5 health myths

Learn about what is--and isn't--healthy

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There's an overload of information in the food and health world--and it can get very confusing. As consumers, we're not sure what to believe anymore.

As a Certified Nutrition Consultant, I read a lot of information on these topics. So let me help you debunk five myths about what is--and isn't--healthy. 

1. Salmon is an excellent choice at a restaurant.

Salmon appears as an entree on many menus. You may feel that when you order it, you are making a healthy choice. It's true that salmon may be a better selection than, let's say, fatty red meat, processed meat, or fried foods. But don't fool yourself into thinking you are being super healthy by ordering salmon. This is because most restaurants serve farmed Atlantic salmon, and it is far from healthful. 

Most farmed Atlantic salmon contains high levels of a carcinogen known as PCB, along with other chemicals and antibiotics, a result of the fish being crammed in cages rife with parasites and disease. When we eat these fish, we may suffer increased risk of antibiotic-resistance and toxin levels. Time states that a "single meal per month of farmed Atlantic salmon can expose consumers to contaminant levels exceeding standards from the World Health Organization."

The good news is that if you are a salmon lover, choosing wild salmon when eating out or cooking will provide you with all the wonderful benefits that salmon should have, such as healthy protein and healthy fats.

2. I'm much better off putting artificial sweetener in my coffee than sugar.

There are very few things I forbid my nutrition clients to eat; my philosophy, instead, is all about moderation. But one thing I tell them never to ingest is artificial sweeteners: Sweet 'N Lo, Equal, and even Truvia and Stevia. Why?

Firstly, artificial sweeteners are made of chemicals which will ruin your gut health. Secondly, they increase the risk of heart disease and elevate your blood sugar, which can make you crave carbs and sweets and eventually lead to diabetes. Also, these sweeteners are hundreds of times sweeter than natural sugar, ruining your taste for naturally or lightly sweet foods.

So, you may ask, you'd rather I put sugar in my coffee or tea?  Yes, I answer! A teaspoon of sugar is the proper amount, but beware--it will take a while to find sugar tasting sweet if you are addicted to its artificial evil twin.

3. I don't eat fruit because it contains a lot of sugar.

Fruit is not your enemy. It is nature's gift to us!  All-natural--and naturally sweet--and bursting with many vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants. Learn to eat fruit smartly. Eat the skin on fruit when you can (apples, pears, peaches) and enjoy up to 3 servings per day. And do not drink fruit juice, as the juice contains only sugar and none of the fiber that whole fruits provide.

4. Carb-free is a good way to eat.

You do not have to avoid carbohydrates like they're one of the 10 Passover plagues!  I think the confusion around carbs comes from not understanding there are bad carbs and good carbs. Bad carbs contain mostly white flour and/or white sugar, and minimal or zero fiber. They digest quickly, raising your blood sugar, which can cause high weight and low energy. Good carbs are whole grains, loaded with fiber, protein, and vitamins. They digest slowly in your body, keeping your blood sugar stable, your stomach full, and your energy elevated. So, choose whole grains and enjoy your carbs a few times per day in the appropriate portion. 

5. I'm not going to be able to change the world, so I'll use disposable plastic water bottles.

Do you have any idea how much plastic gets absorbed into your body from drinking out of plastic bottles?  All this plastic we ingest messes up the proper functioning of our organs and increases our risk of cancer. It's simple to just purchase an inexpensive carbon filter for your faucet or refrigerator and eliminate the plastic bottles. Your earth will thank you for this reduction of waste. You do matter in this fight.

Kim Seiden is a Certified Nutrition Consultant who believes in the power of healthy eating as a means to living an optimal life.  She works one-on-one with people to teach them how to lose weight and live healthfully, and has a website/blog at 

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