There are many old wives tales that I must admit still govern my eating habits today, but sometimes I really do wonder how much truth there is in some of them. I’ve often been presented with the opportunity to save money when eating particular foods, but have forked out extra cash purely to circumvent these food myths.
Is milk really good for my bones when so many people say it’s processed to unhealthy levels? Are all salty snacks unhealthy? Do we really need to drink two litres of water per day or can we save money and avoid boosting the profits of food retailer’s? Find out which food myths, commonly labelled as "the most annoying", have been debunked by numerous nutritionists online.
Dairy Myth – Dairy is the best thing for Healthy Bones
The first big confusion here is that many people mistake dairy with calcium. Yes, dairy contains calcium, but so do the majority of dark leafy greens, which can be considerably less expensive to buy. Milk also packs vitamin D, but bone strength requires so much more than these two components. One very important ingredient for healthy bones is vitamin K, which can be found in those big leafy greens, not in dairy. Magnesium is another important ingredient, which can be found in cashew nuts, almonds, oatmeal and potatoes and again missing in dairy.
The Harvard School of Public health even pointed out that milk and cheese aren’t even the best sources of calcium. The richest source of food for healthy bones include collard greens, kale and bok choy.
Water Myth – Everyone should drink 2L per day
This myth originated from a poorly conducted survey by a group of doctors who wanted to campaign against fizzy, sugary drinks. Although their intentions were good, unfortunately there is no uniform limit on how many litres per day a human should drink. Whilst a well-hydrated body can surely improve many cognitive and physical activities, 2kg of water isn’t going to be right for everyone The type of water, another discussion point, has minimal effects too, so spending up to $15 or $20 on expensive water is basically money down the drain.
Hydrating your body is a necessary part of our daily lives, but even drinking your own body weight in water isn’t going to keep away illness and disease. So don’t get too caught up on not hitting your 2L daily goal. It’s not a bad goal to have, but it's not a rule either.
Salt Myth – Adding Salt to Water reduces the Boiling Point
Chefs and home cooks alike simply won’t let this one die, however, ask any first year chemistry student and they can explain how miniature the difference actually is. To reduce the boiling point of water to a level that could actually be noticed would require so much salt, you would make the water inedible. The truth is that the amount of salt one would normally add is only going to alter the boiling point by a few tenths of a degree Celsius.
Basically you would need to create a mini Dead Sea in your kitchen to speed up the boiling process, so using excessive amounts of salt is nothing but a waste. On the flip side, boiling water without a lid reduces the speed by 70%, so you should instead save on energy costs by by covering your pot.
Eggs Myth – Eating too Many Eggs increase Cholesterol levels
Personally, I enjoy working out and eggs can be a quick and cheap source of protein to wolf down, but many people who witness me eating 3 or 4 eggs will often say that it’s terrible for my cholesterol. Numerous people diagnosed with high cholesterol will go out of their way to avoid eggs, which in reality is unnecessary. Cholesterol is determined by saturated and trans-fats, of which eggs contain very little (1.5g per large egg and no trans-fat). Denying oneself from eggs is foregoing 13 naturally occurring vitamins and minerals needed for a healthy diet.
Removing eggs from your diet due to cholesterol concerns will achieve nothing and will actually do more damage than good due to the lack of those 13 natural vitamins and minerals. The Harvard Medical School agrees with this and states that even the small amounts of cholesterol in the egg yolk isn’t enough to reach the bloodstream where it actually matters.
Alzheimer’s Myth – Aluminium Foil and Cookware are the Cause
The myth first begun in the 1980s after tests showed from Alzheimer’s patients tested in the 1960’s that there were increased levels of aluminium found in their brains. The result was a mass boycotting of aluminium pots and pans and even to the extent of using aluminium foil during the 70’s and 80’s.
If you have been spending more money buying alternative forms of cookware then you can now confidently stop, because numerous scientists have conducted research to disprove this belief. Most experts now know that any magnesium absorbed by the body is processed by the kidneys and excreted within our urine.
Wine Myth – Wine has health benefits, Beer and Liquor Don’t
The good news is that there is some truth in the title, however the health benefits are not isolated to just vino. Wine and all other alcohols contain antioxidants and when consumed in small doses, they actually increases the body’s HDL levels (good cholesterol). So drinking small amounts of alcohol on a daily basis increases the HDL levels in our body and has been directly linked to reducing the risks of heart disease.
This by no means justifies consuming excessive amounts on a daily basis, as the effects turn negative after around the second glass of wine for example. However, 'everything in moderation' is a good rule of thumb to follow to try and remain healthy. Remember, alcohol isn’t calorie free either so finding a balance that suits your diet and weight is key.