With so many food myths out there, it can be confusing to know what's true and what's false. Last week, Curtin University nutrition students Kim and Aimee finished their 6 week student placement with us by hosting an interactive session to bust some of the most common food myths.
Myth #1: Fruit is full of sugar.
True. Fruit does contain sugar but this is natural sugar (different to added sugar). Plus whole fruit contains fibre, which slows the absorption of the sugar, and a number of other healthy nutrients!
Bottom-line: Two serves of fruit per day should be included in a healthy diet!
Myth #2: Fresh fruit and vegetables are better than frozen.
False. Frozen fruit and vegetables are just as nutritious. It is about how we cook them. Cooking vegetables at a lower temperature, for a short amount of time, with less water, results in the least amount of nutrient loss. Plus, prevents them from turning soft and bland. Steaming or microwaving vegetables is much better option than boiling.
Bottom-line: Frozen fruit and vegetables are just as nutritious as fresh fruit and vegetables!
Myth #3: Gluten-free food is healthier.
False, (unless you have coeliac disease or gluten intolerance!). The removal of gluten does not make something healthier. Gluten-free products are often high in fat, sugar and salt to improve their flavour and texture, and they often have less fibre. Plus they are usually more expensive.
Bottom-line: Gluten free food is not necessarily healthier.
Myth #4: I don't add salt to my food so I don't eat too much.
Not necessarily true. 75% of the salt we eat comes from the salt hidden in packaged, processed foods. As a nation, we are eating too much salt. Previous research has shown that Australians are generally consuming around 10g of salt per day. For best health, it's recommended that adults aim to consume no more than 5g (2000mg) per day. Reading the Nutrition Information Panel is important when we are purchasing these foods. Look for foods that have less than 400mg of sodium per 100g.
Bottom-line: Try and choose fresh foods where possible, but when purchasing packaged, processed foods check the Nutrition Information Panels!
Our Education and Research student placements
Curtin Nutrition Students, Aimee and Kim, with our Nutrition and Physical Activity Manager, Steve Pratt.
Throughout the year, our Education and Research Division help WA's emerging public health professionals gain firsthand experience while they're still at university via our student placement program. In the 2016/17 financial year, over 1100 student hours were completed.
Student placements have benefits for both parties. In many cases students are able to complete an end to end process of a small standalone project, building their skills and completing a project that may not have otherwise been addressed. Placements allow students to complete their course requirements, improve their opportunities for securing work and build a network of professionals as referees.
For more tips and information on leading a healthier lifestyle, visit our LiveLighter website.