Paying a lot of attention to your health is a so-called modern trend. New “healthy diet” restrictions appear every day. But do all these rules really work?
Bright Side has decided to find out information about 10 popular food facts that turned out to be myths, according to the scientific point of view.
Myth #10: We shouldn’t drink coffee after 12 PM in order to sleep well at night.
Truth: The stimulant effects of caffeine depends on the individual. It’s all about the work of CYP1A2, a gene that is responsible for caffeine metabolism. The amount of an enzyme produced by this gene divides us into 3 groups: high, regular, and low sensitivity to caffeine.
The largest group is the regular one: it’s not recommended to drink coffee 6 or less hours before going to bed. People with a high sensitivity may experience insomnia even if they drink coffee in the morning. If you belong to the 3rd group, you could drink a cup of coffee right before bedtime and it won’t affect your sleep.
Myth #9: We have to eat superfruits enriched with antioxidants to cope with free radicals.
Truth: All plants are exposed to oxidative agents so they all have antioxidant activity. Unfortunately, most antioxidant activity studies have been conducted in laboratories. To evaluate the impact of oxidative agents on humans, more in vivo studies should be conducted.
There are lots of plants rich in antioxidants (even potatoes!) but it’s difficult to say whether they are really useful for us or not.
Myth #8: The carbon dioxide contained in drinks causes gastritis and other gastrointestinal tract diseases and destroys the bones.
Truth: Studies show that carbon dioxide doesn’t affect a healthy digestive tract and even relieves painful symptoms like dyspepsia and constipation. What’s more, studies haven’t revealed any link between carbonated water and osteoporosis. The negative reaction occurred only in a group of subjects who consumed soda. This fact allows us to assume that the problem hides in sugar and orthophosphoric acid, but it’s not about carbonation.
So don’t be afraid to drink carbonated water. There’s also a bonus: this water helps us lose weight since it makes us feel full.
Myth #7: Our body accumulates toxins and needs regular detoxing.
Truth: In 2009, a group of scientists contacted the manufacturers of 15 popular detox products to find out what evidence they had for the product claims and what they meant by “detox.” No one could answer the scientists’ questions and it was clear that the detox claim was just a marketing trick.
Edzard Ernst, an emeritus professor of complementary medicine at Exeter University, says that the body of an average human (exposed to no narcotic or toxic substances) doesn’t need any supplements to clean out toxins.
Myth #6: Table salt is a poison for the body. It’s better to replace it with healthy exotic salt.
Truth: It’s usually recommended to replace regular salt with sea, Himalayan, black, or many other types of salt. But the difference between these types is so tiny, you have to consume huge amounts of salt to get the full benefit.
The only one thing that differs is the amount of iodine, and regular salt actually wins. Table salt is artificially iodized to cope with iodine deficiency and its consequences. According to the World Health Organization, around 1/3 of people in the world consume an insufficient amount of iodine. By the way, even if you live in a coastal area, it doesn’t mean you don’t experience iodine deficiency. So do you still think quitting table salt is worth the risk?
Myth #5: Red and processed meat cause bowel cancer so we should stop eating it.
Truth: Even if red meat undergoes thermal processing, it still isn’t considered processed. This term is implied only to long-term storage meat products.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) assumes that red meat is classified as Group 2A, probably carcinogenic to humans. In other words, the classification is based on limited evidence from studies showing positive associations between eating red meat and developing colorectal cancer as well as strong mechanistic evidence.
Nevertheless, doctors don’t recommend eating more than 2.5 oz (70 gr) of red meat a day. It’s also better to stop eating processed meat.
Myth #4: Yeast is an artificial and unhealthy product.
A long list of chemical elements contained in yeast are just elements used in yeast production. A fermentation starter that is usually used as an alternative to yeast is actually regular yeast grown on its own.
Myth #3: We shouldn’t heat honey as it produces dangerous hydroxymethylfurfural.
Truth: Hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) is contained in all types of honey. It’s true that its concentration increases if we cook this sweet product, but first, HMF is contained in many foods (in much larger quantities than in honey). And, there are no studies that prove HMF is dangerous for humans. 30 mg of HMF a day is absolutely safe — but we bet you won’t be able to eat that much honey.
Myth #2: Mayonnaise is a cholesterol bomb and your foe if you want to lose weight.
Truth: Mayonnaise does contain a lot of fats but it’s not a good idea to replace it with oil (olive or sesame) in a salad. The thing is, mayonnaise has 50-80% fat, while oils have 95-99%.
The source of cholesterol in mayonnaise is an egg, but the myth that eggs have cholesterol that is harmful for our body has already been debunked. As for the Е200 that is added to mayonnaise, it’s also harmless but some people can be allergic.
So if you want to get fit, it’s better to use yogurt as a salad dressing, if you’re allergic to E200. You can also make homemade mayonnaise, and others who aren’t allergic to E200 just don’t have to worry about anything.
Myth #1: Chicken skin is the most harmful component that should be excluded from your diet.
Truth: It’s said that chicken skin has a lot of fat and cholesterol. But people usually don’t take into account that chicken skin lipids consist of a nutritionists’ favorite unsaturated fatty acids. These acids reduce the levels of bad cholesterol and increase the levels of good cholesterol.
Are you surprised? Will you change your eating patterns after reading this article? Share your opinion with us in the comments.