arthritis food myths

5 Food Myths Debunked

Healthy nutrition is essential for people with arthritis. But even if you’re a smart eater, misleading or dated headlines might lead you to buy into nutrition misinformation. To help separate fact from fiction, experts share the truth behind some common healthy-eating myths.

You should eat “superfoods.”

THE FACTS: The buzz is mostly marketing. Pomegranates and goji berries might have different nutrients than their average-joe counterparts, like apples, but they’re no more nutritious. “The key to getting the most nutrients is eating a variety of fruits and vegetables,” says registered dietitian Kristin Kirkpatrick, nutrition lead at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute and author of Skinny Liver (Da Capo Press, 2017).

Fat is bad for you.

THE FACTS: Not all fats are created equal. Research shows that unsaturated fats may lower your cardiovascular risk (which is particularly important for people with inflammatory arthritis) and keep you full longer, encouraging weight loss. The omega-3 fats found in fish and walnuts may even ease inflammation. Watch out for saturated fat, which has the opposite effect. And skip trans fats altogether. 

Eating eggs can raise your cholesterol.

THE FACTS: It turns out that cholesterol in foods such as eggs doesn’t raise the cholesterol in your blood as much as once thought. According to a 2016 study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, having an egg a day didn’t raise the risk of heart disease. However, eggs contain saturated fat, so don’t overdo it. If you have heart disease, ask your doctor about eating eggs, says Kirkpatrick.

Sea salt is better for you than table salt.

THE FACTS: Both contain about 2,300 milligrams of sodium per teaspoon. “Sea salt comes from the sea versus a salt mine, but it’s not any healthier,” says Kim Larson, registered dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. There are conflicting reports about how much salt is too much, but excess salt may lead to high blood pressure. One perk of table salt: It’s usually fortified with iodine, which is important for thyroid function. Trying to cut sodium? Use salt when serving instead of during cooking. 

Gluten-free diets are healthier.

THE FACTS: Unless you have celiac disease or gluten intolerance, there’s no medical reason to avoid gluten, although some people say their arthritis symptoms improve after cutting it. In fact, a study presented at the American Heart Association’s 2017 Scientific Sessions found that people who ate the least gluten were 13 percent more likely to develop diabetes than those who ate the most, possibly because many gluten-free products have less fiber

Author: Sharon Liao

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