Food fact vs. fiction Part 2

I bet you know EVERYTHING about food nutrition and science!  If so, congratulations because there is SO MUCH information out there and the funny thing is (and I bet you think it’s funny too), so much of it is false!  We’re not entirely sure why some myths continue to be perpetuated, but the ability to spread information (new, outdated, out there…) via internet and social media and very pretty infographics probably has something to do with it.

Well, we like to say that science is continually being challenged and updated as new research pours in and the best we can do is arm ourselves with the most up to date information, and then make choices that our bodies best respond to. And that means really listening to what your body is telling you, but that’s another blog.

Are you ready to see if you know your food facts versus food fiction?  Without further ado, Cara Roth steps in for round 2.  Here we go! (Did you miss part one? click here!)

Food fact vs food fiction – debunking food myths part 2

by Cara Roth

#4. Eating Eggs and Fat Raises your Cholesterol


Cholesterol is one of those things that has gotten a seriously bad rap. Cholesterol is ESSENTIAL to our lives and the production of many key hormones, including our sex hormones. It’s also an integral part of our cell walls, making them fluid and able to function properly (i.e. give us energy and preform our moment-to-moment functions like breathing).

Cholesterol does not cause heart disease, nor is it an indicator of heart disease. I realize that this may be the exact opposite of what you’ve heard before but let me give you an example.

Imagine that you know nothing of fires and firefighters but you want to learn more. In order to investigate you keep an eye out for reports of fires in your city and go to the scene to check it out. You go to the first fire, and firefighters are present. Curious. A few nights later, another fire. Again, there’s firefighters. A third and fourth fire, and again, the firefighters are there. Now using your skills of deduction you come to the conclusion that the firefighters caused the fires.

Cholesterol is present with heart disease but it plays a protective roll in the body.

The Good News about Fat

A diet for optimal health *includes* healthy fats. This actually protects you from heart disease and high cholesterol. If you have high cholesterol, it is usually due to a high intake of refined sugar, unhealthy fat* and other foods that constantly spike your blood sugar. The amazing news is that you can, and should, enjoy things like organic butter, coconut oil, organic eggs, meat from healthy animals, avocados, nuts & seeds.

#5. Five small meals a day is best for weight loss

small meals

We’ve all heard this one before but research is now moving toward weight loss being more effective when you eat 2-3 bigger meals during the day. Obviously weight loss is a lot more complicated than this one piece (and it’s a lot more than calories in vs. Calories out too) but this is an easy switch to make. Constant snacking can not only drive up how much you eat in a day, but it never allows your system to rest. When our stomachs are empty, digestive molecules clean up our circulatory system and our energy is used to repair tissues (a constant process). After a meal, a staggering 60-70% of your blood flow is directed to the digestive tract. Imagine if you had even 50% more blood flow to your brain while working or your muscles while doing a work out. Transitioning to 3 larger meals per day can increase your energy, help with weight loss, clear skin and increase concentration and memory.

The Good News about your meals

Wouldn’t it be nice to not have to eat every few hours? To worry about packing or buying snacks for the whole day? It is important to transition to eating less frequently as you feel fit. The first adjustment is adding more food into your main meals, making them large enough to get you through the next 4-5 hours. If you eat a meal and are hungry within 1-2 hours, increase the amount of protein and healthy fat until you are satisfied for at least 3 hours. Small snacks can be okay, but don’t overdo them. A few almonds, berries, or a protein shake are good ideas. There is one catch, if you have blood sugar imbalances (diabetes, hyper/hypoglycemia, or if you feel light headed, dizzy, irritable, or get a headache if you’re late to eat) you should consult with a nutritionist to first address this before you start eating less frequently.

#6. Olive oil is the best fat to cook with

olive oil

Yes, the Mediterranean diet has many great points and it is rich in healthy olive oil. That being said, olive oil is not healthy to cook with. On a molecular level olive oil can be damaged quite easily by heat making it a potent free radial. Ingesting this causes inflammation and can damage your arteries predisposing you to heart disease. Any type of nut or seed oil like flax or hemp should never be heated. This turns it toxic to your body.

The Good News about Olive Oil

Enjoy cold pressed olive oil in salad dressing and poured over food after it’s been cooked. I still use olive oil a lot, mostly in salads and over steamed or baked veggies. Always look for olive oil that has an acidity of less than 1 ( <1) and if it doesn’t have the acidity on the label, choose a different brand that does. The two best fats to cook with are organic butter, ghee and coconut oil. Another fat that’s okay to cook with, but not the best is grapeseed oil. Healthy fat should be a significant part of your diet, not just a tea spoon or two a day.

Now it’s your turn. Which of these had you never heard of before? What other cooking myths do you know?

To your health,
Cara Roth

“Learn how to cook–try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun!”

~ Julia Child, My Life in France

Registered Holistic Nutritionist (RHN)
BSc Cell Biology
Certified Pastry & Raw Food Chef
Certified Sports Nutritionist

*Please note that I consider healthy fats to be the following: coconut oil, organic butter, ghee, animal fat/meat from healthy animals, organic eggs, olive oil (unheated only), MCT oil, flax & hemp oils (unheated only). Healthy animals are those raised without the use of hormones or antibiotics, are fed their natural diet (not corn) and are treated well.

Fats you should avoid at all costs are: margarine, hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils, soybean oil, canola oil, other vegetable oils, trans fats, refined palm oil.

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