Complete Falsehoods About Food

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Today, I can scarcely bite into bacon, crack an egg or put a knife to butter without feeling a pang of guilt. Not to mention my compulsion to drink eight glasses of water a day, fill my shopping bags with organic food and snatch sugary treats from the grasps of my children. And don’t get me started on the penance I pay at the gym for eating a late-night bowl of ice cream. But what if I have it all wrong? What if we all do? If you’ve ever wondered whether there’s any truth to the long-held beliefs that replay in your head as you pick up a menu, grab items from the grocery store or fix yourself a midnight snack, read on. We’re investigating food falsehoods so ingrained in our minds now that we don’t always know how they got there. Usually a dash of science got mixed up with “common sense”.
If you don’t drink eight glasses of water a day, you’ll struggle under the weight of dehydration, a malady that causes everything from mental confusion to joint pain to facial wrinkles, or so the conventional wisdom goes. The “eight glasses of water a day” adage is such widespread advice, it holds a spot between “eat your vegetables” and “you need eight hours of sleep a night.”
But is chugging eight glasses of water a day really good advice? It all depends on your activity level and age, and the climate where you live. Truth is, “eight glasses of water a day” isn’t a hard-and-fast guideline for minimum hydration. Current research contends you only need half that amount, about 32 ounces (about 1 liter), to stay hydrated. What you really need to focus on is whether you are replacing the fluids you lose through sweating and urinating. For example, if you spend your lunch breaks running a 5K instead of sitting at your desk, you’ll need to drink more water throughout the day.

In 2012, researchers at Stanford University and the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System reviewed more than 200 studies comparing nutritional levels in organic and conventional foods, as well as the health of people who ate both types. What they found is that plant and animal foods have the same amount of vitamins, no matter how they’re grown. The only possible exception resides in the dairy section, where organic milk, cheese and yogurt were sometimes reported to have elevated omega-3 levels.

Plus, you don’t necessarily need water to replenish your body. Juice and milk are two options. Even coffee, tea and soft drinks — long believed to have a dehydrating effect on the body because of the caffeine they contain — are about two-thirds retained by the body and contribute to daily liquid intake.
Even if you skipped liquids entirely for a day, you’d probably still be OK: Studies show that you can derive about 32 ounces of water from solid foods.
For many parents, it makes perfect sense. Give your kid a cupcake (or two) and in about 15 minutes, you can watch them bounce off the walls. It’s a fact of life, one that most parents have come to accept: Sugary treats lend a free-for-all motif to birthday parties, sleepovers and similar events. But is sugar really to blame as the link between children and an upswing in wild behaviour at fun group gatherings?
If you just mentally pointed at a fork full of frosting, you’re mistaken. A number of studies show there isn’t a biological link between children’s behaviour and their consumption of sugar. Unless you count parents, that is. Turns out, sugar has a perception problem. When children dine on sugary snacks and then somersault across a room, it’s just as likely the cause of the gymnastics outbreak — or any active spike in behavior — will be misinterpreted by parents. As adults reflect on what led up to a child’s behaviour, they’re apt to hit upon a sugar-eating incident rather than the party itself.
Parents have been putting the blame on the wrong culprit. In fact, experts say scientific studies do not show any link between the food that’s ingested and behaviour. Researchers contend children are hyped up because of the circumstances surrounding the snack, not the snack itself. For example, when a child eats candy and becomes excitable at a holiday party, it’s probably the party and not the candy that is the cause.
Organic foods can be expensive, sometimes costing nearly twice as much as their non-organic counterparts, yet many of us cling to one thought when shelling out the extra dough: Organic foods are better.
Not when it comes to nutrition. Mineral for mineral, vitamin for vitamin and protein for protein, organic foods stack up just the same as non-organic foods. In 2012, researchers at Stanford University and the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System reviewed more than 200 studies comparing nutritional levels in organic and conventional foods, as well as the health of people who ate both types. What they found is that plant and animal foods have the same amount of vitamins, no matter how they’re grown. The only possible exception resides in the dairy section, where organic milk, cheese and yogurt were sometimes reported to have elevated omega-3 levels.
If you continue to cling to your free-range sensibilities, take heart: Organic food does have one overriding benefit. If it’s on the menu, you won’t be as likely to ingest antibiotic-resistant bacteria or pesticides because of the animal-raising and produce-growing methods. In fact, one study detected pesticide levels on about one-third of the non-organic produce tested, as opposed to 7 percent of the organic produce examined.

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Source : Howstuffworks


Chocolate and Premenstrual Syndrome

It’s an adage so widely known, it’s nearly a joke: When premenstrual syndrome (PMS) strikes, women reach for• chocolate. But they may think it’s just a little pick-me-up without any real scientific benefit. Even 10 or 15 years ago, women’s magazines advised that sweets would actually make premenstrual women’s moods worse.
However, studies show chocolate really does ease PMS symptoms, such as anxiety, anger, mental fogginess or temporary sadness. Researchers even mapped out a timeline to illustrate chocolate’s effects. The texture and taste of chocolate get the ball rolling, but even as the immediacy of this pleasure fades, another positive effect takes hold: chocolate suppresses feelings of fatigue and irritation, sometimes for several hours. Chocolate also contains trace minerals, including magnesium, which can become depleted during• menstruation.
How does chocolate work its wonders? Researchers propose it has to do with chocolate’s ability to set off mood-altering chemicals, like serotonin, in the• brain. Serotonin is often low in the week before a period. A study at MIT found chocolate and carbohydrates were a particularly powerful combination. When the study’s premenstrual subjects ate chocolate brownies, for example, the brain’s serotonin levels soared. Women who aren’t chocolate fans can still lighten the mood by snacking on carbs, such as oatmeal or yogurt, to downplay the body’s reaction to PMS.


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