9 Common Myths About Food That'll Surprise You
There are so many myths, misconceptions and half-truths surrounding food that it's hard to keep up. Some of these mistaken pearls of wisdom comes from old wives' tales. However, a number of these fallacies are the result of unverified studies that have come to the public's attention.
Since these mistruths are used for brazen attempts at moneymaking and can have adverse effects on your health in some cases, we've decided to reveal some of the most common food myths in the following list...
1. Margarine is healthier than butter.
That's not quite right. The fat and calorie content of regular margarine is no different from that of butter. Peer-reviewed research shows that vitamins added to the margarine tend not to have a positive effect on a person's health, either. It has also been disproven that margarine lowers your cholesterol levels, making it in no way healthier than butter.
2. Sugar from fruit is healthier than regular sugar.
Everyone know that fruit is good for you. However, the sugar contained in fruit, known as fructose, can lead to weight gain, higher cholesterol values and even diabetes if consumed in high amounts.
Simply eating fruit alone won't result in having consumed dangerous quantities of fructose. You just need to be careful when fructose is used as added sugar in other products.
3. Fresh vegetables contain more vitamins than frozen variants.
"Fresh" is relative. From farm to table is usually a long journey. And over this time, many vitamins and nutrients are lost along the way. However, vegetables are often frozen pretty quickly, meaning the nutrients are protected. If you're growing vegetables at home, we therefore advise you to freeze them, unless you intend to use the veggies right away.
4. Licorice is good for the libido.
Licorice contains the active ingredient glycyrrhizin and the theory is that it's good for the female libido. In actual fact, eating licorice lowers male testosterone levels, which can lead to impotence in some scenarios.
Pregnant women should also avoid consuming licorice, since it can have a negative effect on the embryo's development. People with high blood pressure should also stick to only small amounts of the sweet treat.
5. Eating sausage causes cancer.
This is also not true. Though some studies suggest a correlation between sausage consumption and bowel cancer, the results are based on the participants' own self-assessments. The effects are also very minor and it's unclear whether other factors come into play.
Admittedly, it might be a good idea to eat less sausage and other red meats. However, be careful with questionable studies based on meager findings.
6. Strict resolutions help you lose weight.
It's similar to quitting smoking — people wanting to lose weight tend to fall into the trap of setting too stringent goals and changing their habits abruptly. More often than not, their attempts to lose a few pounds fail because of these drastic changes. A better approach is to set weekly goals and gradually cut back on bad habits.
7. Carbohydrates make you fat.
Low-carb diets are really in right now. Some of them even work — just as much as any other diet.
The problem is that you need some carbohydrate in your diet. Foods containing carbs are often those that make you feel full and contain many important nutrients such as fibers.
8. Raw is better than cooked.
There are no serious studies that support this statement. Sure, a number of water-soluble vitamins are lost when you cook. However, cooked meals contain lots of important nutrients that are not present in raw food.
In every culture across the globe, people consume a mix of both raw and cooked food. This seems to be the best way forward.
9. People who obsess over what they eat have healthier lifestyles.
Healthy eating has become sort of a religion: Many hope for a better lifestyle, they celebrate every mealtime and invest a lot of time and money into their diets.
This isn't always a good thing. For one, there's a greater tendency to be taken in by biased nutritional ideologies. Each person also reacts differently to food due to tiny genetic differences in the body's metabolism. It's no surprise then that recommendations from authorities on nutrition and health are often so vague.
There's also the danger that obsessing over food can lead to anorexia.
As is often the case, it's all about eating the right balance of foods in the correct quantities. These amounts of course vary from person to person. As the above shows, generalizations don't help anyone.