Nearly every day of my life, someone says something ridiculous to me regarding nutrition. Sometimes I just laugh to myself and walk away. Just kidding, I don’t have that ability! I wish…
The misinformation in the field of nutrition is appalling. The “ridiculous” part of it is not that they are misinformed (it happens), but that they declare with certainty facts that are absolutely not true. To me, that’s like someone telling me the moon is made of cheddar cheese (I mean, we all know it’s mozzarella).
Here is a medley of the greatest hits as of late
#1: “Kale has absolutely no nutritional value; it’s just filler.”
[Rolls eyes.] My husband brought this little gem home for me after a fun-filled Army Reserve drill. Apparently Private Young Girl was one of the chow line servers. My dear husband was choosing to have a decent-sized pile of salad (yay!) with his dinner, during which time Private Young Girl declared the aforementioned quote. Husband tried to do her a favor by passing on some knowledge regarding the fact that kale is actually quite high in nutrition; he was unsuccessful in changing her sweet, ill-informed mind. Here are some fun facts about kale:
- Kale might just be one of the richest sources of vitamins/minerals of the food world.
- Kale is a good source of calcium like spinach, only the calcium in kale is better absorbed.
- Kale is a great source of fiber.
- Kale is rich in vitamins A, E, and K.
- 1 cup of kale = about 3 grams of protein.
- Read more fun stuff about kale here and here.
#2: “Margarine is one molecule away from plastic.”
Ugh. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard this statement in the past 10 years, I could retire RIGHT NOW. Anyone with the most primitive, basic, elementary understanding of the fundamentals of chemistry would hear this statement and think, “wait…what?” While I do not promote the consumption of margarine in any way/shape/form, explaining the rationale for avoidance as the declaration noted above is ridiculous.
- Everything is one molecule away from something entirely different.
- Water and hydrogen peroxide are ONE MOLECULE different; yet we don’t drink or cook or bathe in hydrogen peroxide.
- We are surrounded by carbon dioxide because we produce it during respiration. However, a high volume of carbon monoxide in our home could be life-threatening.
- Keep avoiding margarine, but do it for some better science-based reasons.
#3: “I put half and half in my coffee for the calcium and because it’s got fewer carbs than milk.” [Proceeds to tell me she eats a 6” Philly cheesesteak w/French Fries for lunch AND dinner…]
So many things are wrong with this scenario. What’s even scarier about it is that literally someone said this to me very, very recently (and she was stone-cold serious).
- Half and half is mostly fat, and is NOT a rich source of calcium. While a little fat isn’t too big a deal, and necessary to have at most/all meals and snacks, if you’re choosing half and half solely to “get calcium,” that is not a good reason to add it to your coffee.
- When we get too caught up in the details of nutrition, we often fail to see the forest for the trees. In other words, you will miss some of the things that are affecting you big time because you’re stuck on a little detail here or there.
- The hoagie bun on which a Philly cheesesteak is served is quite high in carbohydrates, as is a pile of French fries. The fact that she was not even remotely concerned about the massive amount of refined carbohydrates in her lunch/dinner, yet won’t put milk in her coffee…well, it speaks for itself.
- Try to look at the big picture with nutrition. It will take you further than counting anything…
#4: “Rice is a vegetable.”
Seriously, I hear this one at least weekly. Who started spreading this rumor? If it was you, STOP IT.
- Simply put, rice is a grain.
- Brown rice is a 100% whole grain (better for you than white rice).
- White rice is called “enriched” because after so much nutrition is taken out of it during refinement, there isn’t anything nutritious about it. The manufacturers have to add a few vitamins/minerals back into it, hence they “enrich” it. Whenever you see “enriched,” think “UNriched.”
- Rice would be considered a “starch” at your meal. Try to choose brown rice, and limit your portion to no more than 1/4 of your plate (~1/3 to 1/2 cup).
#5: “I’m doing _______________ because I saw it on Dr. Oz.”
If I ran a private practice, I just might yell “GET OUT” to anyone who came in spouting off this one. Dr. Oz might have started out with intentions of good health when he embarked upon a TV series. However, he has (in my opinion) sold his soul for cash-money. I honestly don’t have it in me to say much more on the matter, except for don’t get your medical advice from someone who peddles the flavor-of-the-week supplement or from any TV show, for that matter. Blah.
#6: “I only drink [zero/one/two glasses] of water each day because I’m never really thirsty.”
- If that’s true, then your thirst mechanism is broken.
- Additionally, it also probably means your body is chronically dehydrated.
- If you’re drinking sugary beverages or caffeinated beverages instead of water, you’re creating far more problems with your health than you even know.
- Read more here.
To be continued…