Food myths we all thought were true – busted!

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We’ve all heard our fair share of food myths over the years and over time it becomes harder to differentiate between what’s actually fact and what’s myth. So, we’ve popped together a little list of a few things we thought we’d clear up for you.

‘Eggs are bad for your heart’

Whilst eggs do contain lots of cholesterol, research tells us that they don’t actually contribute to high cholesterol. However, they do contain many essential nutrients such as zinc and iron, vitamin D, the brain-boosting chemical choline and antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin.

‘Vitamin C will stop you from catching a cold’

Research tells us that vitamin C doesn’t stop you from catching colds. However, it’s an important vitamin and antioxidant that we need to keep us strong and healthy; it maintains our bones, muscles and blood vessels. Vitamin C also helps the body absorb iron.

‘Celery equals minus calories’

Celery doesn’t actually take more calories to eat than it contains. On the plus side, with less than 10 calories per stalk of celery, it’s a great substitute snack if you’re trying to cut down on your calories or lose weight.

‘Raw carrots are better for you than cooked’

Many believe that raw vegetables contain more nutrients than cooked ones. That, however, is not the case. Cooking actually increases the nutritional value of carrots as the process breaks down the tough cellular walls that encase the beta-carotene. In the body, beta-carotene is either converted into vitamin A (retinol) or acts as an anti-oxidant to help protect your cells from damage.

‘Carbs are bad for you’

Whilst sugary, refined carbohydrates such as white bread, pasta and doughnuts can increase the risk of developing health problems, if you were to cut out the ‘good’ carbs i.e. whole grains, beans, fruits and vegetables you’d be missing out on key nutrients and fiber. A study in 2010 of over 13,000 adults found that those who ate the most servings of whole grains had a lower body weight.

‘Marge is better for you than butter’

Butter and margarine have roughly the same amount of calories. Whilst margarine is made from vegetable oils and can be a healthy alternative to butter, some margarine is worse for you because it contains trans fats. These fats raise your LDL (‘bad’) cholesterol and lower your HDL (‘good’) cholesterol. If you’re opting for margarine, look for one which is low in trans fats.

‘Cranberry juice can cure a urine infection’

Whilst there is no proof that cranberry juice or supplements can actually cure an infection, drinking the juice or taking supplements regularly can prevent them. This is because compounds in the cranberry stop infection-causing bacteria from sticking to the bladder wall.

‘You shouldn’t drink milk when you’re ill’

It’s an old myth that you shouldn’t drink milk if you have a cold because it increases mucus production. However, it has since been proved that this is not the case and, therefore, you’re free to drink as much milk as you desire!

‘Chewing gum takes 7 years to digest’

We have to admit, even we thought this one was true. But, Dr. Desi, a gastroenterologist with the Institute for Digestive Health and Liver Disease at Mercy Hospital in Baltimore, states that only a portion of gum is indigestible and will simply pass through the gastrointestinal tract like any other substance of its kind that is swallowed.

‘Cheese gives you nightmares’

The British Cheese board conducted a study in 2005 that concluded that cheese does not, in fact, give you nightmares. The study involved 200 people with a wide variety of different cheeses and no one reported nightmares of any kind.

So, the next time you’re wondering if you should avoid eating cheese before bed because of nightmares or whether that chewing gum you’ve swallowed will stay in your body; rest assured that these common beliefs are all nothing but myths!

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