocolate is a type of chocolate. Fact: White chocolate is not actually chocolate-and it doesn’t really taste like it. White chocolate is made from cocoa butter mixed with sugar, and vanilla is added for flavoring. 


Myth: A raw diet is best for nutrient uptake. Fact: Raw diets do provide some health benefits such as fewer calories and high fiber. However, this strategy can be nutritionally inadequate, and restrictive, as not all foods are best eaten raw. Properly cooking some foods actually increases their nutrient bioavailability. That’s just a fancy phrase for the ease with which the body can extract and use nutrients. Cooked tomatoes, for example, yield almost twice the amount of the cancer-fighting phytonutrient lycopene as fresh tomatoes. Steaming broccoli increases its healthful compounds, glucosinolates, and steamed green beans have greater cholesterol-lowering benefits than raw green beans.   


Myth: To lose weight you must give up your favorite foods. Fact: You don’t have to surrender your favorites to lose body fat. As many of you know, football season is upon us, and I love it. However, it’s difficult for me to enjoy a football game whilst munching on broccoli florets. The truth is that you can still indulge in small amounts of your favorite high-calorie foods. Just be ready to get back to clean eating and working out. 


Myth: Eating fat makes you fat. Fact: While it’s true that fat grams contain more calories (9 calories per gram) than protein or carbohydrates (4 calories per gram), that’s not the whole story. Healthful dietary fats, such as those found in nuts, olive oil, salmon, and avocados, are still an essential component of our diets. Also, consuming fats help keep you satiated by slowing the digestion process, so you stay fuller longer and eat less. 


Myth: You should wash chicken before cooking. Fact: It may seem like common sense to wash off your chicken before cooking, but this could do more harm than good. The minute water is introduced, pathogens are given the ability to migrate from the chicken to other places, which could contaminate your kitchen. Also, water alone does not kill bacteria. Cooking to proper temperatures kills bacteria. By the way, the same goes for fish. 


Myth: Carbohydrates are bad for you. Fact: You can’t live without carbohydrates. They are the body’s main source of fuel. There are three types of carbohydrates: monosaccharides (honey or cane sugar), disaccharides (beetroot or carrots), and polysaccharides (corn, rice, or potatoes). In the body, carbohydrates are converted into glycogen. Glycogen is to you what starch is to a potato…it’s animal sugar, and it fuels your skeletal muscles, brain, kidneys, heart muscles, and central nervous system. I do recommend consuming more polysaccharides, as these won’t tend to drive up blood sugar levels like monosaccharides, which can lead to type 2 diabetes. 


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