In some cases, they are popular sayings and expressions, in other cases they are new fashion trends: in terms of nutrition there are still some false myths, recently dispelled by the Italian Association of Hospital Gastroenterologists (AIGO), gathered in Perugia for the annual course of the Association.
A healthy diet is important for the health of the general population, a diet that also helps prevent gastrointestinal diseases. In this context, the validity of the Mediterranean diet is reaffirmed, ensuring a balanced intake of carbohydrates, vegetables, fish and meat and reduced fat content.
We discuss the topic with Dr. Beatrice Salvioli, gastroenterologist in Humanitas.
Coffee and wine
Coffee and wine are harmful for the liver. This is false. Moderate coffee consumption does not hurt the liver, but rather can help against liver steatosis, as several studies published in the American Scientific Journal of Hepatology have shown. Moderate wine consumption can also have beneficial effects, thanks to the antioxidant action of resveratrol, a substance contained in red grapes.
Green tea and herbs
Green tea and herbs are always beneficial. This statement is also false. Green tea is an antioxidant and is widely consumed, but it should be approached cautiously when it is present in products and supplements, along with other substances. There have been cases of liver failure caused by extracts of green tea. Moreover, pay attention to herbs: extracts contained in dietary supplements can worsen symptoms related to irritable colon syndrome; this can be caused by epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), a polyphenolic compound also present in green tea.
Eating gluten-free products is healthy. False. Gluten-free is unfortunately becoming fashionable, but it makes no sense if you are not suffering from celiac disease or intolerance to gluten and therefore without a medical indication. Some people believe that gluten-free products have less calories than traditional ones: this is not true, and also – by doing so – it reduces the consumption of fibers contained in carbohydrates, which are beneficial to intestinal health.
Apples and pears
“An apple a day keeps the doctor away “. In patients suffering from irritable colon syndrome, apples and pears can have a negative effect because of the fermentable sugars they contain. It is therefore good to consume these fruits occasionally.
All fruit juices are the same. False. Fruit juices are not all the same: fruit juices rich in fructose should be taken with moderation, because fructose in fact increases fat in the liver.