Debunking popular nutrition myths

There is so much information available regarding nutrition and physical activity.

It seems like every magazine, blog and social media site is offering tips and tricks to help us lose weight or become more fit. But the problem is a lot of that information is not accurate, leaving us feeling confused and discouraged.

Here are some common myths and facts explained from the National Institutes of Health.

Myth: Grain products such as bread, pasta, and rice are fattening. You should avoid them when trying to lose weight.

Fact: Grains themselves are not necessarily fattening — or unhealthy — although substituting whole grains for refined-grain products is healthier and may help you feel fuller. The latest recommendations including consuming at least half of the grains you eat as whole grains.

Examples of whole grains include brown rice and whole-wheat bread, cereal, and pasta. Whole grains provide iron, fiber and other important nutrients.

Myth: Choosing foods that are gluten-free will help you eat healthier.

Fact: Gluten-free foods are not healthier if you do not have celiac disease or are not sensitive to gluten. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye grains. A health care professional is likely to prescribe a gluten-free eating plan to treat people who have celiac disease or are sensitive to gluten.

If you do not have these health problems but avoid gluten anyway, you may not get the vitamins, fiber, and minerals you need. A gluten-free diet is not a weight-loss diet and is not intended to help you lose weight.

Myth: Physical activity only counts if you do it for long periods of time.

Fact: You do not need to be active for long periods to achieve your 150 to 300 minutes of activity each week. Experts advise doing aerobic activity for periods of 10 minutes or longer at a time. You can spread these sessions out over the week.

Myth: Lifting weights is not a good way to lose weight because it will make me “bulk up.”

Fact: Lifting weights or doing activities like push-ups and crunches on a regular basis can help you build strong muscles, which can help you burn more calories.

To strengthen muscles, you can lift weights, use large rubber bands (resistance bands), do push-ups or sit-ups, or do household or yard tasks that make you lift or dig.

Doing strengthening activities 2 or 3 days a week will not “bulk you up.” Only intense strength training, along with certain genetics, can build large muscles.

  • 3 pounds fresh asparagus spears
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • Dash of salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Wash asparagus spears and trim off tough ends. Leave whole or cut into shorter lengths

In a large bowl, toss spears with the oil, salt, and pepper. Place spears in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Lining the baking sheet with foil or baking parchment will help with clean-up.

Roast for 12 to 15 minutes or until the asparagus pieces are lightly browned. Thick spears will take a longer baking time.

Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours.

Nutrition information per serving: 45 calories, 2.5 g fat, 50 mg sodium, 5 g carbohydrate and 2 g fiber.

Recipe from: Oregon State Extension

Cami Wells is an Extension Educator for Nebraska Extension in Hall County. Contact her at (308) 385-5088 or at Visit the Hall County website at

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