Myths busted: Were you surprised by any of these misconceptions about food?

With so much information about health and diets out there, it’s easy to get confused by all of the conflicting information. Low fat, low carb, sugar free, high protein… it’s enough to make you want to sit down with nice cuppa and packet of chocolate biscuits and forget about the whole thing.

To make things easier, and clear up any of those questionable foodie ‘facts’, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most common food myths and busted them wide open.

1. Pasta makes you fat
With many of us cutting back on carbs thanks to crazes like the popular low-carb Atkins diet, poor old pasta has taken a bit of a beating in recent years. Thankfully, a new push is on to repair the reputaion of our delicious Italian friend with pasta company Barilla saying the “resistant starch structure means pasta is more slowly digested than the same amount of flour made into bread”. You should always cook your pasta al dente to ensure you get a slow and steady release of energy. This keeps you fuller for longer and allows your body enough time to digest the pasta.

2. Raw food diets are better for your digestion
Raw food advocates claim that cooking vegetables removes vital plant enzymes, but this claim is one that doesn’t stand true with many qualified dietitians. “Those enzymes are made for the survival of plants; for human health, they are not essential,” said dietitian Brenda Davis.

3. Red wine is the only ‘healthy’ alcohol
Not true! While it’s is important we stick to the recommended amount of alcohol per week, there is some good news for those who want to veer away from red wine. All alcoholic drinks contain ethanol, which is known to raise the level of good cholesterol in bloodstream and decrease the risk of heart attacks.

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4. A muesli bar is healthier than a chocolate bar
Despite the pictures of healthy-looking fruits and nuts on the packaging, muesli bars are notoriously high in sugar and fat. The dried fruit has high levels of concentrated sugar, while other ingredients like yoghurt and chocolate chips contain saturated fats, all of which are packed into these small snack bars. Additionally, they often contain sugar or corn syrup, which can quickly convert to fat in the body. If you’re really craving a sweet treat, try a fresh piece of fruit and a couple of squares of dark chocolate instead.

5. Dried fruit is as healthy as fresh fruit
Dehydrating fruit removes all of the water from it, meaning the final dried fruit product is high in fructose and kilojoules. While there are many advantages of eating dried fruit, thanks to its high-fibre content, it’s best to limit yourself to about eight pieces a day and eat more fresh fruit instead.

6. Red meat is a killer
Is red meat really the cancer-causing, fat-making danger some people (vegans) make it out to be? Not really. While research has shown eating too much red meat is linked to an increased risk of cancer, eating limited portions every week can have excellent health benefits. Red meat is high in zinc and iron and gives us a great dose of protein, too. Health experts suggest you stick to no more than a 70g portion of red meat per day and increase your intake of omega-3 rich fish, like salmon and sardines.

Where you surprised by any of these food myths? Do you have any others to add to the list?