We’ve all heard stories about certain foods being harmful or beneficial, but is there any truth to them? Some of the tales might actually be true, but in most cases, they’re no more than just myths and traditions which have floated around for centuries. The list below will help you separate fact from fiction about the most popular food fallacies that until today you thought were fact. About time these old wives’ tales were banished!
1. Salt causes high-blood pressure
In the 1940s, a professor used salt-reduction to treat people with high blood pressure and since then, people have started believing that salt is to be blamed for the increase in blood pressure. But the truth is that high blood pressure makes you salt-sensitive and that is why salt-reduction is applied for such patients. This does not mean that salt is a threat to people with normal blood pressure. Therefore, contrary to popular belief, this one is no more than a fad.
2. Milk and fish is a dangerous combination
In many countries, especially in Asia, having milk and fish together or drinking milk after fish is considered to be very harmful. Some say that it causes food poisoning while others state that it causes Vitiligo – A form of albinism. But there is no scientific research that has proven these beliefs to be correct and no medically analyzed ill effects have been reported. Infact, milk and seafood are common combinations in many countries. So don’t worry if you just had fish and milk together, because this ones just a myth that has been going around for ages.
3. Eating carrots will improve your eyesight
I’m sure this one must have been drumming in your years since you were a kid. But it’s actually no more than a rumor which was started by the British air force to fool the Germans during World War II. The British had just started using an advanced technology, radar, to detect German bombing raids but wanted to keep it a secret. So they invented this lie that a diet of these vegetables helped their pilots see Nazi bombers at night. The Germans got fooled and so did the rest of the world. Sure carrots are very healthy and rich in Vitamin A, but eating them won’t make you eagle-eyed.
4. Chocolates cause acne
Chocolate has for years been blamed for being the main source of acne. Growing up you probably must have heard your mother warn you a thousand times, “Don’t eat too much chocolate or you’ll get pimples”. Well it’s about time that this myth was laid to rest. Chocolate does not cause acne, on the contrary, according to recent scientific studies, chocolate boosts the serotonin in the brain which produces a calming effect and stability. Stress has been identified as a cause of acne, and if chocolate stimulates the serotonin and calms the nerves, then chocolate could ironically be found to assist in acne restraint. Oil is the main cause of acne so next time when your skin breaks out, blame it on the fried foods that you consume, not chocolate.
5. Carbohydrates make you fat
The statement “Carbohydrates make you fat” needs to be re-phrased because they do not, “Carbohydrates in excess make you fat”. Carbohydrates supply energy to our body and without the adequate intake of carbs, our body will go into carbohydrate deprivation and will start using protein as energy which is not a good thing. So as long you eat sensibly, you won’t gain a single pound.
6. Sweet potatoes are better than white ones
In this case we are to be blamed, because it’s not the potato, its how we eat it. While sweet potatoes are typically eaten boiled, Oily French fries are the most common method of consuming white potatoes. No wonder the white spud has such a bad rep. The truth is that both of them are equally nutritional and cannot be compared.
7. Skimmed milk is useless
Many people think that when milk is skimmed, it looses all its nutrients. Its true that there is a loss of Vitamin A in the process, but to say that skimmed milk is worthless is a gross overstatement. Skimmed milk is rich in minerals, sugar, protein and Vitamin C, and since it’s low in fat and cholesterol, it is the light and ideal dieter’s substitute for whole milk.
8. Bananas are fattening
Sure, compared to an apple or an orange, a banana has more carbohydrates, but that doesn’t mean that they’re fattening! An average banana contains around 60 calories, while a medium sized apple or orange would have 50. Not a big difference if you ask me. In fact this healthy fruit is recommended by a lot of dieticians and is included in many diet plans which it wouldn’t be if it was fattening, would it?
9. Margarine is better than butter
We’ve all been told that margarine is a healthy substitute for butter. But is that really true? We can only find out if we compare the two. Lets start with butter:
Butter has the same amount of calories as margarine but is slightly higher in saturated fats. It is a natural healthy fat made from cream and eating it increases the absorption of many nutrients in other foods.
And now for margarine:
• Margarine is an artificial concoction of chemicals very high in trans-fat. Having margarine triples the risk of coronary heart disease. It lowers the quality of breast milk and decreases immune and insulin response. But the most disturbing fact is that margarine is only ONE MOLECULE away from being plastic.
After comparing these facts there is no question that butter is a thousand times better than margarine. But this does not mean that you start hogging butter because butter in excess can also be very harmful We were just comparing too see which one was lesser of the two evils.
10. Boiling or cooking vegetables takes away all their nutrients
While it’s true that when you boil or cook veggies some water soluble vitamins do diminish but most of the other nutrients (i.e. carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and minerals) are unaffected by boiling. In fact, modern food science now shows that some vegetables are actually better for us if they are cooked. For example, the amount of lycopene in tomatoes and the amount of beta carotene in carrots both increase with cooking. Cooking also neutralizes some of the bitter (and slightly toxic) alkaloids that many plants produce as a defense against being eaten. Therefore whether you cook them, boil them or just have them raw, vegetables will always be full of nutrients.