6 Myths that won’t Die

Science now says the following examples of familiar food lore, are more myth than fact:

1. ALL TEA IS THE SAME. Bottled and instant teas are very low in antioxidants, reports the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In order to get disease fighting amounts of tea’s potent antioxidant, EGCG, you must drink brewed green tea or take an EGCG supplement.

2. RAW IS MORE NUTRITIOUS. In fact, cooking vegetables often releases nutrients, such as beta carotene. And flash-freezing fruits and vegetables quickly after harvest retains nutrients, while shipping and storing fresh produce drains nutrients. Surprisingly, canned tomato sauce and paste have more lycopene, a powerful antioxidant, than fresh tomatoes.

3. BAGELS ARE HEALTH FOOD. Just the opposite. Most bagels are made from processed white flour, are low in fiber and have a high glycemic index, causing them to spike blood sugar and tying them to weight gain and problems such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Better bread: whole grain or sourdough.

4. COFFEE AND CAFFEINE ARE HARMFUL. Moderate amounts are safe and often beneficial, Harvard research says. Coffee may cut the risk of type 2 diabetes, gallstones, colon cancer, liver damage and Parkinson’s disease; it also may boost cognitive function. But, in some, coffee can increase headaches, anxiety and heart problems, so follow your doctor’s advice.

5. USE NO-FAT SALAD DRESSING. Without fat, your body can’t absorb needed nutrients in toppings such as tomatoes and carrots. Douse salad with a little extra-virgin olive oil or add cheese, nuts or avocado.

6. EGGS ARE DANGEROUS. Studies show that egg yolks do not significantly raise blood cholesterol, and they’re packed with choline, which is vital for brain development.

--Susan Keen with permission from the original author, Jean Carper, EatSmart, ThinkSmart at jeancarper.com.