Check your nutrition IQ: 10 common assumptions

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— Eggs are unhealthy and raise cholesterol.
False. Nope. Eggs are nutritional powerhouses and healthy for most people. They contain cholesterol but do not raise serum cholesterol. Somehow this got confused a long time ago, and it stuck, despite decades of research to the contrary.

Fruit is a “free,” healthy food and you can’t gain weight eating a lot of it.
False. Fruits have sugar. Low glycemic/high-fiber fruits such as berries can be eaten more freely. High glycemic/low-fiber fruits such as bananas should be eaten more cautiously, together with healthy fat and protein to slow down blood sugar uptake.

The healthiest oil in the kitchen is Olive Oil.
Yes . Olive oil is wonderful to use cold, for dressing, dipping, etc.,. Save your olive oil for the table.

Fish is healthier than red meat.
Depends where it comes from. Farm-raised fish no longer has the health benefits fish are known for. Much wild-caught fish is contaminated with toxins. So if you buy meat that is grass-fed, it is usually healthier than farmed fish, including its fats.

The way to lose weight is to reduce calories and exercise more.

False. Nope, our bodies are more complex chemistry lab than a simple bank ledger. Research shows that calories from different kinds of foods are metabolized differently. The way to lose weight is to eat real food, including healthy fats, and reduce sugars, processed foods and refined carbohydrates. Losing fat and gaining muscle is 80 percent nutrition. You can’t exercise your way out of bad nutrition.

There is no benefit to eliminating gluten unless you have celiac disease.
False. I used to tell people this, but more recent research shows that gluten causes inflammation in everyone. It’s just worse for those with a gluten sensitivity or with celiac disease. And by the way, gluten sensitivity has finally been recognized as a separate medical diagnosis.

Aches and pains are an inevitable part of growing older.
False. As I often say: common but not normal. Regardless of your current state or diagnosis, it is usually possible to reverse this with nutrition.

A low-fat diet is the healthiest for your heart and waistline.
False. In fact, research shows that eating healthy fats is one of the best strategies to improve heart health and lower cholesterol. Because fats help with satiety, they also help you eat less.

If you lose pounds, you are improving your health.
Depends on what you lose. If you are losing fat, yes indeed. But you never want to lose muscle, bone or hydration, so one number doesn’t tell the whole story.

Artificial sweeteners help you lose weight.
False. Alas, they don’t even help you maintain your weight. Studies show they increase the amount people eat, especially of carbohydrates.

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By Fran Sussman
For the Times Herald-Record

Fran Sussman has been a holistic practitioner in Orange County since 1993, combining nutritional counseling, kinesiology and homeopathy to address a wide range of issues for clients of all ages.

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