More myths: drink eight glasses of water a day

Food mythsYou should drink eight glasses of water a day

It’s important to keep well-hydrated, but milk, juice and even soft drinks can contribute to your water requirements. (However, coffee, tea or anything else that’s caffeinated will act as a diuretic, so it’ll dehydrate you half as much as it’ll fill you up).

Also, bear in mind that water requirements vary from person to person depending on their weight and level of activity. Some dieticians recommend that to figure out your water intake, you should divide your weight in kilograms by 30. The number you come up with is the amount, in litres, you need per day. For example, if you weigh 50kg, you’d need 1.6 litres of water every day. However, it’s important to bear in mind that these figures have been controversial for years and some experts feel the amount of water people really need is exaggerated. Another factor to take into account is the season. In summer, when it’s hot, you’ll always need a little more hydration to replace the water you lose through extra perspiration.

All fats are bad for you

Back in the 80s, ‘fat-free’ diets were all the rage and all fats got a bad rap. But science has gone on to prove that not all fats are the same and some are actually beneficial to our health. The good kind can help lower bad cholesterol and are referred to as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. The mono’s can be found in nuts, avocado and olive oil, while the poly’s exist in salmon, fish oil and sunflower oil. Omega-3 fatty acids belong to this group and now there’s evidence to prove that this particular ‘healthy fat’ can lower your blood pressure, decrease your risk of heart disease, act as a mild antidepressant, improve memory, mood and concentration. What’s not to love?

Dried fruit doesn’t count towards your 5-a-day

Actually, it does. Dried fruit is a great source of fibre, vitamins and minerals. However, what dried fruit lacks is vitamin C, which is found in fresh fruit and veggies like tomatoes. That’s why it’s best to get your five servings of fruit and veg from a variety of different sources. To help you out with portions, remember that one serving size is 80g when it comes to fresh fruit or veg; one tablespoon is a portion for dried fruit and 150ml, for fresh fruit juice. And remember, as fruit juice doesn’t contain any fibre, it only counts towards one of your five a day.

You don’t have to be careful about washing organic produce

All fruits and vegetables, whether you buy them from a supermarket or an organic farm stall, could easily be carrying nasty bacteria. (Think E. Coli and salmonella!) However, there’s an effective way to ensure you’re well-protected: simply run your goodies under clean, running water. It’s as easy as that.

Sprinkling lemon juice on your meat helps to dissolve any fat

Sadly, no. The most effective way to remove fat from your meat is simply to cut it off.

<< Big fat lies

This article originally appeared in Heart Magazine, for the Heart and Stroke Foundation SA

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