Did You Know? Frozen Facts and Myths

Myth : Fresh foods are more nutritious than frozen foods
Fact: There is no difference in nutrition between fresh produce and frozen produce. Because of the nutrients that are lost due to most commercial food production of fresh produce, as well as the nutrients lost during the blanching and reheating processes of frozen food, the nutrient profiles of each are relatively the same.

Myth :  To get rid of any bacteria on meat, poultry, or seafood, one should rinse off the juices with water first.
Fact: Actually, rinsing meat, poultry, or seafood with water can increase the chance of food poisoning by splashing juices (and any bacteria they might contain) onto your sink and counters. The best way to cook meat, poultry, or seafood safely is to make sure you cook it to the right temperature.

Myth : The additives and chemicals used as preservatives are not regulated and checked
Fact: Food additives that are approved and permitted by authorities are used in food processing industry and a regulatory committee keeps a strict vigil on the amount and the types of those additives. It is also a rule in food processing industry throughout the world to list every ingredient used in processing of that particular food item.

Myth : The additives in processed foods are not necessary
Fact: Food additives play an important role in preserving the freshness, safety, taste, appearance and texture of processed foods. Food additives are added for particular purposes, whether it is to ensure food safety or to maintain food quality during the shelf-life of a product. For example, antioxidants prevent fats and oils from becoming rancid while preservatives prevent or reduce the growth of microbes (e.g. mould on bread) and thickeners allow fruit preparations to “gel” so they can be spread onto toasted bread.

Myth : Processed foods offer no benefits
Fact: Food processing makes many foods available that we could not otherwise eat. Without food processing we certainly would not have the large variety of food products we see on supermarket and store shelves. Food processing enables the year-round availability of foods that have limited growing seasons. Frozen and canned fruits, vegetables and meat products are examples. Processing extends the shelf life of foods. Tinned fish and UHT milk are two examples of nutritious foods that are readily available as a result of food processing. Processing also improves food safety by a variety of methods– for example; heating to sufficiently high temperatures destroys harmful bacteria; certain additives help prevent fats going off (rancid) and prevent the growth of harmful fungus and bacteria; packaging helps to prevent product tampering.

Myth : All packaged or processed foods are bad for you
Fact: It's true that many packaged foods are highly processed, high in calories, sodium and added sugars, and low in nutrients. Just because a food comes in a package does not mean that it is highly processed or bad for you. Brown rice, whole-wheat bread, milk, lowfat yogurt, frozen vegetables, pre-sliced fruit--all of these healthful foods come in packages. Don't write off every food that's packaged. Look at the ingredients list first to be the judge about the quality of the food and its ingredients. Choose portion-controlled items that are made from the most wholesome ingredients and are low in sodium and added sweeteners.

Myth : Freezing preserves food indefinitely.
Fact: While freezing dramatically increases the life of your food, all food can lose freshness and flavor over time. Many of your favorite frozen foods list a "best-by" date to ensure you are getting the highest quality meal possible.

Myth : All packaged foods are high in sodium.
Fact: Processed foods tend to be high in sodium because it helps preserve foods longer and increase flavor. However, consumer demand for low-sodium foods is slowly changing the marketplace. Manufacturers are responding by voluntarily reducing the sodium in many of their products--and not just the low-sodium varieties. Be sure to read nutrition facts labels to find out how much sodium a particular food contains and choose low-, no- or reduced-sodium versions of your favorite soups, frozen meals, canned foods, and snacks. Even butter is available without added salt!

Myth : Frozen prepared meals are more expensive than restaurant take-out meals.
Fact: The latest trend in frozen meals includes restaurant- inspired entrées. Stouffer's recently launched a new line of meals called Corner Bistro, which are inspired by casual dining restaurants and include items such as Seafood Scampi, Sesame Chicken and Monterey Chicken. At just under $4 each, these meals are a great alternative to eating out.

Myth : All frozen foods contain preservatives.
Fact: It's a common misconception, but added preservatives are not necessary to preserve frozen food. Freezing in itself acts as a natural preservative. In fact, many of your favorite frozen foods, like Stouffer's lasagna, contain no preservatives.

Myth: Frozen meals don't use real ingredients.
Fact: You may be surprised to learn that many frozen meals use the highest quality ingredients and are made the way you would, if you had the time. This includes real cheese and even pasta made from scratch. Check the packaging of your favorite macaroni and cheese brand for the words "100% real cheese." If it says "100% real cheese" on the label, it is.

