DOES SPINACH MAKE YOU STRONG? DOES SUGAR MAKE YOU FAT? SIX FOOD MYTHS PUT TO THE TEST
The subject of healthy nutrition for children is at the centre of many debates. How much sugar is too much? Do children need green vegetables? Some answers are now taken for granted while others change according to new scientific discoveries. And other rules are simply myths to unravel. Here are a few:
Is spinach good for you?
The answer is definitely yes. Spinach is a type of rich green vegetable which, in addition to vitamins and minerals, supplies folic acid, an element that is often in short supply in our diet. But the famous iron content of spinach is not as high as many assume. Certainly, eating as much spinach as Popeye will make you grow strong and healthy. Those who don’t want to eat spinach, can get folic acid from tomatoes, cabbage, whole wheat bread and lentils. Iron is also present in meat, whole wheat bread and lentils. You can find all these at your nearest Lidl store.
Does sugar make you fat?
The correct answer is: it depends! Sugar creates a great deal of energy quickly and we get fat only when we consume too many calories. However, those who prefer continual desserts, puddings and cakes to healthy foods such as vegetables, whole wheat bread, oatmeal and milk, consume excess calories quickly and get too few nutrients. Also in the case of sugar, the famous food rule applies: everything depends on the amount.
Fructose is healthy, right?
Yes, if derived from fruits. The ideal would be to eat the fruit naturally as it is. This way the body receives a real bomb of vitamins, minerals and fibre. But if the fructose is contained in yoghurt for children, granola bars and breakfast cereals, it is often the case that you eat too much of it; which can cause harm or cause you to gain weight.
If you eat cherries and then drink water your belly will bloat. Is this true?
In this case it has to be said that we don't know. There is an old rhyming game "If you eat cherries and then drink water your belly will bloat" and this rhyme has existed for a long time. The ball passes from hand to hand and, when a child lets it fall, he or she must continue with a verse of the rhyme. The loser is the first one to get to the last line. However, a relationship between fruit, water and stomach aches has not been proven. One possible explanation could be that drinking water, once upon a time not always pure, would ferment the cherries. Which would explain the stomach ache.
Does fresh bread make your stomach ache?
The answer is no, because it contains exactly what less fresh bread contains. The myth seems to date back to a time when fresh bread was a rare luxury and children were told "Fresh bread will give you a stomach ache" so they would eat stale bread without complaining. Let's face it: fresh bread is delicious and perhaps that might make you eat too much, which would explain the stomach ache.
Butter or margarine?
A question perfectly connected to that of the bread is: butter or margarine? The answer divides breakfast lovers into two factions. Father and daughter adore the taste of butter, mother and son prefer the vegetable-based product. But both have advantages and disadvantages: butter has a mild flavour and is a natural product. Cholesterol, once greatly feared, has recently been rehabilitated. Margarine instead is based on vegetable oils, sometimes enriched with vitamins. Modern manufacturing processes have enabled us to minimize the content of the infamous trans fatty acids. At Lidl, of course, you can find both butter and margarine.