We have a bit of a mish-mash of Woo-Woo to bust today : some water release, some toxic cleanup and some radiation!
Myth #1: Drinking coffee dehydrates you.
You are about to take a sip from your second coffee of the morning and remember that you should stuff a larger water bottle into your bag before you leave for work. Everyone know coffee dehydrates you!
FALSE. While beverages containing caffeine have been vilified by the the food “purity” preachers, the diuretic effect that causes you to lose sodium and water is a real factor in becoming dehydrated. However having one or two cups of coffee a day should have no real effect on your levels of hydration. But, if you down more than four cups of coffee each day you may see a small diuretic effect but from a measurable dehydration standpoint you are OK.
Myth #2: You should fast periodically to cleanse toxins from your body.
You’ve been throwing all caution to the wind over the last couple of weeks and eating and drinking a lot of not-so-healthy food. Time to go that juice fast to get rid of the awful stuff that has been building up in your body!
FALSE. You were born with your own system for removing toxins from your body: the liver, kidneys and spleen. There isn’t any evidence that not eating—or consuming only juice—for any period of time makes them do this job any better. Getting back on a sane eating habit is the way to go. And you’ll feel better for it instead of feeling like you are paying a price (sometimes literally!) for your excess.
Myth #3: Radiation from microwaves creates toxins in your food.
So you’ve chucked the microwave because you are afraid that your reheated leftovers might begin to glow?
FALSE. The word “radiation” may make you think of nuclear bombs, but it simply refers to energy that travels in
waves and spreads out as it goes. Microwaves, radio waves and visual light all are forms of radiation. So, too, are X-rays and gamma rays—which could indeed be risky for our health. But the microwaves used to cook foods are significantly weaker than X-rays and gamma rays. And the types of changes that occur in microwaved food as it cooks are solely caused by the food heating itself, not from the oven’s microwaves at all.
That said, some plastics may leach small amounts of crap into your food when microwaved, so do use only microwave-safe containers.
Myth #4: Microwaving kills nutrients in food.
You would so much rather cook most of your food on the stove or in the oven when possible because it will “hold on” to its nutrients better. You save the microwave for zapping the food you don’t really get concerned about, such as frozen pancakes.
FALSE. It isthe heat and the amount of cooking time that affect nutrient loss, generally not the cooking method. Reardless of whether you are roasting, grilling or microwaving, the longer and hotter you cook a food, the more you will destroy any heat- and water-sensitive nutrients like Vitamin C and Thiamin. In fact, because microwave cooking can cook your food more quickly, it may even minimize nutrient loss.
So, have that coffee, keep your diet balanced and don’t worry about the microwave!
Do you have any food myths you’d like me to investigate?
- Keith-Thomas Ayoob, Ed.D., R.D., of Albert Einstein College of Medicine
- Robert Brackett, Ph.D., director of the National Center for Food Safety and Technology at the Illinois Institute of Technology.
- Carol Byrd-Bredbenner, Ph.D., R.D., professor of nutrition at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey.