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The Truth About Common Nutrition Myths

Bread is not the enemy, and a burger won't kill you. Here's help separating food fact from fiction so you can enjoy your favorites once again.
red wine The Top 10 Food Myths

If the last time you ate fried anything was at the state fair three years ago, we have news for you. No, funnel cake hasn't become the diet food du jour. But fried foods -- as well as burgers and beer -- can have a place in a healthy diet. Surprised? No wonder. "With all the misinformation and exaggerated health headlines out there, it's easy to get fooled," says Robert J. Davis, PhD, an adjunct professor at Emory University's Rollins School of Public Health and the author of Coffee Is Good for You. To help you figure out which truths to swallow, we asked the experts to debunk the top 10 food myths. Read on to find out what's standing between you and better health, not to mention that basket of chicken fingers.

Myth: Red wine is tops for your ticker.

The real deal: When it comes to heart health, red wine gets all the glory. But that glass of Syrah may not be so superior: University of Texas researchers found that although moderate drinkers lived longer than those who abstained, wine drinkers weren't better off than those who preferred beer or liquor.

"Reports of red wine's antioxidant powers were probably overblown," says Arthur Klatsky, MD, the senior cardiology consultant for Kaiser Permanente, a nonprofit health plan based in Oakland, California. The alcohol itself is what boosts levels of HDL, or "good," cholesterol. "The molecules act like Drano in your blood vessels, sweeping away plaque," Dr. Klatsky says. "This lowers your risk of developing blood clots, which can lead to strokes and heart attacks." Whether you prefer Pinot or pilsner, raise a glass to your health -- and then switch to water. Tossing back more than two drinks a day does your heart more harm than good, Dr. Klatsky says.