Food myths solved with simple answers (Part II)

Food myths


Food myths still thrive in our day to day. In a haze of rights and wrongs, some even gain the status of traditional sayings and end up being recalled as valid health advice. We won’t discriminate true from false, but aim to debunk the biology behind both parts. Check out Part I to find out what other myths may still be haunting you.


Food Myth N.7 – Pineapple and grapefruit make you lose weight because they dissolve fat


The verdict – Although being delicious, pinneaple and grapefruit do not have the fat melting super power that would make you loose weight.

On such cases, I really encourage people to assemble their own home lab (not a meth lab!). Grab a piece of animal fat – lard is just fine – and mix it with any of these fruits. What happens?  Well, we’ll save you the mess. None of these fruits have the ability to dissolve animal fat. In fact if they did, you’d be better off without them. Because dissolving body fat would be pretty harmful to everyone, due to the fundamental lipidic structures we all possess. Such products are named solvents, and the most commonly used fat solvents are acetone, detergents and alcohol. We wouldn’t be drinking any of those to get thin, right? (Please don’t, it will kill you.)


Food myth N.8 – Is beer really the cause of “beer belly”?


The verdict – Don’t blame a moderate consumption of beer for your beer belly!

The image of the middle aged man with a large, round belly, calmly sitting in the company of a beer, could to be more than enough to deem this food myth as a fact. But let’s not be so easily conviced. Beer has been around for millenniums, however, while the term “beer belly” isn’t that old. Let’s get our facts straight. A bottle of beer (330 ml) possesses 150 kcal, 13 grams of sugar and zero fats. Meanwhile, orange juice is more caloric and way more sugary. How many orange juice bellies have you seen? So, does the beer belly come from beer or does it not? A study with a sample of 20 thousand drinkers and non-drinkers found a positive correlation between the consumption of beer and weight gain in men, not in women (lucky girls!). Beer lovers, calm down!  Weight and waist gain were reported for heavy drinkers (1 L plus per day), with an average gain of 1,5 cm on their waists after 6 years of such a habit. Despite this positive correlation, the study’s authors could not corroborate the beer belly myth, since the groups with more weight gain were both the heavy drinkers and the abstemious [1]. If you’re a moderate drinker, don’t blame your beer belly on your beer.


Food myth N. 8 – Drinking water during meal time is fattening?


The verdict – No.

Let’s be as clear as water. Water has zero calories, either during, after or before meals. Water also does not alter the caloric content of other foods.


Food myth N.9 – The 5 second rule ?


The verdict – Germs are too fast, 5 seconds and they will be all over it.

Letting the last cookie of the jar fall on the ground will most certainly lead to a profound dissapointment, only surpassed by an immediate grab and chew, as if nothing happened. On the other side, we live in the germophobia era, where such acts are unthinkable. Gluttony or the fear of getting sick, which is right? The 5 second rule doesn’t garantee less microorganisms on the cookie that just fell, the contamination occurs almost immediatly. What should really be taken into account is the type of microorganism (pathogenic or not), and whether the total amount of germs is sufficent to make you suffer from food poisoning. So be alert, if your cookie falls in your cat’s litter box, please don’t eat it!

2 replies on “Food myths solved with simple answers (Part II)

  • Daniela Longo GArgiulo

    Parabéns pela fantástica série que fala sobre mitos alimentares. A ignorância e o não questionamento sobre a origem de certas estórias perpetua crenças infundadas e pode mesmo gerar medo no consumo de determinados alimentos. Alguns desses mitos foram criados por conveniência. No Brasil, tem-se ainda a lenda em acreditar que tomar leite e comer manga causa a morte. Por isso, todo batido ou receita que leve os dois ingredientes gera no mínimo desconforto. A origem dessa crença está na época da escravatura, onde nas fazendas de gado leiteiro havia muitos mangueiras e a fruta era parte integrante na alimentação diária dos escravos. Os senhores, para diminuir o prejuízo com o consumo de leite, lançaram essa estória que ainda se ouve nos dias de hoje! Por isso a combinação ciência e culinária se faz necessária e muito saudável!

    • Amass. Cook.

      Queremos trazer alguns esclarecimentos muito simples, para que as pessoas comam mais livremente e sem fantasmas. Ora aí está mais um mito desvendado. Acho que temos que fazer uma série só sobre mitos Brasileiros. Um dos que achei mais curioso foi o de não se dever comer alimentos “remosos” enquanto se está doente. Muito obrigado pela sua leitura e comentário!


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