Food Myths and Facts – Debunking 10 common Food and Nutrition Misconceptions we have Heard and Believed

Here are some common misconceptions we have heard often about food and nutrition. Do you know the facts !!!

Health Facts and Myths

Do you know that dark chocolate is great for skin because of its antioxidants and moisturising properties. No wonder, so many beauty products are chocolate based these days.

Also, Are you aware that extra virgin olive oil is the healthiest fat available on the planet.

Then, Have you ever smelled an apple? Sure, you have and you must do this more often, if you are claustrophobic. Because studies suggest that sniffing an apple helps in dealing with stress associated with closed spaces.

There are many such food facts that are real eye openers and each time prove that we are so naive.  

Food and Eating !!! These are something so basic, yet so complicated. All through our lives, we come across various  practices, beliefs, myths and misconceptions that relate to food and nutrition. Seldom, we try to find the facts. 

So, lets take up a few food myths, we have heard and believed and see, if they are really true.

1) MYTH : You should not have cucumbers at night

FACT : Not really. Scientifically, there’s nothing wrong about eating cucumbers at any time of the day or night. Cucumbers are rich sources of water, protein, fibre, B vitamins, Vitamin K, C, Copper, Potassium, Sodium, Magnesium and the list goes on and on.

Health Facts and Myths - Eating Cucumbers at Night

The contents help in improving memory, reducing the risk of cancers, help in managing stress, aid in digestion and flush out toxins from the body. They are good for eyes and skin too.

If you think, they make you feel burpy, remove the seeds. Cucumbers are cool by nature so they are great for being consumed when climate is hot, you can eat these with warm foods as well. 

For some, cucumbers are difficult to digest because they have cellulose. So, the remedy is to chew them properly.

2) MYTH : Drink 7-8 glasses of water everyday

FACT : Again, not backed by any scientific proof.  It’s not just water but any liquid like juices, milk, buttermilk. Normally, women are told to drink 7-8 glasses and men 12-13 glasses in a day. 

Health Facts and Myths - Water

Quite contradicting to this, studies have also shown that an individual should drink water, only when he feels thirsty. However, excessive water intake is also, harmful for the body. Drinking way too much water can lead to a condition called Hyponatremia in which Sodium gets to very low levels in blood and the cells swell up with water. The brain cells cannot handle this swelling leading to headache, vomiting, fatigue, hallucinations, cramps, weakness etc.

So, decide for yourself, how much is too much.

3) MYTH : Alcohol is always bad for health

FACT : Excessive alcohol intake is definitely bad. However, a moderate or an occasional intake could be beneficial, specifically for those aged above 45. 

Alcohol helps in increasing the good cholesterol in the blood. Thus, preventing the choking of arteries from the excessive fats we intake.

Now this doesn’t mean that those who don’t take alcohol, should start taking it. The key is moderation and following a healthy lifestyle, including exercises in your routine and a balanced diet.

4) MYTH : Drinking Tea, Darkens Skin

FACT : Absolutely incorrect. Drinking any amounts of tea, doesn’t induce any kind of changes in the skin colour.

In fact, there are many benefits attributed to tea drinking like it keeps the skin hydrated (But needs to be taken in moderation, otherwise the effects can be opposite), thus, reducing wrinkles. Tea is also, a rich source of anti-oxidants.

Its all in your genes that make you dark or fair. So don’t worry about getting dark and consume it whenever you feel like.

5) MYTH : Don’t eat sugar, that will get you Diabetes !!!

FACT: That’s not true. Diabetes is caused when one’s body does not make sufficient insulin or the available insulin is not used properly or both.

There could be various factors responsible for this like your genes, environment, lifestyle, other diseases like obesity, High Cholesterol levels etc. However, once an individual is diagnosed with diabetes, they are asked to avoid sugars because they are already in a condition of high blood sugar.

6) MYTH : Skipping meals help in losing weight

FACT : Skipping meals is not a great option if you want to stay fit. Normally when you skip a particular meal, you end up eating much more than required in the next meal thus adding lumps of those extra calories to your body.

Also, that would leave you feeling less energetic and lazy. 

So, instead of skipping, reduce the quantity of food per meal and eat 5-6 meals in a day. Include fruits, veggies, nuts etc more in your diet since that would help burn more calories.

7) MYTH : Carbohydrates are fattening

FACT: Carbohydrates are the basic source of energy in our body and are very essential for it to function.

They don’t fatten an individual, in fact, its the fat that comes along with carb rich food that makes one put on weight. For Eg: Bread and Butter, Chappati and Ghee. They play an important role in weight loss accompanied with starch and fibres.

8) MYTH : Fat Free Foods are good for Health

FACT : These days there are various fat free or low fat options available for different food items in the market like Zero fat/Diet colas, low fat milk, salt etc. Though low fat but these foods are extremely harmful for our bodies. 

Normally, in case of milk, it’s the fat content that makes you feel full after drinking it, however, with the low fat or fat free variety, you actually end up overeating or over drinking because it alone does not satisfy the hunger.

Similarly, in diet colas or sweetened low fat dairy, the low amounts of fat are compensated by the addition of more artificial sweeteners and starches that could lead to obesity and diabetes.

9) MYTH : Vegans don’t get enough of protein sources to relish on !!

FACT : Oh, thats totally, not so true. There are ample of sources. 

If you are a vegan, you can relish on dairy products, lentils, nuts, numerous green veggies like spinach (49% protein), broccoli (45%), cauliflower (40%), mushrooms (38%), cucumber (24%), capsicum (22%), cabbage (22%), tomatoes (18%) etc. So, do you still feel, you don’t have enough sources !!!!

10) MYTH : Fasting helps in weight loss

FACT : Not really. When you fast, firstly the body uses glucose in blood to produce energy. Once that is depleted, glycogen (stored glucose in liver and muscles) is used and if at all, that also gets depleted, its the fat that gets used.

So, its here, where you might feel that you are losing some fat as well but this comes back as soon as you start eating. And moreover, at times , you end up eating more during fasting. So, it really does not aid in weight loss.

Fasting can also not replace a healthy diet. The better and balanced you eat, the better and balanced you would be. In fact, fasting is not recommended during many medical conditions like diabetes, anaemia, low blood pressure, eating disorders etc.  

These are a few commonly practiced and preached myths. Hope you got the facts right. Do keep checking, this space for more updates, wherein we will be debunking misconceptions related to health, food and fitness.


About the Author

Ruchika K Kapil , Founder – Editor @ FSH. She is an Image Coach and a Personal Branding Expert helping individuals to achieve inside out transformations through Appearance and Attitude Management. She is a fitness freak and a foodie too, who loves being healthy and hearty.

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