Every day, dozens of food myths are propagated as “common knowledge”. Even worse, you may actually be building your diet or exercise regimen around some of them.
While not all of them are necessarily harmful, the vast majority are quite misleading and may be costing you time or money. Many of them do not stand up to even elementary scientific analysis, whilst some require a few trials to determine their validity. Some of the most egregious and pervasive food myths are listed below, as well as why they are false.
1 Cooking with Aluminum can lead to Alzheimer’s
This myth has actually caused quite a panic in some circles. It essentially states that using aluminum foil or cookware can lead to Alzheimer’s because the aluminum leaches into your food and elemental aluminum exposure is associated with the condition. It actually has its roots in the 1960’s and was largely disproved quite some time ago. Recent research has found absolutely no conclusive link between cooking with aluminum and Alzheimer’s disease, and it has established that any aluminum that may be absorbed is excreted through the urine by the kidneys.
2 Don’t Eat After 8PM
This myth is largely dependent on two things. It is dependent that your metabolism slows down later in the day, and it is dependant that any food that is not digested when you go to sleep is automatically turned into fat. Your metabolism does indeed slow down as the day winds down, but nothing will harm its speed more than missing a meal.
This myth is also ludicrous for individuals who go to bed after midnight. Ideally, you should not be hungry for the last two or three hours before you go to bed because you have scheduled your meals properly, and you would not be eating because you set an arbitrary time to stop.
Your body also continues to digest food while you sleep, but you just do it at a slower rate. Often times, this myth simply shows results because it forces people to starve themselves, costing them a net loss in metabolic rate overall.
3 Wine has Health Benefits, Beer and Liquor do not
This myth is often times trumpeted by wine fanatics who would like to look down on the “lesser alcohols”. In reality, while wine (especially red wine) has plenty of health benefits when consumed at moderate levels, so do beer and liquor. All three reduce blood pressure and help balance cholesterol, thus protecting you from heart disease. Don’t overdo it, as the added calories can often be more detrimental to your health than the added benefits.
4 Carbohydrates are the Enemy
This one is rather new, as fats were public enemy no.1 until the Atkins diet craze. When you stop eating carbohydrates, you will certainly lose weight because your body enters a state of ketosis. Unfortunately, you will pay a price with lower energy levels, possible depression, and even malnutrition.
Carbohydrates are an integral part of a balanced diet. The trick is to minimize processed sugars and flours which are rarely found in nature. Instead, eat whole grains and make sure to get plenty of fiber in your diet. It will help you feel full and regulate your digestive system.