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Is it a myth or truth?

5 Myths about Digestion

Andréanne Tremblay-Lebeau

Andréanne Tremblay-Lebeau

Healthy eating:

Registered Dietitian

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You hear different opinions about nutrition everywhere—in newspapers, on the Internet, from your mother-in-law, from friends…so who should you listen to? Let’s set the record straight!

Myth 1: You shouldn’t drink water during meals

False. Despite rumours to the contrary, drinking water as you eat will not “dilute” your gastric juices or hinder digestion. Your body adjusts the production of gastric juices according to the consistency of your meal. Remember that water is essential to properly hydrate your body throughout the day. Drinking a full glass of water will have a positive effect on your body whether you drink it before, during or after a meal.

Myth 2: You should only eat fruit 30 minutes before eating

False. Fruit can be eaten at any time of day. Digestive enzymes work just as effectively whether you eat one, two or five types of food at a time. Fruits are healthy foods that you can incorporate into any type of healthy meal. They are the perfect complement to breakfast cereals, meat dishes and more, and are a sweet, delicious and nutritious way to end any meal. When it comes to fruit, the possibilities are endless!

Myth 3: You shouldn’t mix meats and starches in the same sitting

False. There is no scientific evidence to suggest that meat and starch shouldn’t be combined in the same meal. The nutrients found in these foods (mostly proteins for meat and carbohydrates for starch) can be properly digested and assimilated by the body when you eat a meal. The proof? Many foods, like yogurt, contain both nutrients and your body has no problem digesting them. To ensure you eat balanced meals, it is recommended to choose foods from 3-4 food groups of Canada’s Food Guide, which include meat and grain products (starch).

Myth 4: Bananas cause constipation

False. Constipation is not caused by a single food; it is caused by a combination of factors, from lifestyle to medication or supplements. If you do suffer from constipation, try increasing your intake of fibre, drink plenty of water and exercise regularly to aid your digestive system. Removing bananas from your diet won’t change any constipation problems…you’ll just be depriving your body of a healthy food choice!

Myth 5: You shouldn’t eat right before going to bed

False. There is no problem with eating before bed if you’re hungry. It won’t disrupt your metabolism, make you sick or make you gain weight. Some people may experience disturbed sleep if they eat right before going to bed, or may have trouble digesting when they’re lying down. To be safe, it is best to try eating small, easy to digest snacks in the evening and see how your body reacts.

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