There are a number of old wives’ tales about food and drink that have become accepted as facts by a large majority of the population when, in fact, they are completely false.
Despite what you might have been told by friends or family members, there’s actually no evidence to suggest that some of these accepted facts are even remotely accurate.
We’ve taken a look at some of the accepted truths about food and drink and have explained why they’re a load of old nonsense!
Eating cheese before bedtime will give you nightmares
There’s absolutely no evidence to suggest that eating cheese before bedtime will give you nightmares. However, eating fatty foods like cheese before you go to bed can give you indigestion. The discomfort from this indigestion can lead to you being pulled out of REM sleep early and therefore, you remember your dreams more clearly. If it was a bad dream, then you’ll think it was the cheese that caused it. It didn’t, it just helped you remember it!
You should never reheat rice
If you don’t reheat rice thoroughly, then eating it can lead to some illness. However, if you ensure that the rice is piping hot, the heat will kill off all the bacteria that causes food poisoning and it will be perfectly edible. However, this only applies to rice that has been stored in a sealed container in the fridge for a maximum of one day. If your rice has been exposed to air for a long period, has been kept at room temperature or was originally cooked over 24 hours ago, bin it!
Mixing drinks gives you a more severe hangover
The severity of a hangover the morning after a night out is based on how much alcohol was consumed and if you’ve become dehydrated. Consuming the same amount of alcohol by drinking the same beverage all night or by mixing drinks will have the exact same results.
The five second rule
There’s a common thought that picking food up from the floor within five seconds of dropping it means that it is fine to eat. Wrong! No matter how long the food has been on the floor, it will be contaminated with bacteria, so either wash it or bin it.
Carrots help you see in the dark
Whilst carrots do contain vitamin A, which can help improve your overall eye health, eating them won’t give you any advantages in terms of seeing in the dark. Your eyes need light to be able to see, eating carrots won’t change this!
Eating celery burns more calories than you take in
On average, a stick of celery contains about ten calories. Eating one stick does not lead to your body burning off more than ten calories, so this is another myth!
Eggs are bad for your heart
Whilst eggs do contain a fair amount of cholesterol in their yolks, eating them isn’t really bad for your heart. In fact, they contain around 210mg of cholesterol, and the average adult can eat 300mg per day without any issues. Of course, like most foods, if you over-consume then your health will be affected but eggs are fine in moderation.
A muesli bar is healthier than a chocolate bar
When selecting a snack to go with your lunch, it can be tempting to go with a muesli bar in an attempt to be a bit healthier. However, many of these bars can actually contain more fats, sugars and therefore calories compared to a small chocolate bar! Be especially wary of yoghurt-filled bars or bars containing nuts and dried fruits. These aren’t as healthy as you might think!
There’s a common trend of detoxing in the UK, where people think they are ridding the body of bad things by drinking herbal tea, etc. This is nonsense. Your body has its own special tools to remove toxins; they’re called the kidneys and the liver. Drinking green tea won’t speed this process up at all.
Feed a cold, starve a fever
There’s no medical reason to stop eating food when you have a fever. In fact, your increased temperature from the fever will lead to you burning off more calories, so if anything, you should eat more, not less!
Gluten-free foods are healthier than regular food
Gluten-free products are often more expensive and some people think eating them instead of the regular alternative will help them lose weight. This usually isn’t the case as many gluten-free products actually contain more fats, salts and sugars than the regular product.
Hair of the dog
When you have a hangover, there’s a thought that having another alcoholic drink in the morning will help shift the headache. It won’t. You’re just putting more alcohol into your body that will eventually need to be removed. If anything, it’ll only prolong the suffering. Of course, if you get drunk again, you won’t feel hungover but you’re only delaying the inevitable!
Bananas are the best source of potassium
Getting enough potassium in your body is vital as it helps to keep your nerves and muscles working efficiently and it can also help lower your blood pressure. Bananas do contain potassium, but they aren’t ‘the best’ source of it. An average-sized banana contains around 420mg of potassium, but also contains roughly 100 calories. You can get the same amount of potassium with fewer calories from a number of items such as one stalk of broccoli or half a potato.
Microwaving removes nutrients from food
There’s a misconception that using a microwave to cook food will somehow result in nutrients being lost from the product. This isn’t true. In fact, because microwaves often cook foods quickly, they can actually help to minimise nutrient losses, which take place when you heat a product over a longer period of time.
Dried fruit is a healthy snack
Dried fruit is basically just fresh fruit with the water removed, meaning all that’s left is sugar. The fact that they taste so sweet makes them moreish and you can soon find yourself eating a whole packet. 100g of dried fruit can contain around 360 calories, which is more than many chocolate bars! Of course, dried fruits contain essential vitamins and minerals which are good for the body, but in terms of weight loss, it’s much better to eat a piece of fresh fruit.