Are these nutrition statements fact or fiction?

Nancy Teeter, RDN

A high protein diet is necessary to prevent muscle loss.

While seniors may be at risk for muscle loss, it can be prevented by two things: weight training and diet. This statement is mostly fiction. I recommend that each meal include about 20 grams of protein. Good protein sources include intact grains (particularly quinoa), whole soy (edamame and tofu), fish, lean meat, eggs and poultry.

Eating eggs are bad for your heart.

It is true that egg yolks have the highest concentration of cholesterol of any food, but studies suggest that eating one egg per day will not raise blood cholesterol levels; thus, this statement is false. Certain medical conditions may warrant minimizing egg consumption, so follow the advice of your dietitian or doctor.

Vitamin supplements are for everyone.

If you eat a variety of fruits, vegetables and intact grains, along with quality protein, you may not need to supplement, so on the surface, this statement is fiction. However, most Americans don’t get the recommended number of servings of fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains, so I frequently recommend a multi-vitamin designed for our age group.

To be healthy, you must drink eight glasses of water a day.

Every day you need to replace water lost through breathing, excrement and sweating, but that doesn’t mean you must guzzle a half gallon of water each day. All beverages, including coffee and tea are hydrating. In addition, fruits and vegetables are good sources of fluid. As we age, our sense of thirst declines, but it’s easy to tell if you are getting enough fluid. If your urine is pale yellow, you are doing a good job. If it’s a darker yellow, consume more fluids.

Eating after a workout will improve recovery.

According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, this is true. The goals of post-workout nutrition are to: 1) Restore fluid and electrolytes lost in sweat; 2) Replace muscle fuel utilized during activity and 3) Provide protein to aid in repair of damaged muscle tissue and to stimulate development of new tissue. Water is the least expensive and convenient means to replace the fluids. To refuel and restore lost electrolytes, I recommend a light snack such as graham crackers with peanut butter, a cup of low-fat milk and a small banana.

You need special juices to detox.

Your liver and kidneys “detox” your body constantly. A meal pattern high in fruits and vegetables, intact grains, nuts and fatty fish are all you need to keep all systems of the body “go”, so you also don’t need to pursue a detox diet. Detox diets can be hit and miss depending on the person and how they react to certain foods, there are ways of detoxing the body by having a foot bath detox instead, this pulls out the toxins within the body and can also be calming for you, this can be more beneficial to your health instead of juice diets. Always check with a health professional first before trying to see if it could be a good fit for you.

I hope you enjoyed testing your knowledge by reading this article and the one in the May edition. It can be extremely difficult for even educated and trained professionals to weed out fact from fiction. Registered dietitians are excellent sources when you have questions about nutrition and health.

Nancy Teeter is a registered dietitian and SaddleBrooke resident.