Let’s bust some food myths.

If you have any pre-conceived ideas about Cacao vs Cocoa, Fruit Juice, Milk and Bone Health, Couscous and Oranges, then you may just need to read on. For where there are blind spots in terms of food and nutrition beliefs, I would like to provide a little clarity.

Myth #1: Cacao and cocoa are the same, it’s simply a spelling error. [FALSE]

There is in fact a distinct difference between these two, and it does get a little confusing. Cocoa and cacao are both products of the cocoa bean. The cocoa bean is rich in minerals such as magnesium, and full of antioxidants.

The difference between cacao and cocoa comes in the processing. To produce cacao, the cocoa beans are cold-pressed and then ground. This preserves the antioxidant content and living enzymes. Cocoa on the other hand, is roasted before being ground, thus destroying the living enzymes and decreasing the antioxidant content to an extent. It is the cheaper option, and still carries some of the benefit, but cacao is far superior.

Myth #2: Fruit juice is healthier than a fizzy drink. [FALSE]

Yes, fruit contains vitamins and minerals that are healthy for us but quite frankly, stick to eating the whole thing. The scary truth is that fruit juices can contain up to 7½ tsps. of sugar per glass! Compare that to the average of 6 tsps. of sugar per can of a sugar-sweetened fizzy drink, and you can see why you should be concerned. It’s no wonder kids can still get hyper after drinking fruit juice, it’s packed with sugar! Please stick to eating the whole fruit and get the benefit of the fiber (in the skin) as well as the vitamins and minerals.

Myth #3: Milk is absolutely essential for bone health. [FALSE]

We have been bombarded with advertisements promoting calcium from milk to prevent osteoporosis and keep our bones healthy and strong. If you are intolerant of milk your bones need not suffer.

You can obtain nondairy calcium by including leafy green vegetables such as collards, bok choy and spinach into your diet. Yes, milk is a source of calcium. Yes, you need calcium for your bones. But did you know that you can do even better for your bones if you combine calcium with a good intake of supportive nutrients specifically magnesium, vitamin K2 and vitamin D3? Gone are the days of taking calcium supplements in isolation. Look for a combination of bone supportive nutrients.

Myth #4: Couscous is a grain [FALSE]

If it were not for my degree containing a component regarding the classification of foods into specific groups, I probably would have continued to believe that couscous is a grain. It does appear deceptively alike to one doesn’t it? However, sadly, couscous is in actual fact more alike to pasta than to grains. It is actually classified as a “coarsely ground pasta” made from semolina (a type of wheat). The semolina is moistened and tossed in fine wheat flour until it forms round balls (a wheat-flour snowball if you will). Unfortunately, a couscous salad is in a sense, now a pasta salad.

Myth #5: Oranges have the most vitamin C. [FALSE]

I do not know who first came up with the marketing of oranges as vitamin C powerhouses, but clearly their marketing budget was rather large because this is a myth that is stuck in all of our minds! Did you know that a cup of chopped red bell pepper (sweet pepper) contains almost 3 x more vitamin C than an orange? More than that, you can get more vitamin C in a serving of kale, broccoli, papaya, strawberries, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kiwi or mango than in one medium orange.

Just a tip, if you are sick and needing extra vitamin C do not drink a glass of orange juice in order to get it. The sugar content will make sure that the nasty flu bug population in your body will only continue to thrive!

Final Points

As far as busting food myths goes, I think I will leave it at those 5 for now. I can guarantee however that I will come back to bust some more food myths very soon! There is a wealth of food misinformation our there, so keep an eye out for my next instalment on this subject.

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