Nowadays, we all care about what foods we eat, and their effects on our body. However, there are many “food myths” that just won’t seem to die down. In this article, we tackle five of the most common out there.
The prevalent low-carbohydrate diets seem to have brought about this common misconception. Although sometimes high in calories, many carbohydrates contain nutrients, fiber and the slow-release energy your body needs as fuel. When consumed in excess, the additional calories are likely to lead to weight gain, however when enjoyed as part of a healthy and balanced diet, carbohydrates will not make you fat.
An additive derived from seaweed that is used to stabilize and thicken foods, Carrageenan is wrongly believed by many to contribute to the growth of cancer cells in the body. A variation treated with harsh acid during processing, known as poligeenan or degraded carrageenan, has been found to be damaging. However, this type is never used in the food industry. Undegraded carrageenan on the other hand has been approved for use in food by governing bodies in the US and around the world.
Used as an alternative to sugar, high fructose corn syrup is the subject of a widely believed food myth that it is more damaging for your health than traditional sugar. The logic behind it is that your body can’t naturally cope with higher levels of fructose, however the syrup actually contains only slightly more than is present in normal sugar; the adverse health effects are due to people consuming so much HFCS altogether.
Contrary to popular belief, adding salt to the water in which you boil foods does not have negative health impacts. In fact, if you are boiling vegetables, you should definitely add salt to the pot; it actually prevents nutrients moving from the veg to the water, locking in the goodness. So despite the concern around consuming salt, adding a teaspoon for every cup of water to the pot can actually benefit your health!
This misconception stems from the fact that microwave ovens use radiation to rapidly heat your food. You probably encounter more radiation on a daily basis than you think, from mobile phones, power lines and more. However, radiation is actually just energy that spreads out in waves; it is not necessarily hazardous. The type encountered in microwave ovens is significantly weaker than x-rays and gamma rays, to which prolonged exposure could be harmful.