Although it’s hardly a credible source of dietary advice, Fitness magazine nevertheless ventured into the middle of the diet-health controversies recently with an article titled, “The Truth About Common Nutrition Myths.”
Given its audience of self-selected health enthusiasts, it made sense that the magazine’s editors focused on exploring the myths about secret diets and special foods that can trigger miraculous weight loss, or maybe the rapid appearance of a chiseled set of six-pack abs.
Some of the myths the magazine attempted to debunk were just silly, such as “Red wine is heart-healthy,” and “Loading up on fruit helps you slim down.” I suppose a fair number of so-called fitness freaks might believe that latter statement is accurate, but seriously, the only way a fruit-heavy diet can result in weight loss is if it displaces other, more nutrient-dense foods (like animal proteins), and, not to be too graphic, “digestive distress” that can causes the wrong kind of weight loss.
As for the rest of the list, it’s a mixed bag. Here’s a review of three of the more common dietary myths:
A grilled chicken sandwich beats a burger. Is that true? Marginally. Give the Fitness editors credit for debunking the “white-beats-red” mythology when it comes to eating meat. For the last 30 years, the poultry industry, the chicken chains and (seemingly) the entire medical/dietary establishment has done a hard sell on the idea that poultry is intrinsically healthier than beef or pork. No matter how much breading is piled on, no matter how greasy the deep fryer, not matter which fat-laden condiments are smeared onto it, the average American believes with a conviction rivaling religious faith that a sandwich containing chicken is automatically better for you than even the leanest, plainest burger on a bun.
And that no matter how they’re prepared, beef or pork are unhealthy, environmentally destructive and, by the way, more expensive.
Here’s the reality. Although the margin of difference isn’t monumental, the typical fast-food hamburger sandwich is lower in calories than a grilled chicken sandwich (390 vs. 420), comparable in fat (about 9.8 grams apiece) and distinctly lower in sodium (about 1,100 mgs. vs. 1,239 mgs.).
And that’s comparing a double hamburger to a chicken patty, which equals them both out at around 8 ounces each in raw weight. Unfortunately, the Fitness editors apparently failed to account for the fact that a single burger patty only weighs 4 ounces, so their comparison was highly slanted in favor of a hamburger. Use comparable weights, however, and the scales still tilt slightly toward beef.