By Sue Mah, MHSc, RD, PHEc, FDC
There is so much health-related food and nutrition information out there. Do you struggle to make sense of it all? You’re not alone! It’s not easy to translate science and research into life-changing advice. Registered Dietitians are trusted credible experts who try to clearly communicate the power of food and nutrition and its connection to health. Here are some common myths related to Canadian food ingredients and the truths behind them.
MYTH: “Egg Yolks are Bad for You”
TRUTH: Eggs – including both the whites and the yolks – are packed with nutrition!
Eggs contain 14 essential vitamins and minerals, including high quality protein, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin B12, folate and iron. Eggs are also one of the few foods which naturally contain vitamin D (for bone health) and choline (for brain health).
You may have heard that eggs are high in cholesterol. The truth is that one large egg contains under 200 mg of cholesterol. If you’re generally healthy, there is no need to restrict cholesterol-containing foods such as eggs. In fact, two recent studies in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and the British Medical Journal found that eating eggs isn’t likely to increase the risk of heart disease in the healthy population. For most people, the amount of fat we eat (rather than the amount of cholesterol we eat) has a bigger impact on our blood cholesterol levels. If you have diabetes, cardiovascular disease or high blood cholesterol, it may be helpful to watch the amount of cholesterol you’re eating. Talk to a dietitian about the amount of cholesterol that is right for you.
And while we’re talking about eggs, let’s crack the myth about white versus brown eggs. The bottom line is that white eggs are laid by white-feathered hens, while brown eggs are laid by (you guessed it…) brown-feathered hens. Brown hens are typically larger than white hens, so they’ll eat more feed, which explains the higher price for brown eggs. When it comes to nutrition though, there is no difference between white and brown eggs – so the choice is yours!
Did you know? There are more than 1,000 egg farmers and farm families in Canada.
MYTH: “Brown Sugar is Better for you than White Sugar”
TRUTH: Brown sugar and white sugar are essentially the same.
Both contain about 4 grams of carbohydrates and 16 calories per teaspoon. The main difference is in the colour and taste.
Sugar is made from either sugar cane or sugar beet. Sugar cane is grown in tropical climates, whereas sugar beet is a root crop grown in more moderate climates. Here at home, sugar beets are grown in Alberta and Ontario. When mature, a sugar beet looks like a turnip with an off-white colour. Brown sugar is made by blending pure white sugar crystals with small amounts of molasses. The more molasses added, the darker the colour and the stronger the flavour of the brown sugar.
Sue’s Tip: Read food labels to find the amount of total sugars in food. Health Canada has set 100 grams of total sugars as the Daily Value (DV). Foods with 5 grams of sugars or less per serving are considered to have “a little” of sugars; foods with 15 grams or more sugars per serving are considered to have “a lot” of sugars.