You know the ones. The foods people think they should avoid because they’re either unhealthy or they make you gain weight.

But are they – and do they really?

By staying away from certain foods, people are actually missing out – nutritionally and enjoyment-wise, says Heidi Boyd, a Newfoundland-based registered dietician and spokesperson for Dieticians of Canada.

Here are Boyd’s top five misunderstood foods.

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1) Bread: “It’s a myth that eating bread will lead to weight gain and that low-carb diets are a great way to lose weight,” says Boyd. “These kinds of diets certainly ebb and flow in popularity, yet the truth is carbs remain an important source of energy and a good source of vitamins.”

Whole grain breads also contain a good dose of fibre, she adds, something Canadians tend not to get enough of. Another myth related to bread is that vast numbers of people are gluten intolerant when in fact only a small percentage of people have trouble with gluten, says Boyd. “This is a trendy topic right now that is not factually based.”

As for enjoying things like fresh, white baguettes, Boyd says by all means go ahead, just remember to make whole grain breads the mainstay of your day-to-day diet.

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2) Fat: “We all tend to think of ‘fat’ as a bad word, but all fats are not created equal. We need a certain amount of fat in our diet and some of them are even helpful in preventing heart disease,” Boyd says.

She recommends such healthy oils as olive, flax and corn, as well as the oils naturally found in avocados, seeds and nuts. Omega-3 fats found in fatty fish, like salmon, mackerel and herring are also super good for you. What’s not good are the trans fats found in a lot of processed foods, which also tend to contain a lot of salt.

“Dieticians of Canada recommends we eat fish twice a week,” says Boyd.

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3) Milk products: “What we need to realize is that the nutrients in milk products, like protein, calcium and vitamin D, are all healthy and very important – especially for Boomers,” says Boyd.

Our need for some of these nutrients also increase as we age, she adds, since calcium and vitamin D help prevent osteoporosis and fractures, so we’re better able to stay mobile and active well into old age. Health Canada recommends women over the age of 50 get 1,200 mg of calcium a day and men get 1,000 a day. Once you’re over 70, both men and women need 1,200 a day. To put that in perspective, a cup of milk contains 300 mg of calcium.

As for vitamin D (which helps your body absorb calcium), everyone over the age of 50 should be taking a supplement of 400 IU every day – in addition to what you get in your diet – and by age 70 that increases to 800 IU per day.

“Poor milk always gets such a bad rap,” says Boyd, acknowledging that some of it stems from a misinformed fear of growth hormones, which she points out are actually prohibited for use in dairy cattle in Canada.

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4) Eggs: “Baby Boomers, in particular, grew up in a time when it was commonly believed that eggs increase your cholesterol levels,” Boyd says.

“But now we know that they do not, and in fact one or two eggs a day can be part of a healthy diet and are excellent sources of protein, as well as vitamins A, E and D. They’re nutrient-packed little packages.”

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5) Frozen veggies: “People tend not to realize that frozen veggies can be a very healthy choice and are just as nutritious as fresh – in fact sometimes they’re even more nutritious since they’re picked and frozen at the peak of freshness. Fresh vegetables tend to deteriorate very quickly.”

“These foods tend to get stuck with a bad reputation because it’s hard to erase old ways of thinking,” says Boyd. “But over time science gets better and better and we have more to go on. Word gets out and things slowly change.”