Myth : Frozen and canned fruits and veggies are less nutritious than fresh ones
Fact: Fresh fruits and vegetables are more nutritious than the frozen and canned variety— the instant they are picked. However, the foods you find in the produce section have often had a long journey, often spending days or even weeks in transit from the farm or orchard. During shipping and storage, natural enzymes are released in fresh fruit and vegetables that cause them to lose nutrients. By contrast, food processors quick-freeze fresh-picked produce, which preserves much of its vitamin and mineral content.

Myth : Processed foods are not as healthy for me as fresh foods
Fact: In some cases this is true, but a lot of processed foods are just as healthy, sometimes even healthier than fresh foods. This all depends on how they are processed. For example, frozen fruit and frozen vegetables are usually processed within hours of being picked. Because hardly any nutrients get lost in the freezing process they stay very healthy. They are often cheaper for you to buy too, which makes them a fantastic option to help make up your 5 A DAY

Myth : Spicy food gives you an ulcer
Fact: Spices don’t trigger ulcers. We now know that the bacteria Helicobacter pylori cause almost all ulcers, except those triggered by certain medications, like aspirin. What spices can do is exacerbate an irritable bowel, which people often mistake for an ulcer.

Myth : Dried, tinned or frozen fruit is not as healthy as fresh fruit
Fact: Most of us know that as part of a healthy balanced diet we should be eating at least five portions of fruit and vegetable each day. But what a lot of us don’t know is that these can be fresh fruits, frozen fruits, canned fruits, dried fruits, tinned fruits or juiced fruit. And the same goes for vegetables. Good news, huh?

Myth : Raw carrots are more nutritious than cooked.
Fact : Cooking actually increases carrots’ nutritional value! The process breaks down the tough cellular walls that encase the beta-carotene.

Myth : To minimize fat and calories, always remove the skin before cooking chicken.
Fact : Baking, broiling, grilling, or roasting poultry with the skin intact helps preserve its natural juices. Cook with the skin—and then remove before serving.

Myth : If you don't eat enough healthy foods, taking a supplement will cover your bases.
Fact : A poor diet supplemented with vitamins is still a poor diet. Food remains your best source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals that are necessary for good health, and there has been no evidence to date that proves people who take supplements are any healthier than those who don't. Spend a little more time and money on delicious, tasty meals and snacks to meet your nutritional needs instead of supplements. Remember that a supplement is just that--a little extra in addition to wise food choices like real fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean proteins and calcium-rich dairy (or non-dairy) products.

Myth : If you don't eat enough healthy foods, taking a supplement will cover your bases.
Fact: A poor diet supplemented with vitamins is still a poor diet. Food remains your best source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals that are necessary for good health, and there has been no evidence to date that proves people who take supplements are any healthier than those who don't. Spend a little more time and money on delicious, tasty meals and snacks to meet your nutritional needs instead of supplements. Remember that a supplement is just that--a little extra in addition to wise food choices like real fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean proteins and calcium-rich dairy (or non-dairy) products.

Myth : Carbonated drinks are bad for you.
Fact: Sodium-free seltzer with a wedge of lemon or lime quenches thirst without hurting your health. Soda, on the other hand, will contribute to weight gain, cavities, high blood pressure, and many other unhealthy problems.

Myth : Certain foods are 'good' for you while others are inherently 'bad' for your health.
Fact: There are no "good" or "bad" foods. A healthy, active body can utilize a certain amount of virtually all kinds of nutrients, including refined sugar and saturated fat--it's simply a question of reasonable amounts. Enjoying a serving of chips during your favorite sitcom isn't going to cause detrimental health effects, but overconsumption of chips or other foods could lead to problems. Eating too much, even when healthy foods (fruits and vegetables), can also be detrimental to your health and weight-management efforts. Like many things in food and in life, moderation is essential.

Myth : Fat-free and reduced-calorie foods are the best options for weight loss.
Fact: These days, nearly every full-fat food, from cookies to ice cream, has a fat-free counterpart. It's the first instinct of many people to simply eat these reduced-fat and no-fat foods to control their weight; however, this tactic could actually derail your good intentions. Why? Because most of the fat-free foods you can buy are things you shouldn't be eating anyway: empty-calorie junk food and heavily processed sweets, crackers and cookies. These items have been available for more than a decade, but people aren't getting any thinner by eating them. Remember, dietary fat isn't the sole culprit that has made us overweight; excess calories are the issue, and fat-free doesn't mean calorie-free. All the reduced-fat foods in the world will not help you lose weight if you're making poor food choices or eating too many calories in general.

