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9 myths about 'healthy' foods you need to stop believing, according to a nutritionist.

From juice cleanses to intermittent fasting and gluten-free diets - the 'healthy eating' space in 2021 is... A LOT. 

It's crowded. Chaotic. Confusing as heck

And as a new buzzy healthy food trend pops up almost every second day, the consensus on what is actually Good For You has just become more and more blurry.

Watch: Here are 7 tips to reduce bloating and puffiness. Post continues below.


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That’s why we've poked around and had a good nosy into some of the biggest, most questionable 'healthy food' myths that you need to stop believing.

We spoke to skincare expert, nutritionist and founder of Vita-Sol Fiona Tuck, and asked her to tell us which healthy eating myths drive her absolutely bat s**t - and why they’re not true.

1. Gluten-free bread is healthier for you.

In case you haven't parked your cute little self in a Sydney cafe for a while, you might be surprised to know that for some simply unknown reason, gluten-free foods have become a really ~trendy~ thing. 

Great news for people with celiac disease and gluten intolerance. Big win. But for those eliminating it from their diets just because their friend Becky who went on a Byron health retreat that one time said it was healthier, not so much.

Related: We're sorry, but these 8 common diet 'rules' are total BS.

"If someone has celiac disease, then avoiding gluten is essential and gluten-free bread is a necessity. For non-celiacs choosing gluten-free bread is not usually a healthier option," said Tuck.

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"This is because most gluten-free bread is low in fibre, high in highly processed refined carbohydrates, lacking in nutrients and often comes with a long list of additives such as oils, gums, thickeners, preservatives and emulsifiers."

Awks.

"A healthier option would be a wholegrain sourdough such as miche, spelt or rye sourdough which contains important nutrients and fibre." 

If you have the feels gluten doesn’t agree with your tum and you want to cut it out of your diet, Tuck said to speak to a registered dietician or nutritionist to ensure you are getting the right nutrients and fibre.

If you feel fine after eating gluten, there's probably no real benefit to taking it out of your diet - plus, eating gluten-free is expensive. So, yeah.

2. Smoothies and juices are the healthiest breakfast option.

Anyone else been ditching their regular peanut butter on toast combo for a smoothie or a pressed juice every morning just because it's *supposed* to be a healthier option?

Well, we have some news. And it's not great. Please, sit. No, no, no - leave the smoothie behind.

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Turns out grabbing a smoothie or juice in the morning isn't always a healthier option. Especially if you didn't make it yourself.

"Freshly squeezed juice can supply important nutrients, however they can often be high in sugar. If you're having a juice in the morning, be mindful of the size. Choose veggie juice over high sugar fruit and be mindful of shop-bought juices as these often contain extra added sugar," said Tuck.

Oh.

"Some veggies such as beetroot and carrots can contain higher amounts of sugar than other veggies such as greens, so where possible choose the whole food over the juice as it comes with additional fibre and you eat less than the amount that goes into juice."

An interesting development.

Tuck said smoothies can also be high in sugar, and both juices and smoothies can be lacking in protein (depending what you put into your smoothie). 

"If you're having a smoothie, adding yoghurt or nut butter can boost protein which helps to keep you fuller for longer - but some smoothies can really get up there in calories. So, if you are choosing them as a low-calorie option, think again." 

So, what's good? What's a better breakfast option than buying a $14 smoothie? Huh? HUH?

"A slice of wholegrain toast with avocado, tomatoes, greens and an egg is a good balanced breakfast," shares Tuck. "Greek yoghurt with berries and oats is also another great option."

Well, that sounds yum.

"Diversity in the diet is important so mix up breakfasts where possible to get a variety of different foods and nutrients. Aim to have some kind of vegetables or fruit with breakfast wherever possible."

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3. Plant-based milk is healthier than cow's milk.

It ain't, kid. If you're getting into the ol' almond milk because you read somewhere that it's supposed to be healthier - pls know that this is not a real thing.

"Plant milks (unless there is an allergy) are not a healthier alternative to cow’s milk," said Tuck. "They can be high in plant oils, thickeners, emulsifiers and sugar and low in nutrients." 

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"Soy milk has the closest nutritional profile to regular milk, but if you're choosing a plant milk look for one that does not contain added oils or sugar and fortified with calcium."

4. Eggs are bad for your heart.

There's been a lot of trash talkin' about eggs. A lot of dirty rumours saying that they'll mess with your cholesterol, give you a heart attack, steal your dog, etc.

But according to Tuck, the egg research out there says otherwise. And eggs are actually really offended by this whole thing.

