5 Food Myths Busted: Grocery shopping mistakes that are costing you money and quality

Published on Thu Jul 22 14:41:00 UTC 2010
Carolyn Malcoun

5 Food Myths Busted: Grocery shopping mistakes that are costing you money and quality

Are brown eggs really more nutritious than white? Since I work for EatingWell, I get my share of these questions from family and friends (right after they ask me for my favorite recipes!). When I tell them that they just bought into a common grocery shopping myth that may cost them more money, they can’t resist asking for more. So I’m happy to bust 5 of these common grocery shopping myths right here, to help you save money without sacrificing quality.

Food Myth #1: Eggs with brown shells are more nutritious than those with white shells.
The color of the eggshell does not affect nutrition, but indicates the color of the bird’s feathers and earlobes. White eggs come from white hens with white earlobes, brown eggs come from red hens with red earlobes. And since brown eggs often cost a bit more than white eggs, you can save a little money and not sacrifice nutrition.

Related Link: 6 Superfoods for $1 or Less

Food Myth #2: A clear bottle is the best container for your milk.
Some people swear milk tastes better in pretty glass bottles, but actually it’s best stored in opaque containers to help prevent milk’s riboflavin—an extremely light-sensitive B vitamin—from breaking down. But which container is best for the environment: glass or plastic? The answer may surprise you.

Food Myth #3: Fresh vegetables are always a better choice over frozen.
Frozen vegetables may be even more healthful than some of the fresh produce sold in supermarkets. That’s because fruits and vegetables chosen for freezing tend to be processed at their peak ripeness, a time when—as a general rule—they are most nutrient-packed, while fruits and vegetables destined to be shipped to the fresh-produce aisles around the country typically are picked before they are ripe, which gives them less time to develop a full spectrum of vitamins and minerals. The first step of freezing vegetables—blanching them in hot water or steam to kill bacteria and arrest the action of food-degrading enzymes—causes some water-soluble nutrients to break down or leach out, but the subsequent flash-freeze locks the vegetables in a relatively nutrient-rich state. Plus, they’re relatively inexpensive, especially when compared with their “fresh” counterparts out of season.

Eat This: Tortellini Primavera, Strawberry Sherbet and more yummy recipes that use healthy frozen fruits and vegetables.

Food Myth #4: Wheat bread is made with whole-wheat.
Appealingly brown-colored bread or crackers labeled “flour,” “multi-grain” or “cracked wheat” are sometimes made mostly from refined white flour. The only reliable guide to ensuring that your choice is a true whole grain is to check the ingredients list: the term “whole” or “whole-grain” should precede the grain’s name, such as “whole-grain rye” or “whole wheat.” Get more tips and recommendations for buying the healthiest packaged bread, marinara sauce, crackers and more.

Related Link: 5 “Bad” Foods You Should Be Eating

Food Myth #5: You should always pick the bag of spinach at the back of the produce case.
A study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, revealed that spinach stored continuously under the light for as little as three days boasted higher levels of vitamin C and preserved levels of K, E, folate and the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin. The lights enhance nutrient levels by encouraging photosynthesis—the process by which plants use energy from the sun to create food and compounds that protect them. That means that the package of spinach at the front of the case could actually have more nutrients than the one in the dark at the back of the case in the dark.

Related Link: 12 Foods You Should Buy Organic

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