Myth : The only way to eat healthier is to spend more time in the kitchen.
Fact: In an ideal world, we'd grow our own food, know our farmers, make every meal from scratch and know exactly how our food was prepared. Does that take a lot of time? You bet! But is that the singular definition of healthy eating? No way. You can still eat healthier without spending hours in the kitchen, especially if you rely on quick and simple recipes, a slow cooker, and other prepared food items that save you time in the kitchen. Canned foods are pre-cooked, frozen veggies and entrees are great in a pinch, and deli-sliced meats or pre-cut fruits can help you save time while still eating healthier. There are plenty of shortcuts that will help you eat healthier without investing more time into your meal preparation.

Myth : Healthy food is just too expensive!
Fact: Lots of people think this is true, but it’s actually more likely you will find a lot of cheap healthy meal ideas that help save you money. You just need to be clever about it. Buy what’s local and in season. Make meat go further in casseroles or stir-fries by mixing it with cheaper healthy alternatives such as beans, pulses and frozen veg. Cook batches of dishes such as chilli, curry or stew, and freeze them in handy sizes. Then you will have a cheap healthy meal that will last and last.

Myth : It doesn't matter how fast or slow you eat each meal as long as you're not overeating.
Fact: There is truth in the benefit of slowing down and appreciating the world around you, food included. Focusing on every bite can help you practice mindful eating, which has been shown to cut down on calorie intake. Slowing down between bites allows you to recognize your feelings of hunger and satiety so you have a chance to realize when you’ve had enough—then stop before you clean your plate and later regret it. Eating at a relaxed pace also means you'll chew your food more thoroughly, thus experiencing fewer digestive issues and less intestinal upset. This may take some practice. The hustle and bustle of daily life often catches up with us and sometimes it takes a conscious effort to take it easy and give your brain a chance to enjoy the food and tell you when you’re full.

Myth : Missing breakfast is a good way to lose weight
Fact: Breakfast is such an important meal. This is because when we’re asleep, we are also 'fasting' for about eight hours, so it’s pretty important to ’break’ this by having some food when we get up. Here are some of the effects of skipping breakfast. People who skip breakfast are unlikely to catch up on all the vitamins and minerals having breakfast provides later on in the day. If we miss out on breakfast, this often makes us feel hungry later on, so we can end up snacking by mid-morning on foods that are high in sugar or fat. So, skipping breakfast often ends up being unhealthier than having a good breakfast in the first place!

Myth : You might as well give up all of your favorite foods if you want to lose weight Fact: With moderation and portion control, you can still eat your favorites without straying from your goals. By allowing yourself little treats, you'll still be able to eat what you love, gradually decrease the intensity of your cravings, and avoid binges that could derail your weight loss efforts.

Myth : If I don’t exercise really hard all the time, it’s waste of time
Fact: Nothing could be farther from the truth. Even moderate exercise, such as walking, gardening, playing games, dancing or doing other fun things can have fantastic benefits. Gardening for as little as an hour a week could reduce the risk of heart disease. So just imagine what taking a 'boogie break' or walking the kids to school could do! We all need to try for 60 active minutes a day, but there are lots of easy ways to make this up, you might be already doing some!

Myth : Those with diabetes have to give up sweets.
Fact: In moderation, an occasional sweet treat is fine. The key to maintaining healthy blood glucose levels is balancing meals and snacks to provide a mixture of carbs, fats, and proteins.

Myth : Vitamin C can keep you from catching a cold.
Fact: Research has shown that vitamin C does not ward off colds, except among marathoners, skiers, and soldiers on sub-Arctic exercise

Myth : Is It OK for a Man with High Cholesterol to Eat Shrimp?
Fact: For most men with high cholesterol levels, eating shrimp in moderate amounts does not further raise cholesterol. Shrimp contains little saturated fat. According to American Heart Association, about 75 percent of the cholesterol circulating in the body is produced within the body itself. Your liver makes most of your cholesterol, with only 25 percent coming from dietary sources. Hygiene

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