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"Eggs contain cholesterol in the yolk, although the latest Heart Foundation guidelines put no limit on how many eggs average, healthy people can eat," said Tuck.

"According to the Heart Foundation guidelines, eggs have almost no effect on blood cholesterol levels and recommend regular egg consumption as part of a diet that is rich in whole foods and low in saturated fats."

See! Told you. Want more proof? Course you do.

"The CSIRO conducted a range of research, both in clinical trials and in a survey of more than 84,000 Australians, and found that egg consumption is linked to a number of positive health outcomes."

As with all other things, Tuck said that when it comes to heart health and cholesterol, it's important to take into consideration your diet as a whole and what foods are eaten with the eggs.

Related: "Detoxing is completely unnecessary": 9 health myths doctors want you to stop believing.

"Butter and cream with your eggs and a side of bacon may not be so great," she said. "The evidence currently suggests eggs are safe, but if you are concerned about high cholesterol speak to a qualified dietician or nutritionist."

5. Bananas are bad for you because they're full of sugar.

Oh, no, no, no! Quite the opposite, actually. Bananas are very good for you, sweet fools.

"Bananas are a nutrient powerhouse containing fibre, vitamin B6, potassium, magnesium and manganese," said Tuck.

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"One medium ripe banana, provides about 110 calories, zero grams fat, one gram of protein, 28 grams carbohydrate, 15 grams sugar (naturally occurring) and three grams of fibre."

Umm... cool, cool, cool. So they're healthy, yeah?

"Bananas are a healthy food to include in the diet. Minimising added sugars found in many highly processed foods and drinks such as soft drinks, sauces, canned foods, sweetened yogurts, breakfast cereals, and sugar treats is advisable - but do not be scared of eating fruit."

Fun banana fact: According to some quirky stats we found on Australian Bananas, bananas are composed of 75 per cent water. Just to put that into perspective, that’s even more than the human body, which is 60 per cent water. Cool!

Even funnerer banana fact: Bananas are always bent due to a phenomenon known as geotropism - once developed, instead of growing towards the ground, bananas turn towards the sun. 

6. Avocados are fattening.

"Food is only fattening if you eat too much of it," said Tuck. "Avocados provide an array of nutrients and contain beneficial fats but because of their high fat content they can be energy dense." 

Foods like avocado, nuts, tuna and such are all considered ‘good fats’, which means they provide a ton of energy and will help you feel fuller for longer.

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Tuck said just to be mindful of portion size so you don’t eat more than you need. 

So, as long as you're not eating like a whole avocado every morning for breakfast, you should be sweet. Are you... eating a whole avocado every morning for breakfast?

"As a guide aim for a quarter of an avocado as one serve and be mindful of restaurant and café servings which tend to be much larger and therefore higher in calories."

7. Granola bars are a healthy snacking option.

This? This smells like BS. And it is! It really is. Tuck said so.

"Granola bars can be a minefield as they can really vary depending on what is in them. The crunchy and large baked style muesli bars labelled as natural can be really high in calories, sugar, syrups and calories," she said.

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"Muesli bars are often loaded with fat and sugar, more fitting for a confectionary aisle than a health food aisle! Look for a bar that contains whole grains and nuts over refined grains such as puffed rice or white flour, and aim for around 120 calories a serve."

Gotcha.

8. All yogurt is healthy.

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Whoa, whoa - slow down there, sport. They're not all the same, you know.

"Plain or Greek yogurt tends to be the healthiest yoghurt, although some people find they need to add fruit for sweetness or a little honey," said Tuck.

Read: Cause Greek yoghurt tastes gross on its own. 

"Many flavoured yogurts can be packed with sugar, whilst many 'no sugar added' versions have artificial sweeteners which are not a healthy option either," Tuck explained. 

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"If choosing a flavoured yoghurt, go for one that is high in protein, contains no added sugar and is sweetened with a more natural low-calorie sweetener such as stevia leaf extract."

Just to make it clear, if you like the flavoured yoghurt - by all means, eat the flavoured yoghurt! (You can share with us, grab a spoon). But, like, it's worth knowing they're not all the same, yeah?

9. Drinking vitamin water is a good way to up your nutrients. 

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As you can probably guess, the best way to get your vitamins is naturally via healthy food. 

But we know how it is - sometimes you just wanna get it all over with and throw back a tasty flavoured vitamin water and feel really good about yourself, right?

Alas, vitamin waters aren't as good as you think they are.

"Vitamin waters tend to contain low amounts of added vitamins and have added sugar. Eat your fruit and veggies and drink water instead."

Soz. We'll... we'll show ourselves out.

Feature image: Getty

Are you guilty of believing any of the above food myths? Share with us in the comment section below.