Fattening food myths are rampant in our society. Having a family member or friend as a nutritionist does not make one immune to making bad food choices or holding on to silly ideas about food. In the past ten years there has been a rise in the general knowledge and interest in health and nutrition, usually in terms of weight loss.
With this rise of information, also comes confusion with conflicting information. From the latest diet guru to studies done by corporations (who want you to choose their food product) or just word of mouth. Needless to say, misinformation continues despite our vast resources of information.
People also have very personal relationships with food. Most have food fears and even strange food associations, all which affect their food choices. My friends and family, even though I am constantly annoying them with information or my latest food obsession, still have some very goofy ideas about food.
Here are some wacky fattening food myths I heard this week:
COTTAGE CHEESE– a friend of mine associated this dairy food with its synonym with “cottage cheese thighs”. She knows the two are not related nor does one lead to another, but she still has a strange anxiety about eating it. DON’T WORRY! Although there is no real relief for cellulite, cottage cheese certainly does not cause it. With 16 grams of protein per serving, and low in fat, it is a great choice for a quick snack.
STEAK AND EGGS ARE FATTENING. This credit goes to my mother. She used to drink vinegar in her teens to keep her weight down and is from the era of high carb, low meat mentality. She still avoids eggs and red meat like the plague. Lean red meats provide a low fat, high protein, b-vitamin, iron rich juicy meal that should be enjoyed at all costs. Eggs are my all time favorite complete protein food; I eat them everyday- mostly egg whites with 1-2 yolks.
I cook a great steak with salad for dinner in my NYC apartment:
CEREAL WILL MAKE ME FAT-my best friend blurted this out to me. She explained that for one week she had cereal for breakfast and noticed her pants were a bit tight. I told her that if she is eating a high fiber, low sugar cereal, there is no reason why she should gain weight, quite the contrary. High fiber cereals are in my weight loss arsenal of sweeping your system clean. The tight pants feeling was probably bloat from the fiber (which subsides in a few hours) not weight gain.
FRUIT FOR BREAKFAST-“you would be so proud of me”, a coworker told me today. “I had fruit for breakfast” First of all, after 8 hours of overnight fasting, the first thing that you put in your mouth should not be something sugary unless it is accompanied by low fat or protein.
Plus you will be starved after two hours of the fruit breakfast. Boost your metabolism and keep hunger at bay with that lovely fruit with cereal or cottage cheese.
MILK IS BAD FOR YOU-“My high school health teacher told me that after childhood no one should drink milk” WHAT!? I got this piece of information by a fellow nutritionist. Low fat milk products are an excellent source of protein and calcium. Studies show that low fat dairy has been shown to aid in weight loss.
My advice is to start over again, put aside bad advice, wives tales and outdated sources. Change your emotional relationship with food and lower your anxiety with food fears. My advice is to use common sense, if it sounds strange, it is. Relax and enjoy your food!
-Fiorella DiCarlo RD, RDN, CDN