Food myths - true or a load of codswallop?

The Staff Canteen
By Hollie Bligh We are looking at those common food myths that many of us abide by and seeing if there is actually any truth in them:

You should drink eight glasses of water a dayDo you drink 8 - Photo by Thinkstock photos-Getty Images

Our bodies do need plenty of water, and athletes might need more than most, but there's nothing magical about eight glasses. Each person in unique and will require different amounts, it is also important to remember that water is found in foods as well as beverages.

5 a day keeps you healthy

Eating your 5 fruit or veg, even 7, a day is not as healthy as you might first think. If you eat five portions of fruit a day you could consume 74 grams of sugar. That’s 18.5 teaspoons. If you eat five portions of just vegetables that’s 22 grams of sugar, 5.5 teaspoons. Fruit and Veg   Fruit and vegetables are not the most nutritious foods available. We need a total of 13 vitamins, approximately 16 minerals, essential fats and complete proteins just to survive, let alone for optimal health. A better 5 a day would be liver, sardines, eggs or milk, enough sunflower seeds to get vitamin E and one green leafy vegetable, to make it 7 add steak (for zinc) and mineral-rich cocoa powder (think dark chocolate).  

If you add salt to water it changes the boiling point and cooks food fastersalt to water

  Adding salt to water will alter the boiling point, but the concentration of salt dissolved in the water is directly related to the increase in the boiling point. In order to change water's boiling point considerably so much table salt would have to be added that the resulting salt water would be nearly inedible. The amount of salt that is likely to be added to a pot of water will only alter the boiling point of water by a few tenths of a degree Celsius at most.    

André KarwathChocolate is bad for your skin

There's no evidence to support the claim. In fact no specific foods have been proved to cause acne. However, a new study suggests there may be a link between high-glycaemic foods, such as white bread and pasta, and breakouts.  

Don't eat after 6/7/8pm or you will gain weight

Food eaten after 6/7/8pm does not turn into fat, not eating after a certain time often 'works' because people end up reducing their total caloric intake. It is believed that if you eat too late and go to bed on a full stomach, your body's metabolism will slow down and instead of burning the food you just ate, it will turn into fat and you will gain weight. This is only partially true, and isn't universal for all people. While it's true your metabolism slows down when you go to sleep, it doesn't stop, and you still churn through the food in your stomach, albeit slower. If your diet, exercise, and activity habits mean that a meal is more likely to metabolize into fat because you sit at a desk all day, eating it at 5pm versus 7pm isn't going to change that.

Eggs are bad for your heart

Eggs do contain a substantial amount of cholesterol in their yolk, about 211 milligrams per large egg. Cholesterol is the fatty stuff in our blood that contributes to clogged arteries and heart attacks, however the cholesterol in eggs, or any other food, doesn’t have a huge impact on raising our blood cholesterol. The body compensates for the additional cholesterol by manufacturing less cholesterol itself. It is saturated and trans fats which have much greater impact on raising blood cholesterol.

Fish is full of good fat

Mackerel - photo credit to Telegraph   Fish is not as good as it is made out to be, only up to 30% of the fat in fish is omega-3, good fat, which helps prevent blood clots and reduces inflammation. However the other 70% or more is a mixture of saturated fat that tends to raise cholesterol levels and various other fats that are little more than a source of concentrated calories. It is also important to remember that the fat levels vary depending on the type of fish.  

Never use wooden cutting boards with meat

It has been said that cutting on a wooden cutting board will result in tiny scratches and cuts from your knife, and if the cutting board is used with meat, especially raw meat, that all the meat juices will settle into those tiny cuts in the board. However Dean O. Cliver , Ph.D of the UC-Davis Food Safety Laboratory found that even if you apply bacteria to a wooden cutting board, its natural properties cause the bacteria to pass through the top layer of the wood and settle inside, where they're very difficult to bring out unless you split the board open. What food myths do you know about that simply aren't true or are there any that you religiously stick to? Let us know.
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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 7th August 2014

Food myths - true or a load of codswallop?