“I’ll have the coconut water with a side of kale chips, please.”
Have you noticed the shift of popular foods that has been sweeping through magazines, organic grocery stores, and devoted foodies? Of all the trendy foods that are on the shelves, I’ll admit that it’s hard to decide which one is worth the hype. I’ve compiled a list of myths and facts for the latest food trends to help you decide.
Myth: Coconut water is better than water during and after a workout
Fact: Coconut water has been glorified as nature’s sports drink because of the amount of electrolytes it contains. However, for most individuals consuming well-balanced meals throughout the day, water can hydrate them just as well as coconut water does. Also, coconut water contains high amounts of potassium, but after a long high intensity workout what your body really needs is sodium.
Myth: Drinking green tea will cause weight loss
Fact: Although green tea temporarily boosts metabolism slightly, it’s not enough to cause weight loss. Tea is still beneficial to the body in other ways with its ability to:
- reduce blood pressure
- lower cholesterol
- decrease risk of heart attack
- promote eye health by reducing risk of cataracts
Myth: Grains are bad for you because they contain gluten
Fact: Gluten is a protein found in the grains wheat, barley, rye and oats. Individuals with celiac disease will experience intestinal damage and discomfort when they consume gluten. However, for individuals without celiac disease, gluten is safe to eat and there’s no proven benefit of eating a gluten-free diet. Most grains are actually good for you, such as:
- brown rice
- wild rice
- whole grain pasta and bread
Remember to look for 100% whole grain products
Sustainable and Local Products
Myth: Eating sustainable and local is too difficult
Fact: Sustainable farming results in nutritious food that supports farmers and local businesses that will help the economy.
What does it mean to eat locally?
- Food is produced locally rather than nationally or internationally
- Food is grown close to your home and distributed in short distances.
What is sustainable food?
Raising food that is
- healthy for consumers and animals
- doesn’t harm the environment
- humane for workers
You can make easy changes by going to the Davis Farmer’s Market and purchasing products that are grown and made locally.
Myth: Chinese food is bad for you
Fact: Many people believe that Chinese food is nutritionally bad for you because of high levels of sodium and oil in the food. Although Chinese food is known for containing MSG, a salt added to enhance the flavor of food, you can ask for food without MSG! Also, ask for your food to be cooked with less oil to reduce the calories. There are many healthy options you can try, such as varieties of Asian vegetables and lean protein such as tofu, shrimp, and chicken. When you want to add Asian flavor to your dishes at home, try using ginger, garlic, green onion, or low sodium soy sauce, all of which add flavor without calories.
Alternate forms of protein
Myth: I need to eat meat to get enough protein in my diet
Fact: There are plenty of vegetarian or vegan sources of protein, such as nuts, grains, tofu, beans, eggs, and dairy products (low fat yogurt and milk)
It’s important to consume foods with amino acids that your body can’t make. These foods are considered “complete protein” sources. Combinations of vegetable foods creating complete proteins include:
- corn and beans
- brown rice and split peas
- avocado, sprouts & almond butter on whole wheat bread
Smaller portion sizes
Myth: The Freshmen 15 happens to everyone
Fact: Weight gain can be easily avoided by being aware of the portion size you’re eating inside the dining commons. Try to grab one plate at a time and enjoy the food while you’re eating it. Here are some other tips for controlling portion size:
- use smaller bowls, plates, and cups
- when you eat out only eat half or split the meal with a friend
What are the correct portion sizes?
- a teaspoon of margarine is the size of one dice
- three ounces of meat is the size of a deck of cards
- one cup of pasta is the size of a baseball
- an ounce and a half of cheese is the size of four stacked dice
- one-half cup of fresh fruit is the size of a tennis ball