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Food Fears and Myths Debunked by Registered Dietitian

I wanted to take a minute to debunk some common food fears. There are enough scary things in the world and food shouldn’t be one of them! I see headlines all the time perpetuating this. “The one thing you should not eat for breakfast.”“Why sugar is the enemy.”“Ten foods nutritionists would never eat.” My heart sinks a little more each time I hear this information being shared. I want to take a minute to clear up some of these myths.

My goal is to  bring insight into food fears that may be impacting the way you live and the foods you eat.

I picked the most common food fears I’ve heard about. These fears are discussed in in my nutrition counseling sessions or are food fears I’ve read about in the news.  My hope with this post to bring some clarity to the reality of how all foods are equal and the benefits of an all-foods approach to eating and living free from different fears!

1. Sugar:

Food is meant to be enjoyed and designed to taste good on our palate! Please keep this in mind. As health professionals, we desire for every individual to live life to the fullest. This means enjoying delicious foods with friends and family!  Without new foods, sweet foods, savory foods, or comfort foods, we would all just eat the same things over and over again. Personally, this would not be the most enjoyable way to live my life. Plus, nutrition is about variety! Sugar (glucose) not only provides the main source of fuel for our bodies ,but it makes food enjoyable and satisfying.

It’s enjoyable and satisfying BECAUSE it’s fuel for our bodies.

Sugar fuels our brain. It fuels nearly every activity we do every day. Without sugar, our bodies would be at risk.  This is not to say to only eat sugary foods, but understanding it is okay and encouraged to eat a yummy slice cheesecake, as well as pick up a donut on the way to work. These choices are okay to make,  and offer our body the energy it needs to function properly.

2. Bread:

I find bread to be one of the main targets of the diet industry to avoid. The question should not be, “What can I remove from my diet?”.  Instead, we should ask ourselves, “What can I eat to give my body the variety, enjoyment and satisfaction it needs today?”.  Please accept and enjoy all kinds of bread if it is something you enjoy! Enjoy Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Eat a piece of a crusty loaf dipped in olive oil. Sit down to a satisfying meal of  cornbread with chili.  You should be free to enjoy these delicious meals.

3. Pasta:

Pasta is such a heart- warming food!  Not to mention, it is simple to make, inexpensive and goes with almost anything! Pasta is another one of those carbohydrates that give our bodies energy. Plus, there is so much you can do with pasta 🙂 It’s the basis of many recipes and various flavors.

4. Cheese:

I find that cheese and dairy products, in general, tend to go in cycles in the media’s recommendation in whether to eat or to avoid. (Who trusted the media to give nutrition advice anyway?!) One month its at the top of everyone’s recommendation. The next month surrounded by warning signs that this is a food you should never eat. Cheese is such a versatile food. It adds fat for satiety. It is loaded with protein for cell and muscle growth and repair. Cheese also has calcium for bone health. It provides a strong, unique flavor and takes meals to another level making them more satisfying.

5. Red Meat:

This food may be one of the most controversial foods in the nutrition industry.  This food may be fighting the longest battle. However,  it is definitely not necessary to fear red meat. Red meat is a great source of protein, iron and B vitamins. There is no nutritional reason to remove it from the diet. There are so many different cuts of steak to try and ground beef recipes to add quite a bit of diversity into the weekly meals! It is a wonderful start to any meal and should be enjoyed as a part of a balanced intake like all of the foods stated above!

If some of these fears are your own, I hope you are empowered to add them into your diet regime .

I hope you feel  peace knowing these foods are nutritious and beneficial to a round, inclusive way of life . My goal for you is for you to enjoy some of life’s tastiest foods. To me, there is no one food you should cut out or any one food you need to eat more of. Rather experiment with and enjoy a variety of foods and see what works best for your lifestyle, your desires, and likes & dislikes.

We are here for you if you need help finding peace with food and if you are looking for new recipes to try or ways to make meal prep easier. For more information, or to make an appointment with a Registered Dietitian, please click here or call (240) 670-4675

Original blog written by Kait Fortunato Greenberg, CEDRD, RD, LD. Additional information by Kara Meyer, Student Intern. Edits by Alex Raymond, RD, LD, 

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