This happened last day when I was wandering around the town all by myself and fortunately- or unfortunately- I stumbled across this naughty little kid and his mother who was trying to make him drink milk shake. Mother pointed out how the protein in milk will help to build muscles like his favourite superstar. Well, wait, I was not deliberately over-hearing. It was just a cute conversation but that conversation reminded me how we are fed on lies about food and nutrition from a very young age and those lies live with us till the end.
Here, I am trying to bust some of the food and health related myths so that they don’t live forever.
1. All fats are bad.
This one takes the prize when we talk about food myths. No, all fats are not bad. It is saturated fats and Trans fats that increases the production of ‘bad cholesterol,’ leading to atherosclerosis and cardiovascular diseases. But unsaturated fats are heart-healthy fats. Mono-saturated fats increase the amount of ‘good cholesterol’ and thus reduce the atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease. The best source of ‘good fats’ are olive oil, peanut oil, canola oil, avocados, and most nuts.
2. Fasting periodically helps to clean toxins from the body
Well, the truth is human body has an elegant elaborate mechanism of digestion and waste removal. Though intake of fiber is always considered to be helpful for this mechanism but there is no such proof that not eating anything or consuming only fluids for an extended period can also help or make the mechanism do its work any better. Therefore, fasting periodically may be good for the diet conscious but toxin removal is in no way related to it.
3. Red wine is the only heart-friendly alcohol
This is a French high-class myth for the aristocracy who can easily afford the high-class drink and make their health better. But the important thing to note is that any kind of beverage that contains alcohol, when consumed in moderation (and that means one to two drinks a day), helps reduce heart disease risk. Alcohol, in general-not specifically red wine, raises levels of protective- good cholesterol-which helps to protect against plaque buildup in the arteries and reduce clotting factors that contribute to heart attack and stroke.
4. Skipping Breakfast helps lose weight
Do you really believe this one? Technically, yes, skipping a meal and thus eating less might very well help in maintaining weight but not in the case of breakfast. Studies show that people who skip breakfast tend to eat more in form of snacks the whole day and take more calories in as compared to those who eat breakfast regularly. On another note, after hours of not eating anything at night how can one even skip breakfast?
5. Microwaving kills the nutrition of the food
This one is as true as cats are devils in disguise. Well, I am not sure about cats but Microwaving is one of the best ways to retain nutrients in the food if you do it the right way. There are dangers microwaving the food if you use the kind of plastic that is not meant for microwave.
6. Spicy food gives you an ulcer
Decades and decades after the true discovery has been made, people still think spicy food is the reason for ulcer. The only reason spicy food is associated with ulcer is because after eating spicy food ulcer patients feel more agonizing pain though simple food is no help either.
7. If you have diabetes, stay away from sugar and you’ll be fine.
Diabetes is about blood sugar management and the sugar in blood is mostly because of the carbohydrates we take in. So, it is not simply a check on literal ‘sugar’ but also the sugar that goes with fruits and other items. Staying away from only sugar doesn’t help. Also, excess of sugar doesn’t cause Diabetes in the first place. Sugar is taken less only after aa person has diabetes.
8. Drinking tea causes dehydration.
Nu-uh, it doesn’t. Though people usually believe that because tea has caffeine, it has everything that can dehydrate a person but in reality, tea- even strong tea is too mild for us. It is actually 99% water and thus counts towards the water intake of the body. Rather it helps to hydrate the body.
9. Drink 8 glass water a day
Well, there is no such magic number that goes with water. The intake of water for a human body depends on various factors physical size, activity, heat and humidity. A body needs to stay hydrated to get going but one can use other things as well as water like juices, tea, fruits. So, it is more of an encouraging number maybe but how many glasses of water is needed by a body depends more on the person’s need.
With the end of all this myth busting scene, all I would say is to check – double check the facts you know about anything so that you don’t end up fooling others as well as yourself.