Food Myth Falsehoods Sport & Health 14 MAR 2015

The thing about statements is that if they get repeated often enough, then they become facts. Fact. (See what I just did there?)

Don’t believe me? Well I don’t know about you, but I grew up believing that eating carrots is great for the eyes (despite the fact I’ve worn glasses and contact lenses pretty much since I was a teenager), not to mention the fact that you should never swallow bubblegum because it will stay in your stomach pretty much forever.

Oh, and don’t forget that it is a bad idea to give kids too much sugar unless you ARE looking for a loud, hyperactive time!

Right.

woman with seductive eyes blowing a bubblegum bubble

Well here are a couple of food myth falsehoods that seem to have stuck around for quite some time, despite the fact that by now most of them have well and truly been properly debunked:

Gum stays in your stomach for seven years

Generally, gum is made up of four general components, and our bodies can easily break down three of these. The gum’s flavorings, sweeteners and softeners are all no match for human digestion. It’s the gum base that sticks around. Gum base is made mostly of synthetic chemicals, and these chemicals give gum its chewy property. It’s designed to resist the digestive properties of the saliva in your mouth. But once it’s swallowed, even the gum base is subjected to the same treatment as regular food, and after it’s recognized as useless by your digestive system, it goes the same route as any waste product. (Read More)

Eating cheese before bed will give you nightmares

Not one I’m particularly familiar with, but to be safe the British Cheese Board has tested the theory and found no relation to eating cheese before bed and an increase in nightmares. One down. (Read More)

Sugar makes children hyperactive

In 1994, a double blind research study found that eating sugary foods did not affect the behaviour or cognitive skills of the children involved. Another study found parents were more likely to say their child was hyperactive even if the sugar they had been given was a placebo. (Read More)

Your steak leaks blood when you cut it

Almost all the blood in your meat is removed during the slaughter, leaving in fact very little behind. The red liquid you find on your plate is actually just a lot of water mixed with a protein called myoglobin. (Read More)

Carbohydrates make you gain weight

Research shows that not all carbohydrates negatively affect your weight. Of course, limiting highly processed carbohydrates is always a wise idea but cutting out good carbohydrates can backfire and make you gain weight instead of lose it. It can also cause health problems that range from being annoying to being life threatening. (Read More)

You need to drink eight glasses of water a day

In general, to remain healthy we need to take in enough water to replace the amount we lose daily through excretion, perspiration, and other bodily functions, but that amount can vary widely from person to person, based upon a variety of factors such as age, physical condition, activity level, and climate. The “8 glasses of water per day” is a rule of thumb, not an absolute minimum, and not all of our water intake need come in the form of drinking water. (Read More)

Eating carrots will give you night vision

In World War II, Britain’s air ministry spread the word that a diet of carrots helped pilots see Nazi bombers attacking at night. That was a lie intended to cover the real matter of what was underpinning the Royal Air Force’s successes: Airborne Interception Radar, also known as AI. The secret new system pinpointed some enemy bombers before they reached the English Channel.

Though the promise of night vision is not true, carrots do contain a healthy dose of vitamin A, which is what your body uses to synthesise the pigment in your eyes that operates in low light conditions. This means that if you have a vitamin A deficiency, seeing in darker conditions may be more difficult. Eating carrots will rectify this but only to the point of an average person’s vision. (Read More)

White chocolate is chocolate

To be classified as chocolate a product has to contain cocoa solids or cocoa liquor. White “chocolate”, on the other hand, contains cocoa butter instead. (Read More)

Crusts will give you curly hair

This one I’ve never even hear of mind you. Anyway, whether you have curly or straight hair depends entirely on your genes. Food is not going to chang e your genetic makeup. This myth might have originated 300 years ago in Europe, when curly hair was seen as a symbol of health and prosperity. (Read More)

black woman biting into a carrot

Because remember, knowing is half the battle! :)

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About Craig Lotter

Software developer, husband and dad to two little girls. Writer behind An Exploring South African. I don't have time for myself any more.