When it comes to food and nutrition, you’ve likely been eating up a lot of less-than-true diet information. There are way too many food myths floating out there!
To learn the truth, we got Dr Naras Lapsys, a clinical dietician with more than 14 years of experience to host an AMA session on food and nutrition.
Here's what we found out.
1. Myth: stir-fried vegetables have no nutrients
Many people think that raw vegetables are more nutritious than cooked, but that's not the case.
In fact, for some vegetables, cooking releases more nutritional components than when they are in their raw state. Dr Naras explained that a quick stir fry still maintains a lot of the nutrition.
In Singapore, stir-fried vegetables are commonly served at hawker centres. The problem with these dishes (e.g. sambal kang kong) is the heavy-handedness with the oils and sugary sauces.
Remember to always request for less oil and sauce! If you need extra flavour, ask for fresh chilli or more herbs and spices.
2. Myth: durians are bad for your health
Durians are healthy! Yes, you heard it right, the king of fruits has Dr Naras's stamp of approval. Reason being, durians are a fruit so they are totally unprocessed, high in fibre, and full of vitamins.
Before you run off to eat them, bear in mind that they do contain a significant amount of natural sugars. Don't overdo it. It's still best to take them in moderation.
3. Myth: dietary supplements are unnecessary
In a perfect world, you would be able to get all your nutrition and health benefits from only eating fresh food.
Unfortunately, many of us either live under circumstances of nutritional compromise or don't have access to some of the nutrition we need.
Therefore, dietary supplements can play an important role in maintaining health. Under certain circumstances, supplements can play an important role in maintaining health.
4. Myth: it's alright to eat burnt meat
As much as grilled meat tastes good (the flavour even has a name, umami), meat grilled at high temperature can produce dangerous chemicals. These chemicals have been linked to cancer.
So no, it's not safe to eat burnt meat! You can consider marinating meats, or microwave/steam/poach the meat first and then grill for only a short time to crisp it up a little.
5. Myth: bacon contains good fat
Sorry bacon-lovers, Dr Naras confirmed that bacon is indeed very unhealthy as it is a heavily processed meat.
While it's true that bacon contains the same fatty acid that olive oil is praised for, it's also accompanied by a whole host of health risks.
There are many other and far healthier ways to get fats into our diet. If you really like bacon, keep it as a treat only!
6. Myth: coffee is bad for you
A good cup of coffee has been proven to have a wide range of health benefits. However, coffee is a stimulant and yes, it's possible to have too much of a good thing.
Dr Naras recommends you cap your coffee intake at around 400mg of caffeine per day. That translates to about 4 cups of black coffee or 4 shots of coffee.
He also wants to bring to your attention that caffeine has a half-life in your body of around 5-6 hours. For example, if you drink a cup at 4 pm, by 10 pm you'd still have half of that caffeine in your system.
Too much coffee can interrupt with sleep quality. His advice is to have a caffeine cut-off by mid-afternoon at the latest so that your sleep is not impacted.
7. Myth: eggs are healthy, so feel free to eat so much as you want
While eggs are packed with nutrients, it's not a good idea to eat too much of it daily.
Dr Naras explained that this also depends on what else you eat in a day. If you're eating that many eggs and they are replacing a whole host of other foods that you should be eating, it's probably a bad thing.
4 eggs outright per day, every day, without other nutritional food, is not a good diet!
8. Myth: acai bowls are healthy snacks
A good acai bowl is really healthy. There are lots of completely unprocessed food; nuts, seeds, cinnamon, fresh fruits, and sometimes even steel cut oats.
Most of the times, they are loaded with plenty of antioxidants, fibre, protein, oils, and unprocessed carbohydrates.
However, here's the key: they are a meal, not a snack! Acai bowls contain many calories so don't treat them as an after dinner snack.
9. Myth: probiotic drinks are good for your digestive system
Probiotic drinks have been on the market for a long time. They were one of the earliest commercial products that offered a product that was enriched in probiotics.
As time passed though, it has become evident that for probiotic supplements to work well, you need very large amounts. In Dr Naras' opinion, these drinks do not do much for your digestive system.
10. Myth: lettuce is pointless because it only contains water
Dr Naras explained that this is not true. Lettuce is low in calories and contains very little carbohydrate and fibre.
It contains a range of minerals in minerals, such as calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, and potassium. It is low in sodium. Lettuce is a good source of vitamin C, vitamin K, and folate. It's good for you!