Food myths are deeply embedded in our society.
Whether old sayings passed down from your parents or misleading scientific studies that have since been proven wrong, misinformation abounds when it comes to nutrition. Here are some of the food myths we fell for, and the real scoop behind them.
Carbonated water isn’t as hydrating as flat water.
Go ahead: chug that La Croix! In a study published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine, men biked on several occasions until they sweated off 4% of their body weight — then researchers handed them a drink.
One time the cyclists got flat water, another time carbonated water, the third sugar water, and finally,carbonated sugar water.
The results? Fizz did not make any diff when it came to rehydrating.
The ‘5 Second Rule’ is a cleanliness food myth
Discovery.com busted this one: moist foods attract more bacteria than dry foods, but there’s no “safe duration” for a morsel that hits the floor. Bacteria jump aboard your food in milliseconds. Instead of time, safety depends on how clean the surface you dropped the food on is. So your recently swept floor? Probably okay. A city sidewalk? Skip on that.
Coffee stunts kids’ growth
Don’t tell your children, but it turns out coffee has no correlation with their height later in life. Of all people, Cereal manufacturer C.W. Post began this urban legend. While marketing a morning beverage called “Postum” as a coffee alternative, he ran ads that called it a “nerve poison” that should never be served to children. Caffeine has been shown to marginally limit adult’s calcium intake, but this can be offset by a as little as a tablespoon of milk for each cup of coffee.
Eating a lot of carrots gives you great night vision.
While carrots’ Vitamin A can help preserve eyesight, eating a whole bunch won’t upgrade your vision to Superman status. Hilariously, this misinformation stemmed from a piece of British propaganda created to hide the fact that they were using radar for night air attacks. Instead, they told the public their hawk-eyed pilots were on the same diet as Bugs Bunny 😂
MSG makes you sick
It turns out there’s no research to back this one up. The rumor stemmed from a letter written by a doctor to the New England Journal of Medicine. They claimed to have uncovered “Chinese restaurant syndrome”, with symptoms like numbnes’ and ‘general’ weakness.
Studies have shown no correlation between the amino-sodium acid combination. The American Chemical Society does acknowledge “MSG can temporarily affect a select few when consumed in huge quantities on an empty stomach, but it’s perfectly safe for the vast majority of people.”
You must drink eight glasses of water a day
Hydration is super important, but eight is an arbitrary number, and we often get hydration we need from food in addition to H2O.
Bust that Food Myth
Stock up on healthy, hydrating meals
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FiveThirtyEight notes there’s no research-based connection between drinking water and sodium levels, skin quality, heart or liver disease. However, water is the best replacement for sugary sodas. Plus, like we said before, sparkling water is just as great for you.
Rule of thumb: Drink when you’re thirsty. If you forget to drink water and need to set a measurable goal, go off the baseline of this formula provided by the Mayo Clinic:
- Divide weight (lbs) by 2.2
- Based on your age, multiply that by… 40 (younger than 30); 35 (30-55); or 30 (55+)
- Divide by 28.3
- Total= oz. of water you can drink per day.
Based on that formula, a 140-pound adult should drink 78 oz. of water– more than two Nalgene bottles (and eight glasses) per day.
Hair of the dog will cure a hangover
Another drink will just up your blood sugar for a short while. This just drags your brown bottle flu on through the day. And if you go for coffee, remember it’s a diuretic and will dehydrate, instead of pumping you full off essential fluids, like water or a sports drink will.