Food Myths and Misconceptions

 

Adding salt won’t make the water boil any faster.
You can take mayonnaise on a picnic.
Go ahead and swallow that gum—it doesn’t take any longer to digest than anything else you might eat.

Let’s face it, sometimes common wisdom isn’t all that wise.
We used to call them old wives’ tales but word of mouth has moved online. Blogs, tweets, like buttons, repostings—these are the new enemies of truth. They carry the misinformation to the masses, and the next thing you know you’ve got yourself a new food mythology.

Let’s separate the facts from the fiction, the science from the silliness.
We’re going to settle this once and for all.

Myth: Add salt to water to make it boil faster.
Reality: Salt actually raises the boiling point, so salted water takes longer to boil; at least it would if you added enough, and it takes a heap of salt before there’s any effect on the boiling point. Just add salt because it will make whatever you’re cooking taste better.

Myth: Sushi means raw fish.
Reality: Sushi refers to the vinegared rice. Sashimi comes closer in meaning, since the ingredients are always raw, but it’s still not accurate.

Myth: A craving is your body telling you it needs something.
Reality: Our bodies can tell us physically when we lack a certain nutrient, but specific food cravings are strictly emotional.

Myth: Alcohol burns off in cooking.
Reality: Alcohol has a lower boiling point than water, so it evaporates more quickly in cooking. But even after an hour of simmering, 25% of the alcohol remains, and 10% after two hours.

Myth: There are negative-calorie foods that use more energy to eat than what’s contained in the food itself.
Reality: The mere act of existence burns about 62 calories an hour, so in that sense, you can eat very low-cal foods and come out ahead. But chewing and digesting even a tough food like celery won’t bump up the hourly calorie burn enough to compensate for the added calories.

Myth: You can’t bring sandwiches containing mayonnaise on a picnic.
Reality: Commercial mayo has a high acid level and actually acts as a preservative for other ingredients. The turkey on a sandwich or the tuna in the tuna salad are more likely culprits when it comes to food-borne illnesses.

Myth: Slice into rare beef and you get bloody juices.
Reality: Nearly all blood is removed from meat during slaughter. Even when it’s served ‘bloody rare,’ you’re only seeing water and beef  proteins.

 

Myth: The avocado pit in a bowl of guacamole will keep it from turning brown.
Reality: There is no special magic to the pit. The browning is just natural oxidation from exposure to air, and the pit is big enough to block some air from reaching the dip. Try saran wrap and you’ll cover more area.

Forget the myths, legends, misconceptions, polite fictions, old school notions, and ‘wisdom’ passed from parent to child.
It’s time for the truth to go viral.

 

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