Myths surrounding foodstuffs are like UFOs, one can always hear about them but nobody really knows whether there is any truth to them! There is no shortage of food myths floating around on the web. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that behind most food and nutrition myths, there is a kernel of truth. But what is the reality behind these myths? Are they authentic enough for us to believe and follow? Let’s find out the truth behind some of the world famous food myths that have been around for ages.

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MYTH 1: Drinking water in between meals is not good

While drinking water has been considered essential, having the life giving elixir while during meals is often said to do more harm than good. This is one myth that has been passed down from generations. The truth, however, is that though drinking water fills you up, it does no damage to your digestive process. Infact, it might even do your system a world of good. So, keep that glass of water nearby and see that you are drinking enough through the day.

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MYTH 2: Carbohydrates make you fat.

Contrary to popular belief, there’s nothing inherently fattening about carbohydrates, says Jean Harvey-Berino, from the Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences from the University of Vermont and co-author of The Eating Well Diet (Countryman, 2007). The real reason behind people getting obese is the large volume of calories that they consume on a daily basis and second is lack of exercises.

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MYTH 3: Radiation from microwaves makes food unsafe for consumption

The term “Radiation” may bring images of nuclear plants in one’ mind, but in reality, these refer to simple energy waves. The microwaves used to cook foods are weak in nature according to Robert Brackett, who is the director of the National Centre for Food Safety and Technology at the Illinois Institute of Technology. The changes brought about in the food are from the heat generated in the food, not by the microwaves used to heat the foodstuff. However, a check has to kept on the kind of container used for cooking while exposing the food to microwaves.

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MYTH 4: The desire to consume particular food items is a sign of nutrient deficiency of nutrients provided by that food

Nope, in reality food cravings happen more or less to satisfy one’s emotional needs. Cravings are the mind’s way of distracting one from an otherwise restricted or boring diet.

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MYTH 5: Mini meals help you control your weight better than having large meals

The body metabolism boosts up slightly every time we munch on something to eat. This is a bodily reaction to what we’ve consumed. By having many small meals instead of fewer, larger ones, it’s true that we shift our metabolism upstream and burn a few more calories. But the calorie difference is minimal and does not add up to a large value. Having said that, munching on snacks in between meals, may help some by keeping them from getting hungry often and consuming too many calories.

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MYTH 6: Fruit skins are waste

This is by far one of the most ludicrous myth! While fruit peels may not seem appetizing to many, it is in fact known to have a higher concentration of antioxidants than the flesh! However, a word of caution here. To make most fruits appear attractive, they are waxed and polished to give them a rich shiny exterior, thereby making them attractive. To avoid consuming the wax, wash and rinse the fruits well in warm water.

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MYTH 7: Eating after 7 pm will make you fat

No it wouldn’t. It is true what health expert’s claim – that it’s healthy to have an early dinner. In other words, it is a part of a healthy lifestyle to have an early dinner. This helps and gives the body time to digest food before you sleep. Experts claim that  it’s not when you eat that makes you fat; it is infact what you eat and the amount of calories you consume that makes you fat. Late night snacking might only affect the amount of sleep .

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MYTH 8: Having milk immediately after eating fish is bad

According to some people, having milk with a meal comprising of fish as a major ingredient will make you sick and may also cause white spots or discolouration in the skin . however we find  no scientific reason, however, backing the above myth. You can very well have fish and milk together without having any kind of adverse effects on health or your skin. To add, as a note of relief, and also a well known fact, there are many mouth watering and healthy recipes around the globe which combine the goodness and taste of  fish and milk. So, go ahead, have your favourite two ingredients in a go without worrying about the myth.

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MYTH 9: Chocolate causes acne

Whoever passed on this statement is definitely not a chocolate lover!! The myth found its origins in the late 90’s and it became so popular and common that most teenagers and their parents believed it!  No conclusive scientific evidence backing this claim has been found though till now. Acne is caused due to irregular oil gland secretions and clogged pores aggravated by oily foods. Different foods may cause acne in different people and for some people that food just had to be chocolate. This does not mean the poor chocolate be blamed entirely for it!! Have your favourite bar; it is known to have more health benefits than you can think of. As for the zits, avoid oily foods, have enough water and cleanse your skin often to get rid of them.

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MYTH 10: Having saffron during pregnancy makes your baby fair

Sure!! Saffron or kesar is considered beneficial for pregnant women (when taken in small quantities) owing to its properties. But following a belief that having saffron with milk when you are pregnant, will make your baby fair, is nothing but outrageous. First of all, colour of the skin must never be a matter of such concern. The important matter is that the baby must be healthy. The complexion of a person is in no ways related to how much saffron you consume. True, both milk and saffron are good for health, but it’s not going to make the baby fair as scientifically, the colour of the skin depends entirely on the gene pool of the child and this, is a proven fact!!

Georgie Rajan