nutritional myths dispelled...

Cholesterol:

» Myth:Eggs are not allowed if you have high cholesterol.
» Facts:  For someone with high cholesterol levels, dietary cholesterol should be restricted to 300 mg per day. One whole egg contains approximately 210 mg cholesterol. Provided that all other dietary sources of cholesterol are avoided, eating one egg a day is therefore not excessive in terms of cholesterol allowance. Since most people do include other cholesterol-containing foods, dietary guidelines recommend two to four eggs a week as part of a diet low in cholesterol and saturated fats.

» Myth: Seafood such as prawns, shrimps, crayfish and oysters should be avoided if you have high cholesterol levels.
» Facts: Even though these seafood items do contain high levels of cholesterol, research has shown that eating prawns, shrimps and other high-cholesterol seafood in moderation does not significantly impact on blood cholesterol levels. It is believed that this is because these foods contain very little saturated fat. The combination of saturated fat and cholesterol is believed to have the greatest impact on blood cholesterol levels.

» Myth:  Avocado should be avoided if you have high cholesterol.
» Facts:  Even though avocado is rich in oil, it contains no cholesterol. In fact, the fats in avocado, also known as mono-unsaturated omega-9 fatty acids, are known to help reduce cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.

» Myth:  Cholesterol-free chips are a good alternative for those who suffer from high cholesterol.
» Facts: All chips are cholesterol free! Chips are generally made from potatoes (or corn), fried in sunflower oil, which are all naturally cholesterol-free ingredients. Unfortunately this does not mean that chips are a good thing since the heating of the oil during the frying process results in a build-up of harmful trans-fats in the oil, known to indirectly increase cholesterol.

» Myth: Margarine is a healthy alternative if you suffer from high cholesterol.
» Facts:  Even though margarine is always cholesterol-free, the trans-fats that are formed during its manufacture can also result in increased cholesterol levels. Certain margarines claim to be free from trans-fats; however, they are still highly processed plant oils that are liquid in their natural state, as opposed to margarine which is solid due to processing and hydrogenation.

» Myth: Cheese should be avoided if you have high cholesterol.
» Facts: Many cheeses are rich in fat and cholesterol, such as full-cream cheddar and mozzarella. However, low-fat cottage cheese and ricotta cheese can be used freely in weight-reduction or low-cholesterol diets, because they have a low cholesterol and fat content.

Fat & Oil:

» Myth:  There is no significant difference between 2% and fat-free milk.
» Facts: It all depends on how much milk you consume! If you only use milk in your two cups of tea a day this would amount to about 50 ml of milk per day. However, if you drink two glasses of milk a day the difference becomes more significant.

» Myth: Fresh cream is not fattening.
» Facts:  Dream on! Fresh cream contains the same amount of fat as cream processed into any other form.

» Myth:  Low-fat cream cheese is suitable for a low-fat diet.
» Facts: Low-fat foods should contain less than 3 grams of fat per 100 grams of the food item. Unfortunately manufacturers of cream cheeses that are labelled as low fat often ignore this guideline in order to mislead consumers. If the check the tub of 'low-fat' cream cheese in your fridge you will see that it probably contains 21 grams of fat per 100 grams - that is 900% more fat than is allowed in foods that are labelled as low fat!

Weight Loss:

» Myth:  Fruit juice is ideal to help you lose weight.
» Facts:  Fruit juice is highly concentrated in natural fruit sugars.  It is the ideal health drink for growing children and physically active adults and athletes, but if you are watching your weight rather eat fresh fruit and drink water.  One glass (250 ml) of grape juice (590 kJ) contains more kilojoules than a glass of cola (417 kJ)!

» Myth:  Bananas are more fattening than apples.
» Facts:  1 medium sized banana = 350-400 kilojoules, 1 medium sized apple = 370-420 kilojoules.

» Myth:  One beer is equal in kilojoules to a whole loaf of bread.
» Facts:  1 beer (375 ml) = 645 kilojoules, 1 loaf of bread (700 g) = 6510 kilojoules.  The truth is that 10 beers are about equal to a loaf of bread in kilojoules!

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