When you’re trying to eat healthy and have no idea where to start, or what you should be doing, it can be confusing or overwhelming to sift through all of the information available. The internet has made it easy to share all kinds of information, and unfortunately this means that what you read is not always accurate.

I believe when it comes to healthy eating plans, a simple and realistic approach works best. I’ve looked into some common food myths that I think everyone should be aware of. Some of these have been around for quite some time — it’s definitely time to expose them as food myths!

Food myth: Fresh vegetables are healthier than frozen vegetables. 

While ‘fresh is best’ is a good thing in many cases, when it comes to fruit and vegetables, some studies have shown there is little difference in nutritional content. The reason for this is often fresh produce can remain in transit for several days (or even weeks) before they reach the supermarket shelves. This means the amount of nutrients may gradually decrease in these foods during that time.

The reason some frozen fruit or vegetables may be more nutritious than fresh is because they are often picked and frozen while in prime condition. This can mean their nutritional content is a little higher, as it’s not being lost while they are in transit.

So, now you’re probably wondering are fresh or frozen vegetables better? Don’t be scared of frozen fruit and vegetables. They can still offer plenty of nutritional value! Now, I know that this doesn’t work for all fruit and veggies — I’m not a big fan of soggy spinach for my salads!

Food myth: 100% fruit juice is the same as whole fruit

Fruits and vegetables can provide our bodies with a wide variety of nutrients. One of the most nutritious parts of a fruit is the pulp and skin, because they contain fibre (which is important for heart and digestive health, and it can help keep you feeling full between meals). When we buy fruit juice from the shops, the pulp and skin is often removed during processing, so ultimately you are left with a bottle of fruit sugar. While there is nothing wrong with fruit sugars when eaten in the right amounts, drinking bottled juice can make it super easy to consume a lot of it in a short period of time.

So are homemade juices better than store-bought? 

Think about it this way: when you eat an apple for a mid-morning snack, you generally just eat one, right? However, when you make an apple juice, you might need two, three or even four apples for a glass of juice. This dramatically increases the amount of fruit you are consuming in one go. When you eat the whole fruit, including the peel and the pulp, the fibre that it contains can help your body to break it down slowly, while also telling your brain when you’ve had enough. Because juice can be consumed much faster, your body may not be able to recognise these cue in the same way as it would when you eat the whole fruit.

Yes, fruit does contain a number of beneficial ingredients but don’t be fooled by fancy packaging and marketing of juices. Just remember to eat (or in this case, drink!) everything in moderation! Sometimes it’s easier and better to grab that apple and go!

Food myth: Dark bread is always better

When it comes to grain foods, such as bread, we’ve been taught to believe that darker = better. We associate the darker colour with less processing. However, the one thing many people may not realise is some manufacturers may add colours or small amounts of whole wheat to their bread to give us the illusion that their product is healthier, when it isn’t really nutritionally better than the white variety.

To avoid falling into this trap, it’s always a good idea to check the ingredients list. Make sure the first thing on the list has the word ‘whole’ or ‘wholemeal’ at the front, for example, whole wheat flour. That way you can be sure that you’re getting the real deal.

I hope that going over some of these tricky food myths has helped you separate fact from fiction! Remember, when it comes to your health, it’s always a good idea to focus on educating yourself as best you can! If you’re ever unsure whether something you’re eating is good for you or not, it’s a great idea to do a little research.