Nutrition Rumor-Busting

Myth vs.. Fact

Just for kicks, I thought I’d spice things up a bit with a little myth versus fact enlightenment today.  I hope you enjoy!

Myth:  Bananas are constipating and/or “fattening.”

Facts:

  • Bananas, among many foods, are rich in fiber; and, of particular interest, pectin and inulin specifically. Pectin and inulin are both considered viscous fibers, which not only “bulk” stool in the presence of diarrhea, but they also soften stool in the presence of constipation.
  • However, as with anything, fiber cannot work independently. In the absence of adequate hydration and/or adequate exercise, additional sources of fiber from a balanced diet, etc., one could experience increased constipation even with the addition of fiber.  Typically, an increase in daily intake of dietary fiber via whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and plant-based proteins along with adequate hydration and exercise can lead to a much healthier GI tract.
  • Bananas are not and cannot be “fattening” independent of other factors. In other words, if you are eating an overall healthy diet within the confines of your body’s energy needs, and especially if you are physically active, you will not gain weight from said banana.  If you are sedentary and eating a banana (or two) on top of already exceeding your energy needs, then you may gain weight.  However, it is not the banana’s fault; rather it is simply the fact that you consumed more energy than your body exerted.

banana1

Myth:  Nothing that comes from the center of the grocery store, i.e. boxed or canned food, is good for you at all.

Facts:

  • Although I will sheepishly admit I used to teach this concept in my early years as an RDN, the concept of avoiding the center aisles is highly misleading. There are PLENTY of healthy choices amidst the [inappropriately] blacklisted part of the supermarket.
  • In the center aisles, some healthy choices could include (but are not limited to):
    • Dried beans, either in the bag (cheapest) or canned
    • Canned vegetables of any kind (stop freaking about the salt if you are actually willing to eat vegetables!)
    • Fruit canned in its own juice
    • Unsweetened applesauce
    • 100% whole grain products
      • Bread, pasta, crackers, brown rice, quinoa, barley, etc.
    • Dried herbs and spices
  • We all know the “junk food” exists among all these “healthy” foods; so arm yourself with knowledge and you can choose some really, really healthy foods from the dreaded center of the store. The INGREDIENTS list (not the numbers, but actually what is in your food) should become your best friend if you desire success with healthy shopping.

banana2

Myth:  Eating healthy always costs way more [than eating poorly].

Facts:

  • While this can be true in some instances depending on your perspective, I tend to vehemently disagree with this one with sound reason.
  • One huge example of where we [could] spend a large amount of money would be on good quality meat. I bought a relatively puny three-ish-lb prime chuck roast the other day that cost about fifteen dollars.  FIFTEEN DOLLARS!  I normally wouldn’t splurge, but it just sounded really good.  But the fact is, if you are on a really tight budget, you don’t have to buy or eat meat to be healthy and obtain adequate protein.
  • Some more bang-for-your-buck non-meat sources of protein can include things like:
    • Canned sardines, salmon, tuna, or mackerel
    • Dried beans or peas
    • Canned beans or peas
    • Eggs
    • Nuts or seeds
    • Natural peanut butter (only ingredients = peanuts & salt)
    • Natural any-nut-butter (only ingredients = that nut & salt)
    • Tempeh (if you’re into that sort of thing)
  • Now the first argument I usually here is something like “Yeah but a container of peanuts is like seven bucks! That’s not cheap!”  And my typical response tends to point out that although that jar of peanuts costs seven dollars, you are likely getting at least seven servings.  Therefore, we’ll call peanuts a dollar per serving.  Compare the cost of the peanuts (only one example of course) to the cost of a pound of grass-fed hamburger @ seven dollars (what I recently paid for what I’d call “the good kind”).  Ideally, that pound of hamburger I bought should serve four and that would be just under two dollars a serving.  Although the peanuts and hamburger in this example seem to cost the same amount of money, you would get more servings from the jar of peanuts.
  • Keep in mind that my example isn’t exact market price for these consumables, so please don’t send me hate mail dissecting my shortcomings on the pricing. The point is that if you come to me with budget as a barrier to healthy eating, I can and will find numerous ways to help you eat healthier without spending a fortune.  Although I am an omnivore myself, one of the best ways to save a GOB of money on food is to focus on a meatless style of eating.

I suppose that’s enough for today…stay tuned for future editions of myth versus fact…

xoxo – Casey

One thought on “Nutrition Rumor-Busting

  1. […] Disclaimer:  if you’ve ever gotten constipated or bloated from eating peanuts, it is highly likely you a) ate way too many or b) aren’t drinking enough water or c) (less likely than the first two) have a food sensitivity.  Peanuts do not typically independently cause constipation. […]

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