The Produce Moms Podcast

Episode 44: Debunking the Myths Surrounding Fresh Produce with Jackie London

“What I’m mostly concerned about is that when we see these negative headlines over and over again, we start thinking that we need to avoid these healthy vegetables.” – Jackie London (10:08 – 10:27)

Jackie London is the Nutrition Director at the Good Housekeeping magazine, and she is a repeat guest on the podcast. She is also the author of the book “Dressing on the Side (and Other Diet Myths Debunked).” This book was written to debunk diet myths and to remove mental blocks that keep you from reaching your health and weight-loss goals.

Misleading information is leading to lower consumption of fresh produce.

Eating a wide variety of fresh produce is a crucial element of living a life full of energy and good health. A diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables contributes to heart health, lower blood pressure, better digestion, and many other health benefits. Unfortunately, many Americans are not getting enough fresh produce in their diet. It is estimated that less than 10 percent of Americans get their daily recommended amount of veggies. And less than 50 percent get enough fiber.

One of the issues that lead to a less than ideal amount of vegetable consumption is that consumers are continually hearing misleading and contradictory information from the media. Some myths and misconceptions become a part of the mainstream narrative, and they make the situation worse when it comes to people eating enough fresh produce.

“The data tells us that Americans need more fruits and vegetables in their diet. Anything we do to discourage that consumption is having a negative effect on our health as a nation.” – Lori Taylor (11:39 – 11:55)

Let’s debunk some of today’s most common misconceptions surrounding fresh produce so that you can make more informed choices, and eat more fruits and vegetables.

Kale is unsafe to eat because of pesticides.

In 2019, Kale was placed on a list of vegetables deemed as the “dirty dozen” by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) due to the use of pesticides during the growing process. This got a lot of attention in the media, and the headline was that kale is no longer safe to eat. But no credible, peer-reviewed research shows that pesticides that are used in the United States harm human health.

There is, however, strong evidence that links kale with many health benefits like reduced risk of heart disease, lower cholesterol, weight loss, and more. Pesticides are a natural part of the growing process meant to protect crops from getting destroyed by pests. The real health issue that needs to be addressed is that Americans aren’t getting enough vegetables in their diet. As long as consumers wash the vegetables thoroughly, they need to be eating more nutrient-dense greens like kale.

Kale juice will “detox” you.

While kale is a nutritional powerhouse, drinking kale juice will not help you detox and compensate for an otherwise unhealthy diet and lifestyle. It is true that kale, and other dark leafy greens, have specific compounds that aid in a small number of biochemical pathways involved in liver detoxification. But to suggest that kale alone will help you remove toxins from your system is a giant stretch that is frequently used to market detox products and programs.

Your liver is what is really responsible for converting toxins to waste, metabolizing nutrients, and cleansing your blood. So, what you should focus on is eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables that support liver health, instead of relying on specific detox products. Some of the best foods for the liver are grapefruit, blueberries, beetroot, and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, mustard greens, and yes, kale.

Following a ketogenic diet is the best way to lose weight.

The ketogenic diet is a recent trend that has become popular among people trying to lose weight. People on the keto diet, as it is commonly called, get most of their calories from fats, a moderate amount from protein, and a meager amount from carbohydrates. The diet plan was initially developed as a last resort measure to treat children suffering from seizures and not for regular people trying to maintain a healthy weight.

While the keto diet can be beneficial for weight loss in the short term, mainly due to loss of water weight, it is an extremely restrictive diet that is difficult to sustain in the long run. More problematically, it cuts out many highly nutritious produce items. Almost all fruits are off-limits due to their natural sugar content, and even some vegetables like beetroot, carrots, and sweet potatoes are a no-go. Removing these foods from your diet can result in nutrient deficiencies in the long run. A better way to maintain a healthy weight is to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats, and to exercise regularly.

“I wish that there was a way to mimic the ketogenic diet for life without cutting out some of the most nutrient-dense foods.” – Jackie London (25:41 – 25:49)

In the age of the internet, we’re susceptible to misinformation more than ever before. We see certain things over and over again, and we assume them to be true. When it comes to the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, there is only one thing that is important to remember – better health means eating more fresh produce more often. Instead of worrying about every new report that comes out, focus on how to make fruits and veggies more palatable to you and your family. Consistently eating an adequate amount of fruits and veggies is the best way to ensure that you remain free of chronic diseases and that you enjoy a healthy life full of energy and happiness.

 

Learn More from Jackie London

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Episode 44: Jackie London

 

 

 

 

 

Episode 44 of #TheProduceMoms #Podcast features @goodhousemag Nutrition Director @JaclynLondonRD. Listen as she debunks the myths and negative publicity of #freshproduce Click To Tweet

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