Food Myth Freedom!

As we salute the Fourth and the birthday of the USA, it’s all about celebrating freedom.  So let’s celebrate by declaring freedom from some common food and nutrition myths. Let food freedom ring. As I like to say, “The more you know, the more you can eat!” and that’s certainly true with the following food facts! So much fun on Atlanta & Company with host Christine Pullara.

View the Food Myth Freedom TV segment on my YouTube Channel.


Myth # 1: Refined Grains Should be Avoided

Refined grains have nutritional benefits too. Sure, we’re supposed to eat more whole grains for good health because these foods are higher in fiber. But refined grain foods such as white bread, white rice, and regular pasta have gotten a bad rap! Enjoy them in good health, especially when dishes are prepared with other healthy ingredients such as pasta with vegetables, sandwiches with lean meats and vegetables and rice accompanies a seafood meal!

Enriched to Enrich Your Health

By choosing enriched refined grains, which are good sources of B Vitamins, iron and folic acid, you are adding good health to your daily meals! I learned this by reading the research and listening to an inspiring talk presented by Glenn Gasser, PhD of Arizona State University.

FYI- those bright purple beet burgers only contain 1 gram of protein per serving. Tasty and good source of antioxidants I’m sure but, not exactly a meat substitute.

Eliminating enriched refined grain products can result in nutrient shortfalls.  Refined grain foods that have been enriched and/or fortified help to alleviate shortfalls including B-vitamins, folic acid, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, and the mineral iron.

  • Folic acid is essential for women of childbearing age to help prevent neural tube birth defects.
  • Enriched grains are the largest contributor of folic acid in the American diet. Did you know that enriched white rice is much higher in folic acid than brown rice????!!!!! I love brown rice but enjoy white rice too. It’s OK to mix it up!
  • Americans cannot afford to cut refined grains from their diets. More than 90 percent of American adults and children fall short of dietary fiber recommendations and 39 percent of dietary fiber comes from refined grains.

More Good Grains Nutrition News

  • Consumers can enjoy up to six or seven servings per day of refined grains without increasing risk for coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension or premature death.
  • While the Dietary Guidelines do not suggest eating only whole grains, the “make half your grains whole” messaging has dominated. Enriched grain messaging has been lost.

For more information visit the Grain Foods Foundation Dot Org website.

Please Pass the Cupcakes?

Indulgent treats high in added sugars remain just that- a treat to be enjoyed in moderation.

Not so fast! There are two camps when it comes to refined grains: Staples and Indulgences.

Ready-to-eat fortified breakfast cereal, bread, and other refined-grain dietary staples undoubtedly have a different impact on nutrition and health than refined grain indulgences such as donuts, cookies, and cakes. So when weighing the health consequences of refined grains ( positive or negative) researchers are NOW making sure not to mix apples and oranges….or shall we say Apple Cinnamon Rolls and a recipe for enriched white rice with fresh orange segments.


Myth #2: Vegan is the Healthiest Way to Eat

Cauliflower is certainly enjoying its day in the sun as a popular vegetable! There are even frozen pizzas made with cauliflower crusts. This yummy one is from California Pizza Kitchen. I added the olives and the arugula.

Sure vegan diets and vegetarian diets can be super healthy, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get the same health benefits by ‘eating more like a vegetarian’.   Good news: 36% of meat-eaters are trying to include more plant-based foods into their diet.

So enjoy more plant-based foods for good health, but also know that if you are a meat-eater that foods such as dairy, poultry, red meats, and seafood provide good nutrition too.

There are many vegetarian meat alternatives to choose from too, such as the Beyond Burger, the Impossible Burger, and the Awesome Burger. But they all have their own nutritional profiles. Watch out for meat alternatives TOO HIGH in sodium. I even found a beet burger that only had one gram of protein, so not exactly a good way to get your protein if a vegetarian choice.

But, for flexitarians who mix in meat with their veggie-focused meals.  This summer you’re a fan of grilling beef hamburgers know that you’re serving up great taste and good nutrition with important nutrients: protein of course, and a good source of iron and zinc and other vitamins and minerals. For the low down on happy healthy nutrients in beef and healthy recipes for summer and beyond visit Beef It’s What’s for Dinner.   

Hamburgers on the grill- don’t forget the bun this time!


Other nutrition myths discussed in our TV segment: Intermittent Fasting NOT the best way to lose weight and you might slow down your metabolism! Also, YES there is a DNA test to help you determine your best diet. But you really need a registered dietitian to help you interpret the results. Nutrisystem is currently using a DNA test as part of their plan. (Nutrisystem is not a client of mine, BTW.)