New member enquiries 0800 414 8001 *

Existing members 0800 414 8100 *

Food health myths

Share this

twitter iconfacebook icongoogleplus iconlinkedin icon


Eating a healthy, balanced diet can have a huge impact on your overall health and wellbeing but sometimes, with so much conflicting advice out there, it can be difficult to know what are the best rules to follow. Dieting Salad

To help, we’ve brought together nine common food health myths, with the facts behind them…

“Eating carbs will make you fat”

Low carb diets have been the dieting fashion for years now, with some promising fast weight loss if you cut them out completely. However, cutting out an entire food group is never a good idea - a healthy diet is a balanced one. We get a lot of our energy from carbohydrates so we need to eat them - particularly whole grains and vegetables, which are important in a balanced diet. So while reducing the amount of sugary and refined-carbohydrate-rich foods, such as white bread, pasta and doughnuts, can lower your risk of developing health problems like heart disease and diabetes, we shouldn’t cut out the healthier carbs completely. Find out more about eating a balanced diet.

“Gluten-free foods are healthier”

Unless you are allergic to gluten then cutting it from your diet isn’t any healthier for you. Our bodies are able to process gluten, and by avoiding it you will be restricting the amount of fibre, vitamins and minerals you’re able to consume - which are essential to stay healthy.

Find out more about a gluten-free diet.

“Eating fat makes you fat”

Untrue. Fat in moderation doesn’t make you fat - in fact, we need some fat as part of a healthy diet. Too much of a particular kind of fat however (for example, trans-fats which are found in fried, fast foods) can cause you to gain weight and increase your cholesterol levels. Think about which fats you eat as part of your diet and as with most things, moderation is the key: a bit is fine, but too much, as with any food group, could lead to you gaining weight.

Discover more about which fats to include in your diet.

“Eggs are bad for your heart”

While eggs do contain some cholesterol in their yolks (and we know that excess cholesterol in our bodies can lead to heart problems), what we now know is that the cholesterol we collect in our bodies comes from saturated fat, not from actually eating cholesterol. So boiled, poached and scrambled eggs with no added fats in them are fine and can be eaten as part of a healthy balanced diet. Check out the advice from the British Heart Foundation on eating eggs.

“Missing breakfast is a good way to lose weight”

This is a myth! Having a healthy breakfast is an important part of a balanced diet. While you are sleeping, your body responds to the lack of food consumed by slowing down its metabolic rate. When you eat breakfast you kick start your metabolism again, helping to burn calories during the day. By missing breakfast, you may also feel extra hungry later in the day, potentially causing you to snack and eat more.  Discover more reasons why eating breakfast is important.

“Microwaving kills the nutrients in your food”

Yes, while some nutrients can be killed, this is not restricted to cooking in a microwave. The most important thing when cooking in a microwave is to use microwave safe containers - if not, plastic molecules can leach into foods when heated. Check on the bottom of your container - it should tell you if it is microwave safe. Find out more about the effects of microwaving your food.

“Sugar makes children hyperactive”

Anyone who has looked after young children will probably bear witness to the fact that sugar can lead to a serious case of hyperactivity. But studies have shown that this isn’t always the case - in fact, it can be other external factors relating to the circumstances in which children have a lot of sugar that cause the hyperactivity. For example, at birthday parties, they will become more excited as they play games, see more children and then become very tired. Read more about sugar and hyperactivity.

“Calories eaten at night are more fattening than those eaten early in the day”

Calories are calories, and ultimately it doesn’t matter what time you eat them. What matters is the total amount of calories you consume and how much physical activity you undertake throughout the day. Take a look at this guide to understanding calories for further information.

“If I exercise I can eat anything I want”

Incorrect. What you eat is as important as how much physical activity you engage in. Even if you work out five times a week, a high-fat diet with lots of sugar can have a negative impact on your health and wellbeing. If you are exercising regularly, you will be using more energy and so you may need more food to maintain your weight – however, you should try to stick to a healthy, balanced diet which will provide you with all the nutrients you need. Read these tips on food and diet for athletes.

This article has been brought to you using public health information freely available online (click on links in the article for more information). Benenden Health has not provided any direct medical advice within this article. Please consult the sources provided if you would like additional information or support or contact your GP for further advice. 

twitter icon facebook icon youtube icon linkedin icon googleplus icon

Contact us - We would love to hear from you

New members

Send us a message

Benenden Personal Healthcare
Holgate Park Drive
York
YO26 4GG
0800 414 8001 * (Lines open 8am-5pm, Mon-Fri excluding Bank Holidays)

Existing members

Send us a message

Benenden Personal Healthcare
Holgate Park Drive
York
YO26 4GG
0800 414 8100 * (Lines open 8am - 8pm, Mon-Fri excluding Bank Holidays)

Please note that your call may be recorded for our mutual security and also for training and quality purposes.

Health cash plans

Benenden Health Cash Plan
BHSF Limited
2 Darnley Road,
Birmingham,
B16 8TE
0800 414 8071

Lines are open 8.45am to 5.30pm Monday to Friday.

Self-pay orthopaedic surgery

Send us a message

Benenden Hospital Trust
Goddard's Green Road
Benenden
Cranbrook
Kent
TN17 4AX
01580 242521 (Lines open 8am-4.30pm Mon-Fri)

Health assessments

Send us a message

Health assessments
Unit 1, Cameron Court
Cameron Street
Hillington Park
Glasgow
G52 4JH
0800 414 8486*

Travel insurance

Send us a message

Travel insurance
2nd Floor Maitland House
Warrior Square
Southend-on-Sea
Essex
SS1 2JY
0800 414 8301*

Lines open for Sales
9am-8pm Monday to Friday 
9am-5pm Saturday
10am-5pm Sunday

Lines open for Customer Services
9am-8pm Monday to Friday
9am-5pm Saturday
10am-5pm Sunday

Benenden business healthcare

Send us a message

Benenden Business Healthcare
Holgate Park Drive
York
YO26 4GG
0800 414 8179* (Lines open 9am-5pm Mon-Fri)

Home insurance

Send us a message

Benenden Home Insurance
1st Floor Maitland House
Warrior Square
Southend on Sea
Essex
SS1 2JY
0800 414 8556* (Lines open Monday to Friday 9am – 7pm, Saturday 9am – 5pm, excludes Bank Holidays)

Home Emergency
0800 294 2851* (Lines open 24 hours a day)

Legal Expenses
0330 100 9618* (Lines open 24 hours a day)

Charitable trust

Send us a message

Find out more

Charitable Trust
Holgate Park Drive
York
YO26 4GG
0800 414 8450* (Lines open 8am - 4pm Mon-Fri)