Coffee stunts your growth. Carrots help you see in the dark. Milk is good for bones. Any of these sound familiar? Chances are, you’ve heard at least one of these statements before but are any of these actually true? Read on to learn some of the “facts” you’ve been told that are actually myths!
Myth #1: Milk Makes Your Bones Strong
Remember the Got Milk? campaign you saw on the milk cartons at school? This campaign swept the nation starting in 1993 and is still around today, but was this advertising built on a myth? Now, don’t get us wrong! Milk is a great source of calcium and vitamin D, both of which the body needs. However, many studies have shown no association between drinking milk and strengthening your bones.
Don’t stop drinking milk, though! The same studies also found that drinking milk is a better alternative to calcium supplements, because milk also contains essential proteins and vitamins.
Myth #2: Organic Food is Best
Organic food is often bragged to be pesticide-free, which isn’t entirely true. Farmers still spray their plants with a naturally derived product, which sometimes is worse for the environment.
Does this mean organic is not good? No one really knows, as there aren’t many studies on the benefits of an organic diet. One could argue eating organically means you aren’t eating Twinkies, making it healthier. However, non-organic consumers aren’t necessarily eating Twinkies either. Besides that, no studies prove a healthier benefit of organic over non-organic.
Myth #3: Turkey Helps You Sleep Better
Let’s be real for a second. The post-Thanksgiving nap hits all of us turkey cravers, but is turkey helping us sleep? Turkey does contain Tryptophan, an amino acid that is a precursor to serotonin, which is important for your mood and helping you relax. However, turkey isn’t the only food that contains this simple snoozer. A lot of foods have Tryptophan!
So who is behind the sleepy spell? Carbs! A large carbohydrate (carb) intake causes the body to produce insulin, which pulls amino acids from the blood. It does not pull Tryptophan, though, because this brain hog competes with the other amino acids to reach the brain.
Myth #4 Carrots Help You See in the Dark
Carrots are packed with beta carotene, a pigment in colorful fruits and vegetables that eventually gets converted to the active form of Vitamin A in the body, but will they really give you superhuman vision? Sadly no, as carrots only help vision impairment caused by a Vitamin A deficiency. So if you want to see at night, stick to the night-vision goggles.
Myth #5 Coffee Stunts Your Growth
When we were younger, adults sheltered us from the good drinks, like coffee. There used to be a common belief in the scientific community that caffeine played a role with bone density, but more recent studies have shown that the small effects can easily be offset by sufficient calcium intake.
Let’s face it. There are not many parents that are willing to let their children drink coffee, but the problem doesn’t cause a stunt growth, but instead a lack of sleep. Caffeine suppresses sleeping hormones in the brain, resulting in children missing out on that vital 8 hours of sleep, which a full night of sleep does help growth. Now that we have the free will to drink as much coffee as we please, we can do so without worrying about outdated myths our parents may have lead us to believe.