10 Food Myths Debunked

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Katie Johnson
We've all heard our fair share of food-based fables: watermelon seeds growing inside your stomach, bread crusts turning your hair curly...

But how many of these old wives' tales are actually true? We sought expert advice from the Arizona State University School of Nutrition and Health Promotion. Offering their professional two cents are: Director Linda Vaughan, PhD, RD; Professor/ Associate Director Carol Johnston, PhD, RD; and Senior Lecturer/Registered Dietitian Rick Hall, MS, RD In some cases, the experts disagreed -- so we'll give you both sides and let you decide.

See Also:
Is Organic Food Better For You Than Non-Organic Food?
Good News: Coffee Might Extend Your Life. Bad News: Sugar Might Make You Dumb

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Katie Johnson

Eating yogurt improves bad breath.

Vaughan: "It just might! If a person eats yogurt every day, the 'healthy' bacteria in the yogurt tend to overwhelm the odor causing bacteria that had been present in the mouth. Eating yogurt might also lower risk of gingivitis or gum disease."

Milk whitens teeth.

Vaughan: "Not by itself. Milk is a great source of protein, calcium and vitamin D, all needed for healthy teeth but if teeth are already yellowed due to smoking, poor dental health, genetics, aging or other reasons, milk alone won't whiten/brighten teeth."

Chocolate makes your skin break out.

Vaughan: "No, there is really no link at all between chocolate and acne. Virtually all forms of acne are hormonally caused and chocolate has nothing to do with it."

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Katie Johnson

You shouldn't have red meat more than once a week.

Hall: "False. While there is evidence that over-consumption of saturated fats found in red meat may increase risks of some chronic diseases, consuming beef a few times a week is not in itself detrimental. Choosing cuts that have less saturated fats is smart; and using a marinade when cooking on a grill reduces potential carcinogens associated with outdoor grilling."

Vaughan: "Red meat is a great source of zinc and iron, two minerals that tend to be low in the diets of many American females. It is also a great source of high quality protein. If lean beef/red meat is chosen then there is little or no "down side" to having red meat more than once a week. What are examples of lean beef? 97% fat free ground beef, beef round (eye of round, top round), top sirloin, etc. Keep portions to 3 ounces/meal."

Johnston: "Substituting fish and poultry for red meat reduces saturated fat intake over time and is likely to help reduce blood cholesterol concentrations. Also, reducing red meat consumption will reduce one's 'carbon footprint'. Hence, reducing meat consumption is environmentally friendly. "


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ASU School of Nutrition and Health Promotion

502 E. Monroe St., Phoenix, AZ

Category: General


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