"Bad" Food Myths

From beef and potatoes, to eggs and peanut butter, there are many foods out there you may have been avoiding due to their notorious “bad” reputations. This is a shame considering many of them are not only delicious, but received their bad rank hastily.


Beef has long been shunned for being too high in saturated fat and cholesterol. This combination is considered the antithesis for anyone who cares about heart health. While it is true that certain kinds of beef are marbled with saturated fat and cholesterol, there are many lean cuts of beef that provide quality protein to support muscle repair and recovery. It is also rich in iron and vitamin B12 which are both important for transporting oxygen to working muscles, fighting fatigue, and supporting a healthy immune system. To take advantage of the benefits beef provides, choose lean cuts like top round and sirloin.


Many tend to stay away from potatoes because they are ranked highly on the glycemic index. This means they raise blood sugar quickly and therefore can contribute to energy surges and slumps. However, glycemic index ratings aren’t always accurate, because a food’s effect on blood sugar changes when it’s eaten with other foods. For example, a baked potato stuffed with turkey chili and topped with a dollop of yogurt will be digested more slowly because it’s eaten with protein and fat. Typically, we consume foods in combination, so the glycemic index is only one point of reference when considering a food’s effect on blood sugar. Potatoes are a good source of fiber, potassium, and vitamin C making them a great option for athletes as well as couch potatoes alike!


Eggs are one of the most notoriously “bad” foods around due to concern over their cholesterol content. While it is true that one egg contains about 185mg of cholesterol, the amount of cholesterol you eat does not always impact the amount of cholesterol in your body. In fact, your body produces cholesterol, and we all have a “set point” that our body uses to make more cholesterol when we eat too little, or to cut back production when we eat too much. Eggs are one of the most nutrient and antioxidant dense foods available, and although there are always individual exceptions, as a general rule of thumb enjoying eggs in moderation is an egg-cellent option!

Peanut Butter

When it comes to peanut butter, it can be hard to hear the critics. The biggest “problem” is that it is calorie dense, so a spoonful here and there can quickly become a dietary disaster! A 2 Tbsp. serving provides 8 healthy grams of protein, but a whopping 190 calories and 16 grams of fat making it more of a fat than a protein source. It is essential to have healthy fats in our diet, and that’s where peanut butter comes into play! When purchasing peanut butter, avoid varieties with hydrogenated oils (trans-fats), as well as those labeled “low-fat” as they are often higher in sugar and contain stabilizers. When dishing out your peanut butter, keep a golf ball size portion in mind to keep calories in check.

Sarah Mattison Berndt, MS, RD, CD
Owner Fit Fresh Cuisine & Hybrid Athletic Club

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