FSSAI Debunkers 7 Common Myths About Food Safety and Nutrition

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The need for a healthy lifestyle has never been more important. The pandemic has taught us some good habits, and a lot of it is self-care and healthy eating. Fear of the coronavirus resulted in us all scrolling through a dozen health apps, watching nutrition-related videos and what not. Social media has been flooded with endless myths and facts about food. Recently, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) visited Twitter and shared a series of tweets on “Myths and Facts About Food Safety and Nutrition” that shatter some of the age-old myths we’ve all lived by. Look here.

Myth 1: Eating low calories and skipping meals is the only way to lose weight.

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Fact: A balanced diet, small portions at defined regular intervals and regular exercise are the key to losing weight. Eating a low-calorie diet and / or skipping meals may mean you are missing important nutrients that are critical to your long-term health.

Myth 2: If a food label says “Diet food”, then it is healthy.

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Fact: Foods that are supposedly low in fat can be high in sugar, salt, and even invisible fat. It is therefore advisable to read the list of ingredients to find out if there are any hidden sources of salt, sugar or fat in it.

Myth 3: Plant-based diets are low in protein.

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Fact: Rich, plant-based sources of protein such as legumes, nuts, seeds, soy products, millet, and some vegetables are also high in fiber and low in fat. The protein quality can also be increased if grains and legumes are consumed in combination.

Myth 4: Cooked food cannot cause foodborne illness and can be kept at room temperature.

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Image source: iStock

Fact: There are many ways that cooked food can become contaminated after cooking, which makes it just as unsafe to eat:

1. When food is not stored properly.

2. When food is prepared on contaminated surface or equipment, or stored in non-food grade utensils.

3. When grocers are not practicing good personal hygiene.

4. When there is cross contamination with raw food.

For this reason, all cooked and leftover food must be refrigerated (below 5 degrees Celsius) within 2 hours of preparation.

Myth 5: Oil provides empty calories with no nutrients.

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Fact: The human body cannot synthesize high-quality polyunsaturated fatty acids (PFAs), which are known as essential fatty acids, such as omega-3 (m-3) and omega-6 (n-6) fatty acids and must therefore be ingested through food. Essential fatty acids reduce the risk of heart disease, improve exercise, and reduce inflammation and joint pain. To get the maximum benefit, the right combination of cooking oils should be used.

Myth 6: Children can eat as much high-calorie, high-sugar foods as they want.

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Fact: The nutritional requirement is high during the growing years. Good nutrition improves a child’s physical well-being and cognitive development. Excessive sugar consumption at a young age has been linked to the risk of obesity and chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. We need to encourage children to have a balanced diet, with all food groups in the appropriate amounts.

Myth 7: If it looks and smells nice, it is likely safe to eat

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Image source: iStock

Fact: Although a bad smell or taste are signs that food is “spoiled,” often those signs are not caused by the bacteria that cause food poisoning. Always check the “use by”, “best before” and best before date as well as storage instructions and temperature on the packaging.

(With posts from the official FSSAI Twitter)

Mission Statement Credit: Parineeti Chopra, Instagram

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