It can come from desperate parents assaulting us with vegetables, or big businesses whispering sweet nothings about the pros of their product, but at some point we’ve all been lied to about our food.
Though most of these myths are relatively easy to bust, some have gathered so much steam that they are still taken as gospel. As Morpheus told Neo, it’s time to let go of fear and doubt and free your mind. Here are eight of the biggest lies we still believe about our favourite foods.
1. Coffee causes dehydration
The magic coffee bean still bamboozles many people. It’s not a surprise therefore that some of us have taken to the rumour mill to cope with the confusion. Though many believe that coffee and caffeinated drinks cause dehydration through excessive urination, the reality is that any effect is negligible, and certainly not enough to dehydrate you as part of a normal lifestyle.
2. Baby carrots are baby carrots
The idea of mercilessly slaughtering young carrots might seem appetising to some, but the reality is somewhat different. Baby carrots are nothing more or less than misshapen adults that were too ugly to be sold normally, and so were machine whittled into shape before being packaged as a vegetable minor.
3. Ice cream cools you down
On a hot summer’s day, there’s nothing more cooling than a few ice cold licks from a cone of soft serve. Except that, in reality, eating ice cream has precisely the opposite desired effect. Though the initial effect may be soothing, the body soon heats up as a result of the energy needed to digest the nutrients.
4. Brown sugar is better than white sugar
Though the difference in colour between the two substances is indeed caused by the increased number of minerals in brown sugar, this is not justification for calling it healthier. The difference in mineral numbers is so miniscule that the nutritional content is virtually the same for both types.
5. Swedish meatballs come from Sweden
You could be forgiven for assuming that the land of reindeer and flat-pack furniture is the birthplace of their only eponymous dish. In reality, what we know today as Swedish meatballs actually originated in Turkey, and were only brought back to Sweden in the 18th century by the exiled king Charles XII.
6. Cranberry will help you pee
It’s an oft regurgitated pearl of wisdom that drinking cranberry juice is the best way to get rid of a troublesome UTI. Several studies have shown that there is no difference between patients who ingest cranberries or cranberry supplements and those that don’t.
7. Eating salt will make you thirsty
You might think that eating anything salty would leave you gasping for the water jug. In actual fact, indulging in a salty diet not only doesn’t really affect your thirst, but makes your body more effective at retaining water. A study carried out on a group of cosmonauts did reveal that, though a salty diet made the participants drink less, they did feel compelled to eat more, leading to the conclusion that increased salt actually makes you hungrier rather than thirstier.
8. Milk will make you mucousy
It’s been common knowledge for generations that drinking milk during a cold is a surefire way to produce reams of snot. Except that it isn’t. Studies have shown time and again that there is no medical correlation between milk and mucous and that any side effects are probably placebic.
It can be difficult to shake off the habits of a lifetime, particularly when the habits concern your health. But there is little doubt that we are all susceptible to a whole heap of medical misdirection and superstition. For the sake of your stomach and future generations, please take a stand and stop spreading the lies!