Vegetables food group mythbusters

Read through the statements on this page to discover how various myths about vegetables and legumes/beans are debunked with scientific evidence.

Myth

Vegetables are sprayed with harmful pesticides.

Busted

The use of pesticides, antibiotics and hormones in Australia is strictly regulated to ensure the safety of the consumer. Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) sets the maximum allowed limits for agricultural and veterinary chemical residues present in foods in Australia (both domestic and imported foods). The levels of pesticide residue on vegetables have been closely monitored for the past 30 years and the minimum time between spraying and harvesting is controlled to ensure food is safe for consumption.1

Myth

Potatoes and other starchy vegetables are fattening.

Busted

Eating a potato or other starchy vegetable won’t automatically make you fatter. These foods can provide valuable nutrients including vitamin C, fibre and B group vitamins for energy. However, often they are consumed drenched in oil and roasted or deep-fried adding extra, unnecessary kilojoules which can contribute to weight gain. Starchy vegetables can be part of a healthy balanced diet, just consider how you enjoy them. Leaving the skin on enhances fibre content and boiling or steaming are healthier options.2

Myth

Fresh vegetables are better than frozen vegetables.

Busted

The nutrients in frozen vegetables are quickly sealed in during the freezing process, meaning the vitamin and nutrient content can be just as high as fresh vegetables. Frozen vegetables can be a quick, easy and nutritious addition to any meal when fresh vegetables are not readily available.3

Myth

Vegetables are too expensive.

Busted

Achieving your daily dietary recommendations from the vegetables and legumes/beans food group does not have to be expensive. A wide range of vitamins and minerals can be found in different vegetables at different price points, with frozen and canned vegetables or dried legumes providing great cost effective alternatives that also have a longer shelf. Making the most of your vegetables by reducing waste and buying only what’s needed will help reduce the cost.

Myth

Legumes should be eliminated from the diet.

Busted

This myth comes from fans of the paleo diet where meat is king and alternatives are seen as inferior. Legumes are in fact edible seeds and are traditionally eaten in many cultures throughout the world. They have been associated with a reduced risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers, and are low GI and a source of protein. For these reasons, legumes are also a good meat alternative for vegetarians. These foods are recommended as part of healthy balanced diet and are cost effective, helping meals, and budgets, go further.4





1 Better Health Channel. Food – pesticides and other chemicals [Internet]. Department of Human Services, Victoria, Melbourne, 2014. Available: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/food-pesticides-and-other-chemicals

2 Better Health Channel. Weight loss – common myths [Internet]. Department of Human Services, Victoria, Melbourne, 2014. Available: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/weight-loss-common-myths

3 McGrice, M and Diversi, T. Fact Buster [Internet]. ABC Health and Wellbeing, Sydney, 2015. Available: http://www.abc.net.au/health/talkinghealth/factbuster/stories/2012/02/29/3436012.htm

4 Grains & Legumes Nutrition Council (GLNC). Legumes. Start a healthy habit [Internet]. GLNC, North Sydney, 2013. Available: http://www.glnc.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/GLN_Legumeshabit_WEB.pdf