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Farmers Almanac
The 2014 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

Nutrition Myths Busted

Nutrition Myths Busted

When it comes to food, there are many myths that circulate generation after generation. It can be difficult separating fact from fiction. Find out which old wives’ tales are nothing more than legend.

Myth: Eating too much sugar causes diabetes.

Fact: Diabetes is caused by the body’s resistance to insulin, not from eating too many cookies and candies. Being overweight, not exercising, and eating a high-calorie diet are the primary contributors to the disease.

Myth: Eggs contribute to high cholesterol.

Fact: While egg yolks contain highly concentrated amounts of cholesterol, it is not enough to create a health risk if eaten in moderation.

Myth: Some foods can burn fat.

Fact: This myth relates to the idea of the “negative calorie effect,” which theorizes that the process of chewing and digesting certain foods such as lettuce, celery, and cucumbers actually burns more calories than the foods contain. While eating these low-calorie foods can help you lose weight, you actually only burn about 11 calories per hour from the activity of eating.

Myth: Decaffeinated coffee does not contain caffeine.

Fact: While decaf has considerably less caffeine than regular coffee, it actually does contain some caffeine. One study showed that five to ten cups of decaf could contain as much caffeine as one to two cups of regular coffee. Some brands of decaf contain much higher amounts of caffeine than others.

Myth: Margarine is healthier than butter.

Fact: Margarine contains trans fats, which are created by the hydrogenation process. Trans fats raise LDL (the “bad”) cholesterol and lower HDL (the “good”) cholesterol. In addition, margarine normally contains poor-quality, refined, artificially saturated vegetable oil and also may contain traces of toxic metals such as nickel and cadmium. Butter, on the other hand, is a natural food and is a good source of fat-soluble vitamins. It does contain saturated fat, which can increase LDL cholesterol, but eaten in moderation, butter is better.

Myth: Brown eggs are better than white eggs.

Fact: The only difference between brown and white eggs is the shell color. Hens with white feathers and ear lobes produce white eggs, while hens with red feathers and ear lobes lay brown eggs. White and brown eggs are equal in taste and nutritional value.

Myth: A pregnant woman needs to “eat for two.”

Fact:
Unfortunately, pregnancy is not a valid excuse to binge. A small increase in caloric intake is recommended for expectant mothers (an extra 300 calories per day during the second and third trimesters), but only constitutes one extra snack each day.

Myth: Skipping meals will help you lose weight.

Fact: When you miss a meal, your body goes into starvation mode and slows down your metabolism. Then, you tend to overeat at your next meal, taking in more calories than you would have eaten otherwise. Studies even indicate people who eat fewer times during the day tend to be heavier than those who eat four or five times each day.

If you notice a hole in the upper left-hand corner of your Farmers' Almanac, don't return it to the store! That hole isn't a defect; it's a part of history. Starting with the first edition of the Farmers' Almanac in 1818, readers used to nail holes into the corners to hang it up in their homes, barns, and outhouses (to provide both reading material and toilet paper). In 1910, the Almanac's publishers began pre-drilling holes in the corners to make it even easier for readers to keep all of that invaluable information (and paper) handy.