By Novella Lui, RD

Eating vegetables and fruits are essential for good health. With so much information online, it can be confusing and overwhelming to sort facts from fiction. We have compiled a list of 7 common myths about veggies and fruits. Keep scrolling to find out if you have come across any or all of them.

 1. You need baking soda washes or produce washes to clean vegetables and fruits

Have you come across baking soda and produce washes online and in grocery stores, claiming that these washes can effectively remove pesticides and harmful bacteria from veggies and fruits?

While it is true that baking soda can remove some types of pesticide residuals, it cannot remove all kinds of pesticide residues. Using cool running water is an effective way to remove pesticide residues and reduce the spread of any potential bacteria present. One 2022 study published in Foods compared nine methods of removing pesticide residues from five types of leafy greens, and found that using running water, boiling, and blanching were most effective in getting rid of pesticide residues.

Fruits like bananas don’t require washing before consumption unless you plan to leave the peel on and cut the fruit into pieces. You can also use a produce brush to scrub veggies and fruits with hard surfaces, such as potatoes, carrots, oranges and melons. Scrubbing produce with firm surfaces could help reduce any potential bacteria on the surface, contaminating the inner content when your knife comes in contact with the peel.

2. Healthy eating is expensive

Food costs are rising, but that doesn’t mean healthy eating is impossible. 

There are many ways to enjoy affordable and nutritious foods. For example, you can buy seasonal produce and frozen or canned veggies and fruits. If you are worried about the added salt or sugar in canned veggies and fruits, you can drain the water and syrup, respectively, before eating them.

Purchasing items on sale or days old is another strategy to save money. Before stocking up, look at your living space to see if you have room and proper storage conditions. Check out our Produce Storage Guide to learn where to store your veggies and fruits to help them last longer. 

3. Organic vegetables and fruits are more nutritious than those grown conventionally

There is a myth that organic food, including organically grown produce, is more nutritious than their conventional counterparts.

While some organically grown crops may have higher levels of antioxidants, this doesn’t necessarily mean that these products are more nutritious. The difference in the nutritional value between organic and conventional foods is minimal and isn’t significant enough to conclude that organic is more nutritious than conventionally grown produce.  

People may choose organically grown produce and other goods for various reasons. It is entirely a personal choice to choose one or the other, but rest assured that organically and conventionally grown produce are equally safe and nutritious

4. Sugar in fruit is unhealthy

Fruits don’t deserve to get a bad rap for having sugars. While fruits and some veggies have naturally-occurring sugars, they also have nutrients, such as fibre, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, that support the body’s normal functions.

Canada’s Food Guide and Half Your Plate recommend filling half your plate or bowl with vegetables and fruits. Fresh, frozen, and canned veggies and fruits are all good options.

5. Veggie and fruit juices are just as healthy as whole produce

Veggie and fruit juices are refreshing, thirst-quenching, and a convenient way to get essential vitamins and minerals. However, veggie and fruit juices lack the fibre found in whole produce. Fibre, a key nutrient for filling you up, slowing down digestion, keeping you regular, and maintaining your blood sugar levels steady, is removed during production.

If you want a refreshing beverage made with fibre-containing veggies or fruits, try our no-fail veggie smoothie recipe, which uses fresh, frozen or canned veggies. Vegetables such as avocado, cucumber, and spinach, lend well to smoothies without an overpowering grassy scent.

6. Frozen fruits and vegetables are less nutritious than fresh

You may have heard that fresh produce is best. It is a myth that frozen produce is less nutritious than fresh, busted by a 2017 study comparing the nutritional value of fresh, fresh-stored and frozen produce. The research found there were no significant differences in the nutritional content. 

Frozen produce is harvested at its peak of freshness before freezing, a preservation method that locks in the nutrients. Frozen veggies and fruits have a longer shelf life, are convenient and are available year-round. Add them to soups, smoothies, stir-fries, baked goods, and more — explore ways to use frozen produce with our tips from our blog post, 5 frozen meals for busy days.

7. You should consult a dietitian only when you have a health condition

Dietitians are your trusted source of food and nutrition advice. Their valuable support and guidance aren’t limited to when you have a health condition — dietitians can provide meal planning advice, support you with building positive relationships with food, eating nutritionally balanced while maintaining an active lifestyle, managing food allergies or intolerances, and many more.

Healthy eating looks different for everyone. Dietitians empower individuals to make informed food choices based on your circumstances, health status, and goals. Check out our list of nutrition professionals to find a dietitian near you. 

About the author

Novella Lui is a registered dietitian who is passionate about supporting people in building healthy relationships with food by sharing simple and practical tips. As a food, nutrition and health writer, she combines her interest in evidence-based nutrition and health education through content creation. Find out more about her work on www.novellard.com.

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