As a nutrition professional, I hear many of the same questions from patients, clients and even family members. What I have found is that people have the tendency to classify foods as “good” or “bad”.

Lets have a look at food facts and fallacies.

The media likes to perpetuate these food stereotypes” as I call them. We’ve all seen articles with titles such as “Top 10 Foods to Burn Belly Fat” or “Worst Foods for Weight Loss”.

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Because of this food stereotyping and misleading media, some foods seem to be placed on a pedestal; Quinoa, acai berries, kale, chia seeds and so forth, while others are condemned.

I have bad news and good news…

Acai berries are no more likely to magically “burn off” your belly fat than eggs are to give you heart disease. Go ahead and eat your quinoa and kale, as these foods certainly have their health benefits, but stop fearing these four food fallacies…

• Eggs

Aren’t eggs high in cholesterol? Should I eat whole eggs or egg whites? Here’s the deal; the whole negative stigma surrounding eggs came about during the low-fat craze of the 1980’s, and there is nothing wrong with eating eggs. In fact eggs are a great source of complete protein, and chock-full of vitamins and minerals. Better yet, eggs are one of the cheapest sources of protein.

But what about whole eggs versus egg whites? Many people have the perception that ditching the egg yolk is the “healthy” thing to do because it means ditching the fat. There are two problems with this ideology. First of all: Eating fat does not make you fat; stop fearing fat! Secondly, ditching the yolk also means ditching all of the vitamins and minerals.

In defense of egg whites, they contain almost all of the protein, no carbohydrates and no fat. What does that mean? Basically, you can get a whole lot of protein through egg whites, without eating a whole lot of calories. Egg whites can absolutely be a beneficial addition to your diet; especially for those with higher protein needs.

So how do you reconcile this? Don’t think you need to choose a side; use your discretion based on your own needs and what else you’re including in your diet.

Let’s say you want to make a big plate of cheesy scrambled eggs, but you don’t necessarily want the fat from four whole eggs and the cheese. This is where egg whites come in handy. Mix together two whole eggs and two eggs-worth of egg whites. You’ll get about the same volume and still get the nutrients from the yolk, without consuming so much fat in one sitting.

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Potatoes

When you think of a typical American diet, “steak and potatoes” probably comes to mind. Potatoes have been labeled as a “high-carb” vegetable. It is true that potatoes are carbohydrate-dense, however, the same goes for carbs as fat; your body functions off of carbohydrates.

One medium sized baked potato contains about 37 grams of carbohydrates (approximately the same amount as ¾ cup of brown rice). Those 37 grams of carbohydrates in your potato also come with good-for-you fiber, and about 25% of your daily potassium needs. That’s not a bad deal for 37 grams of carbs.

Just keep in mind, if you’re having a baked potato, it counts as the “grains” on your plate, and think about replacing your usual grain source (bread, pasta, rice, etc…) with a green leafy vegetable instead.

• Bananas

The banana stereotype is similar to that of potatoes. If you’ve never heard of this fallacy, just Google “banana worst fruit”, and then proceed to disregard everything you read!

Like potatoes, bananas are more carbohydrate-dense than other fruits. One medium banana is about 100 calories and contains about 27 grams of carbohydrates. So why eat a banana when you could eat two pieces of white bread for the same carbohydrate cost? Because one medium banana is also an excellent source of potassium, vitamin B-6, and vitamin C.

Bananas are a nutrient-dense source of energy; it’s time to put the “worst fruit” label to rest.

• Corn

Here we are again with the “bad vegetable” label. If this sounds like an oxymoron to you, well, that is because “bad” fruits and vegetables do not exist; only “bad” portion sizes.

One cup of corn contains about 600 calories and 123 grams of carbohydrates. Unless you are planning on going out and running a marathon, you probably don’t need to be eating 123 grams of carbohydrates in one sitting. However, one corn-on-cob contains about 150 calories and 32 grams of carbohydrates. That is a more sensible portion size.

While corn may not be the most nutrient-dense vegetable, it is still a good source of vitamin C, vitamin B-6, potassium, and magnesium.

It’s time to set these foods free of their negative stereotypes!

Eggs, potatoes, bananas, nor corn are going to single-handedly sabotage your diet plan. These are all whole, unprocessed foods packed full of nutrients that our bodies rely on for survival – so go ahead and eat them without fear!

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