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Five common myths about nutrition

When National Public Radio conducted a survey of 3,000 Americans a few years ago, it found that 75 percent thought they were eating a healthy diet. However, in reality, the Centers for Disease Control claims that 80 percent of Americans aren’t eating the recommended daily amount of fruit and vegetables, one of the most important building blocks of a good diet. Part of the confusion comes from the many conflicting terms applied to foods. Just because something is labeled “organic” or “natural” does not necessarily mean it is healthy. Continually changing information about foods can also be frustrating. Coffee was once labeled bad but now it is considered beneficial in limited amounts. With 36 percent of Americans weighing in at obese, it may be wise to straighten out a few nutritional misconceptions.

Grains are the most important part of a diet.
Grains have gotten a lot of attention in recent years. While grains do have nutritional value, they don’t have the same amount of nutrients as vegetables and fruits. All grains are not equal. When grains are processed, the germ and bran are removed, which gives them a finer texture and extends their shelf life. However, the  refining process also removes many nutrients, including fiber. Refined grains include white flour, white rice and white bread. Many breads, cereals, and pastries are made with refined grains and do not have much nutritional value. The beneficial grains are whole grains, which contain fiber and other important nutrients, such as B vitamins, iron, folate, selenium, potassium and magnesium. Whole grains can be found in brown rice and popcorn, or whole-wheat flour bread.

Food items labeled as low-fat are the best choices.
Low-fat does sound like a healthy choice but the problem is the processing and additions that happen to produce low-fat food. When all of the natural fats are taken out of a product, they are often replaced with artificial ingredients which are less healthy. Some food manufacturers increase the sugars or other sweeteners to make the food more appealing. Many low-fat food products end up being very unhealthy. Check the labels to be sure you know what you are getting.

Gluten-free foods are part of a healthy diet.
Avoiding gluten is only a healthy choice if you have celiac disease or are sensitive to gluten. Gluten is a protein that is found in wheat, barley and rye grains. People with celiac disease have an immune reaction that is triggered when they eat foods with gluten. In most cases, people with celiac disease  develop inflammation and damage in their intestinal tracts and other parts of the body from eating gluten. However, it is estimated that only about one percent of the population has celiac disease. A common notion, however, is that a gluten-free diet is healthy for all, which is not based on fact. Gluten-free foods are commonly less fortified with folic acid, iron and other nutrients than regular, gluten-containing foods. Gluten-free products often also have more sugar and fat in them to make them more appealing. Several studies have found a trend toward weight gain and obesity among those who follow a gluten-free diet.

Dairy products are unhealthy because they make you fat.
Dairy products are actually an important part of a healthy diet because they contain protein, which is vital for building muscles, strengthening bones and keeping your organs operating properly. Many dairy products like milk and yogurt are fortified with vitamin D, which helps the body use calcium. There are many dairy products that are low-fat or even fat-free that will deliver the important nutrition to your diet with fewer calories. The key is to limit the amount of milk, cheese, yogurt or other dairy product to three servings a day.

All fats are bad and should be eliminated from diets.
Fat can and should be part of a healthy diet. It just can’t be too big of a part of your diet. Fat provides essential nutrients but it also have more calories per ounce than proteins or carbohydrates. So, to lose weight, cut back on fats but don’t eliminate them. Some very healthy fats include avocados and nuts. The key is to try to consume 10 percent or less of your total daily calories from saturated fats.

When a healthy diet is crucial
During a time of recovery from surgery or a medical event, eating a healthy diet is very important since the body needs energy and nutrients to heal. Choosing to recover in a short-term care facility following a hospital stay is one way to be sure of getting the proper nutrition.

When medical challenges do arise, consider continuing your resolve to stay healthy by choosing to recover at Whitehall of Deerfield, where you will find the medical and physical assistance you need to get back to your normal life. Whitehall of Deerfield, the area’s premier post-hospital rehabilitation center, has consistently received Medicare’s highest rating in Medicare’s five-star rating system of nursing and rehabilitation centers, making it one of the best options for recovery in the area. The expert staff is dedicated to providing the highest standards of customer service and clinical care.

In addition to exceptional care, Whitehall of Deerfield will provide you with world-class accommodations and amenities to make your stay comfortable. Attentive concierge service, daily delivery of Starbucks coffee and newspaper to your room, valet parking for your visitors, concierge service, in-room dining and a Wellness Spa are just a few of the many services offered during a stay at Whitehall of Deerfield. Meals from a diverse menu can be taken in the privacy of your room or in the elegant dining room. Gourmet coffee, freshly-baked goods and ice cream refreshments are also available to all guests.

The staff at Whitehall at Deerfield strives to address every guest’s needs in luxurious surroundings giving your stay a world-class feel. To learn more about Whitehall of Deerfield, visit whitehallofdeerfield.com or call 847-945-4600.

300 Waukegan Road Deerfield, IL 60015 | 847.945.4600