5 Common Food and Health Myths Demystified

Cropped SingleCare logo By | July 28, 2015

These five “rules-to-live-by” are so commonly touted by the health-conscious know-it-alls out there that they may seem like scientific facts. But you’ll be surprised to hear that they are actually all myths.

We’re constantly flooded with conflicting reports about what you should or shouldn’t eat, but we all know we shouldn’t believe everything we hear. Here’s our takedown of some of the biggest health-related myths out there.

1. Coffee Is Bad for You.

You’ve probably heard that coffee stunts your growth, so you might be surprised to learn that it’s one of the healthiest drinks out there. Your morning cup of joe is full of antioxidants and protects against liver disease, as well as cancers of the endometrium and colon, as How Stuff Works reports.

Coffee also enhances cognitive performance and protects against several degenerative brain diseases. With all this upside, you shouldn’t feel guilty for a second about your daily mug.

2. Microwaves Are Dangerous.

Microwaves have been targeted as a health hazard since the day they were invented, accused of everything from destroying nutritional value to causing cancer. There is, however, little evidence to support these claims.

Most research shows that microwave heating is equivalent to or even safer than conventional cooking methods. The energy in these appliances is too weak to hurt you — as long as you remember to use a microwave-safe dish, you can zap your food without fear.

3. Coconut Water Is Nature’s Sport Drink.

Health fanatics have labeled coconut water the next sports drink. It’s true that fresh coconut water is rich in potassium and minerals and low in sugar and sodium, making it healthier than the average beverage.

However, a study in the Journal of the Society of Sports Nutrition shows that commercial coconut water (from brands like Zico and Vita Coco) offers the same hydration value as tap water. So unless you can get it fresh from the coconut — either from somewhere like a local juice bar or by taking from a coconut yourself — it’s not worth the fuss.

4. MSG Is a Neurotoxin.

You’ve probably heard people complain about all the MSG (monosodium glutamate) in Chinese food, and a recent study demonstrated that newborn mice injected with MSG suffered brain lesions, prompting fears that all forms of MSG should be classified as a neurotoxin, as Wise Geek reports.

Scary, right? Not so fast. Those results didn’t replicate themselves when the mice ingested MSG in food. The lesson here: don’t worry too much about occasionally ordering that extra helping of lo mein.

5. Soy “Feminizes” Men.

Soy has a false reputation for causing men to develop female breasts, according to ZocDoc. Soybeans contain phytoestrogens, an antioxidant that sometimes mimics or inhibits estrogen receptors, and has been shown to reduce fertility in rats.

However, with no research to prove that phytoestrogens have this effect on humans, there’s little reason to pay mind to this sensational urban myth.

There’s Nothing Mythical About Affordable Healthcare.

One reason these myths stick around is that it’s easy for us all to feel a little nervous and unsure about what’s really best for our health. People without health insurance may feel particularly unsure. Piling medical bills can be daunting — and often unaffordable — but that doesn’t mean you should avoid the visit altogether.

SingleCare provides access to doctors at discounted rates of up to 50%. You’re provided with plenty of options for the specific procedure you need, so you can shop around for the best deal and only pay once you’ve received actual care — and that’s something we promise is true every time.

(Main image credit: Zach Inglls/flickr)