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Misconceptions On Healthy Eating - Nutrition And Exercise For Children
By Jeff Wise
Sep 18, 2008

As most people know, nutritional eating is a major component to living a healthy lifestyle. For instance, consuming an adequate amount of fruits and vegetables daily is not only nourishing, but will most often improve our quality of life too.

This not only applies to adults. Nutrition and exercise for children is more critical today than ever before.

But there are many misconceptions about supposedly "healthy" products. We've been told time after time to eat certain foods because they're good for us. Or, we've been misinformed about certain additives in foods that harm our bodies. Here's a list of seven common misconceptions related to healthy eating.

1. Splenda (Nutrasweet, Equal, aspartame) is healthier than sugar

The mainstream news and corporations have misled you and it's not your fault. You've been told for a long time that artificial sweeteners are healthier than sugar. You've bought into it because you thought lower calories was better.

Today you find artificial sweeteners in just about everything. Food corporations make big money off of anything "sugar-free." The truth of the matter is that Splenda, Nutrasweet and almost every other artificial sweetener is not healthy or safe.

Research in animals shows that sucralose can cause such problems as:

The only non-sugar alternative that is proven to be safe is the all-natural Stevia. You can find this product in the same aisle as other sweeteners. Otherwise, when shopping, try to steer clear of anything labeled "sugar-free."

2. Soy is good for you

Many respected scientists have issued warnings stating that the possible benefits of eating soy should be weighed against the proven risks. Thousands of studies link soy to malnutrition, digestive distress, immune-system breakdown, thyroid dysfunction, cognitive decline, reproductive disorders, infertility, and even cancer and heart disease.

There is no historical precedent for eating the large amounts of soy now being consumed by infants (from soy formula) and vegetarians who favor soy as their main source of protein, or for the large amounts of soy recommended by Dr. Andrew Weil, Dr. Christiane Northrup, and many other popular health experts.

Most of the fears concerning soy formula have focused on estrogens. There are other problems as well, notably much higher levels of aluminum, fluoride and manganese than are found in either breastmilk or dairy formulas. All three metals have the potential to adversely affect brain development. Although trace amounts of manganese are vital to the development of the brain, toxic levels accrued from ingestion of soy formula during infancy have been found in children suffering from attention-deficit disorders, dyslexia and other learning problems.

In conclusion, it seems that the safety of soy foods has yet to be proven, and that human beings have become guinea pigs. Try to avoid soy products and don't feed them to your children.

3. Margarine is better than butter

Years of research has been done to determine whether margarine or butter is better to consume. You can find a plethora of claims on the Internet arguing one way or the other. The truth is, neither are healthy and their use should be minimized as often as possible.

But, between the two, we believe butter is actually the better choice. While butter is high in saturated fat and dietary cholesterol, margarine is high is trans-fatty acids (which are worse that saturated fats). Margarine also raises levels of bad cholesterol and lowers levels of good cholesterol, while butter provides vitamins A, D, E and K.


In addition, margarine decreases immune response and increases blood insulin levels, making the risks for diabetes greater. And while margarine may not contain cholesterol as butter does, when eaten it still stimulates the body to make cholesterol.

For an even healthier option, try Butter Buds, found in the spice aisle of your grocery store. This product is much better for you and tastes just like butter. But, in times when butter or margarine in necessary, such as baking, butter overall is the better choice.

4. Olive oil is the healthiest cooking oil

Although mainstream media portrays olive oil as the healthiest oil, this does not extend to cooking. Olive oil is primarily a monounsaturated fat and overabundance of oleic acid in olive oil creates an imbalance on the cellular level, which has been associated to an increased risk of breast cancer and heart disease.

Now polyunsaturated oils, which include vegetable oils like corn, soy, safflower and canola, are the worst oils to cook with because of the trans-fatty acids introduced during the hydrogenation process, which results in increased dangers of chronic diseases such as breast cancer and heart disease.

Anytime you need an oil to cook with, coconut oil can automatically be used in place of butter, margarine, olive oil, etc. in all types of recipes. This is a much healthier oil that you don't hear much about. Specifically you'll want to buy extra virgin organic coconut oil.

There are many benefits of using coconut oil, such as:

5. Wheat bread is better than white bread

While this is a true statement, consumers are often tricked into thinking that anything labeled "wheat" is healthy. But in fact, there are only certain types of wheat-labeled breads that are truly wheat. Make sure the packaging reads "100% Whole Wheat" or "100% Stone Ground." Otherwise, what you're consuming is truly no different from sugary white bread.

According to Dr. Mallika Marshall, though, it's important to look for more than just a whole-wheat label. First, check to make sure the bread has high amounts of fiber. Adults should eat 25-30 grams of fiber a day.

Second, choose a bread that has less than 350 mg of sodium per serving. Too much sodium in a diet is dangerous. And third, avoid hydrogenated fats at all costs. Try to find a brand that doesn't have this ingredient. It's also good to avoid high fructose corn syrup, if possible. While finding a loaf of bread without this ingredient can be challenging, at least make sure it's not one of the first several ingredients listed.

If all else fails, make your own bread at home. It's not only healthier, but most likely more affordable too.

6. MSG (Monosodium Glutamate) is easily avoidable

Monosodium glutamate (MSG), a flavor enhancer known widely as an addition to Chinese food, is actually added to thousands of the foods you eat.

It's in everything from soup, crackers, meats and salad dressings. As dangerous as it is, MSG makes food taste good and it is dirt cheap, like sugar. Even infant formulas and baby foods contain this poison, even though babies and infants are four times more sensitive than adults to the toxic effects of this chemical.

Eliminating MSG from your diet is a wise choice for everyone, especially pregnant women.

Here's a list of hidden names for MSG that you need to be aware of. The hidden names include:

7. If the label says "All Natural" or "Organic" it must be healthy

There's not as much regulation as you may think when it comes to the wording used on food labels. "All Natural" can mean absolutely nothing, except that it entices the consumer to purchase it over other brands. Sometimes an item labeled "All Natural" will have fewer ingredients, which can be a good thing. But it absolutely does not mean the item is healthy or unprocessed.

As for "Organic," this term is much more regulated, but there are still come catches. The best option is to choose items labeled "100% Organic." These products are given the USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) seal and are completely organic and natural. An item that simply reads "Organic" is only required to have 95% organic ingredients and those that claim they're "Made with Organic Ingredients" must only be 70% organic.

Other commonly misused labeling terms include "cage-free," "grass-fed," "sustainable" and "hormone-free." While the USDA has clear definitions for each of these terms, there is no independent verification that products with such labels actually meet the requirements.

So, when choosing food items that makes one of these claims, look at the ingredients as well to see just how natural it truly is.


Author's Bio

Jeff Wise was born in Denver, Colorado and has lived in Washington state, California, Connecticut, and Tennessee. He now resides in Nashville, Tenn and has been married to his lovely wife, Kristy, since 2005. They have one child born in 2008.

After receiving a Bachelors degree in radio/television production from Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU). He has worked for ABC News, ESPN, the NHL Hockey Team Nashville Predators, Fox Sports News, and syndicated radio talk-show host Dave Ramsey.

He has eight years experience in physical fitness, weight training and healthy nutrition. He has three years experience teaching children at his church in Nashville.

Jeff has a passion for teaching others the importance of health, fitness and proper nutrition. The importance of kids exercise and optimizing exercise programs for kids is higher than ever for the Wise's as they are now having children of their own.

Read more kids exercise and nutrition articles.

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