"To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art.” — La Rochefoucauld.

You may have heard plenty of misconstrued facts regarding health and nutrition. Many a time, people tend to believe these myths or misconceptions which make them even more anxious regarding their health. There is always a thin line of difference between fact and fiction. 

All you need to do is be open-minded to focus on logic to see things clearly. It is time to stop feeding yourself with misguided information. Here is a list of 7 health and nutrition myths you need to stop believing right away. Read on to find out why!

Myth 1: Drinking eight glasses of water is good for your health.

Fact: Well, you don’t need to keep a count of how many glasses of water you drink every day. It is not essential to consume plain water to meet your body’s requirements. You can take water in the form of fruit and vegetable juices, milk, fruits, caffeinated beverages, and even cooked rice. Therefore, it is a misconception that only plain water can contribute to your fluid needs.

Myth 2: Dark bread (brown bread/black bread/rye bread) is healthier than white bread.

Fact: Appearances can be deceptive even when it comes to bread. The mere colour of the bread cannot determine its nutrient quotient. You need to go through its list of ingredients to check what is actually beneficial for you. Darker bread can be nothing more than caramel-coated bread. You might be signing up for just a coloured white bread. 

Myth 3: Salads are highly recommended as they are the healthiest on the diet menu.

Fact: Choosing a salad is often considered to be the safest option for all the diet freaks. You might be mistaken in that case. Lettuce mixed with sugar and added toppings can contain more calories than the finger-licking pizza you might be trying to resist all this while. All those extra layers of creamy dressings of bacon (salt-cured meat cut from a pig's belly or back), cheese, and dried fruits can contain more fat than you would have imagined.

Myth 4: Margarine is way better than butter when it comes to a healthy diet.

Fact: Margarine is a processed food used for flavouring, baking, and cooking. It tastes and looks very similar to butter. Margarine is made from vegetable oils and is claimed to be heart-healthy. 

You might be surprised to hear that margarine contains more trans fats (also called trans-fatty acids, are a harmful type of dietary fat) and is worse than butter which contains saturated fat (a type of dietary fat found in butter, palm oil and cheese). 

Butter doesn’t contain any extra ingredients to satisfy your taste palate. It is a dairy product made by churning cream and is a concentrated form of milk fat. On the other hand, vegetable oils, which are liquid at room temperature, are hydrogenated for producing margarine. Hydrogenation is a process used to harden vegetable oils.

Hydrogenated oils can be extremely harmful to your body and most kinds of margarine also contain food additives and colourants, making it a highly processed food. If you are picking margarine over butter, go through the ingredient list elaborately and go for the ones made with olive oil.

Myth 5: Organic food is healthy.

Fact: Organic food is the product of a farming method that avoids the use of man-made fertilizers, pesticides, growth regulators, and livestock feed additives. Organic products contain fewer pesticides and additives and are supposed to be rich in nutrients and healthy.

There is a big hullabaloo around the word “organic”. People tend to justify eating snacks by labelling them as “organic”. You cannot be consoling yourself every time you try “organic cookies, chips, or candies”. The harsh reality is that they contain as much sugar, fat, and calories as any other non-organic snack.

Myth 6: You need to cut carbohydrates in your diet to lose weight.

Fact: Carbohydrates are extremely essential for maintaining energy, concentration, and stamina. Therefore, it is not desirable to cut on carbs at any point. You could be missing out on important nutrients that are responsible for the maintenance of your overall health. Carbohydrates should in fact make up for 45 to 65 per cent of your daily diet. Consult your dietitian to understand more about this.

Myth 7: Sea salt is way healthier than regular table salt.

Fact: Sea salt is the purest and unprocessed form of salt that is obtained naturally from seawater. Table salt is typically mined from underground salt deposits and is processed. 

The difference between them is in their texture, taste, and processing. Some experts advocate the use of sea salt as it contains compounds of magnesium, sodium, and iron. However, the real truth is that they are present in minimal quantities. 

On the other hand, if you miss out on regular table salt, you will be losing out on iodine which plays an instrumental role in regulating your hormones (your body’s chemical messengers that help you work and grow). You need to eat salt for normal cell functioning and to maintain the acid balance of your blood. Acid-base balance refers to the mechanisms your body uses to keep its fluids close to neutral pH (that is, neither basic nor acidic) so that your body can function normally.

Hence, in a nutshell, these are just a few health and nutrition myths. All you need to do is find out the whole story behind every such claim you hear. Consult your general physician/dietitian/nutritionist to discuss more of such myths.

Disclaimer: This article is written by the Practitioner for informational and educational purposes only. The content presented on this page should not be considered as a substitute for medical expertise. Please "DO NOT SELF-MEDICATE" and seek professional help regarding any health conditions or concerns. Practo will not be responsible for any act or omission arising from the interpretation of the content present on this page.