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Why do we believe myths about bad and good food choices?

Fresh fruit and vegetables

Why don’t we question myths about bad and good food choices? We often eat something that we would never have eaten until someone on the internet said it is crucial for staying healthy, boosting our immune systems, preventing aging, etc. Similarly, we would give anything for a bite of a favorite food. Unfortunately, someone posted a warning about it, making it a forbidden food choice. Let’s look at a few examples.

Glasses, water, strawberries
Water is but one of the sources of fluids for your body

Between the right food and enough sleep comes 8 glasses of water per day

Conventional wisdom says if you don’t drink at least eight glasses of water per day, you will dehydrate. Dehydration can cause joint pain, mental confusion and facial wrinkles. Why would we believe that someone who runs a couple of miles during lunch break and another person who gets no physical exercise needs the same amount of water? According to current research, the goal must be to replace the fluids you lose. Furthermore, our bodies get fluids from milk, juice, tea, coffee and even from the solid foods we eat, and not only water.

Food coloring artificial
Red dye No. 40

Red dye No. 40 in food causes ADHD — NOT

Allura red is another name for this artificial coloring agent produced from petroleum. Food manufacturers add it to foods to replace the natural color lost during cooking or processing. Research shows that artificial food coloring increases energy. The fact that children consume candies, sodas, juices and other red-colored snacks, making them more active has led to this myth. However, there is no proof that it causes attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

You’d be surprised to see how many foods contain Red dye No.40. Along with red and pink foods, it enhances the colors of some flavored chocolate products, breakfast cereals, nacho snacks, and even ready-made mac and cheese, among an endless list of artificially colored foods and drinks.

Food, cakes sugary icing
Excitement and not Cupcakes cause excessive energy in children

Did you think sugary food makes your child act out?

Several studies have confirmed that sugar does not affect behavior. Think about it. When does it happen? Sudden bouts of excessive energy happen at sleepovers, birthday parties and other occasions, right? These events just happen to also include candies, ice cream, cake frosting, sodas or juices. When someone blamed the sugar for a child making uncontrolled cartwheels across the room, we all took it as gospel. However, scientists say adults have a perception problem. The child’s actions are pure emotional expressions of excitement.

Woman enjoying chocolate
You were right all along — chocolate makes it better!

Do you feel guilty for eating chocolate to ease PMS?

Premenstrual syndrome is known to make women reach for a few bites of chocolate to ease their moods. Up to recently, women’s magazines advised that chocolates have the opposite effect and actually worsen the premenstrual moods. What do the scientists say? According to studies, chocolate does, in fact, ease anger, anxiety, temporary sadness, mental fogginess and other PMS symptoms. How? Researchers say chocolate can set off serotonin, a mood-altering chemical, in the brain. This process makes up the decrease of serotonin that occurs naturally in the week leading up to a period. Their timeline study shows that the first awareness is the pleasant taste and texture, followed by serotonin’s effect, suppressing irritation and fatigue for several hours.

The list of debunked food myths go on and on, but I’ll stick to these for today.

The bottom line is, drink as many glasses of fluids as you want. Listen to your body; it will ask for fluids. Enjoy your children’s energy bouts; you’ll miss their excitement when they turn into moody teenagers that hate the world. Most importantly, don’t let unknown entities on the internet tell you not to eat chocolate to ease PMS — or anything else for that matter! Take the time to find supporting evidence before you avoid any food that you clearly enjoy.

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