In an age of bogus nutritionist balderdash, it can be difficult to sort foodie fact from fiction. Though it may seem as though fake food news is a relatively new phenomenon, the reality is that some of our oldest and most deeply entrenched beliefs about our diets turn out to be total rubbish. To lend a helping hand to hapless dieters everywhere, Team Twisted have prepared a collection of five of the most pernicious food myths that refuse to go away.
1. Carrots in the dark
In often fruitless attempts to persuade stubborn toddlers to eat their vegetables, this pearl of wisdom has become gospel around many dinner tables. Unfortunately, the science to support the claim is nonexistent. While carrots do contain high quantities of Vitamin A - essential in allowing the body synthesise the pigment that helps eyes to operate in low light - they cannot elevate the levels of this pigment to improve your night vision beyond that of a normal person. This myth was actually instigated by the British during World War Two to mislead Nazi generals about the night-visionary potential of Londoners during the Blitz.
2. Dairy is best for bones
Everyone knows that calcium is key to healthy teeth and bones. Equally, most people know that milk and dairy products are great sources of calcium. However, they are not the only means of getting this essential nutrient into your body. Dark leafy greens, such as spinach and kale are also great sources of calcium, as well as providing additional minerals such as Vitamin K - also key for bone health and conspicuously absent from dairy products. While dairy should not be disregarded, it is definitely not the sole solution.
3. Eight glasses a day
Nothing is more important to the human body than water. However, knowing how crucial water is to our wellbeing has result in a certain amount of dehydration hypochondria. Obsessing over drinking as much water as possible is not only potentially harmful, it’s also pointless. While it’s certainly true that we should look to stay hydrated throughout the day, the eight glasses “rule” is poppycock. The amount you should drink varies massively on your body’s metabolism, as well as your daily activity. It’s also worth remembering that fruit, vegetable and other drinks also contain water, so will inadvertently help your body remain hydrated.
4. Only wine is good for you
The health benefits of a glass or two of red have been touted for a while by relieved dipsomaniacs everywhere. Wine possesses small quantities of antioxidants and is also capable of raising HDL (“good” cholesterol) levels in the body. However, the latter property is not limited to wine. All alcohol, when consumed in moderation, can help reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke. If ever there was a reason to head to the off licence, this is it.
5. Don’t reheat rice
People have a certain amount of neuroticism about their rice. This is not entirely without justification. Uncooked rice can be contaminated with a bacterium known as bacillus cereus, which can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. If the spores survive the cooking process, which itself is unusual, rice that is left for a substantial period of time at room temperature can help the remaining spores to multiply and cause illness. However, with proper preparation, you can still enjoy old rice. Refrigerate within an hour and heat thoroughly throughout and all will be well.
While it’s good to pay attention is you hear a potentially alarming piece of foodie news, it’s also important to take everything with a pinch of salt. Before you start repeating things as fact check the science. The reality may be far less worrying than the myth.