Nutrition Facts & Fictions

Nutrition is important... but can be confusing at times. Here are the facts:

FICTION: All healthy foods should derive no more than 30% of calories from fat.

FACT: All foods can be part of healthy eating. The 30% of calories from fat guideline applies to the total diet over time, not to individual foods or recipes. This works out to about 65 grams of fat per day for the average woman and man over the age of 50. These fat grams are yours to "spend" as you wish.

FICTION: Snacking is bad for you.

FACT: Nutritious foods, eaten as meals and snacks, can contribute to healthy eating any time during the day. Just be sure to plan both meals and snacks around Canada's Food Guide to Healthy Eating.

FICTION: Having a salad for lunch is a great way to answer the day's fibre needs.

FACT: To reach your daily fibre goal you'll need to include fibre rich foods at every meal. An average side dish salad of iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber and onion yields only 2.6 grams of fibre for each 2-cup serving. You can boost the fibre by using spinach instead of lettuce or adding broccoli or carrots to your salad.

FICTION: Since apples and prunes provide fibre, then their juices must also.

FACT: Pressing fruit to obtain juice leaves much of the fibre behind. Five prunes contain 3 grams of fibre while ½ cup of canned prune juice has only 1 gram.

FICTION: Whole wheat bread is one of the best sources of dietary fibre.

FACT: Whole wheat bread does have three times the fibre of white bread, but 1 slice of whole wheat bread still has only 1.6 grams of fibre.

FICTION: Skipping breakfast or lunch helps weight loss.

FACT: People who skip meals, especially breakfast, often have lower metabolic rates, burn less energy and have a tendency to overeat later in the day. This makes weight loss more difficult. Small, frequent meals and healthy snacks make it easy to enjoy healthy eating all day.

FICTION: You need to drink eight glasses of water a day.

FACT: Fluids are important and water is the ideal choice, but you can also rely on milk, juice, soup... even tea; to help supply some of your fluid requirements. Drinking more fluids is especially important when increasing fibre intake.

FICTION: Calories eaten after six o'clock go right to your hips.

FACT: Calories supply the same energy at all hours of the day. However, if you tend to eat more when relaxing, take a look at the types of foods you're choosing. Instead of high fat snacks in front of the TV, fill the munching bowl with grapes or unbuttered popcorn.