Myths about veges you need to stop believing

Every so often, there is new information regarding some previously unknown benefit of a particular food that is often untrue, and

Every so often, there is new information regarding some previously unknown benefit of a particular food that is often untrue, and vegetables seem to get a large share of these myths. There’s either a new ‘superfood’, or ‘benefits’ proven to be false. Here’s a list of myths surrounding vegetables that you need to stop believing:

  • Onions cure headaches, coughs, asthma, baldness, etc.: While onions have great antioxidant properties and are packed with vitamins, there’s no proven medical use for them, and is most definitely not a cure for baldness. Sadly, this means rubbing a cut onion on your head is going to do nothing apart from emit an onion-y odour from you.
  • Onions protect you from the flu: On the topic of onions, there has been a false story floating around for many years that during a flu epidemic a doctor discovered that in houses where people didn’t get sick, the residents had placed dishes of sliced onions in every room. Apparently he examined the onions and said that they had drawn in the bacteria that caused the flu. This is definitely untrue, because importantly, it is a virus, not bacteria, that causes the flu.
  • There is no real superfood: No true expert in nutrition has bestowed the title of ‘superfood’ on any food. While some foods such as kale contain high antioxidants, there isn’t one definitive ‘superfood’.
  • Frozen vegetables are not as good for you as fresh: In fact, as fresh vegetables age, they start to lose nutrients, whereas vegetables that are frozen go through the process when they are very fresh, and they store their nutrients for much longer.
  • Potatoes are fattening: It’s not potatoes that are fattening, it’s the way they are cooked that is the problem. Having boiled or baked spuds (preferably in their skin) are a good source of slow-release carbohydrate and fibre. Cooking them with fat, butter and/or cream is what makes them fattening.
  • Eating a lot of (or only) vegetables means you will be protein deficient: People believe that the human body needs a high amount of protein, which is perceived to be unachievable with a vegetarian diet. In fact, most foods (including vegetables and grains) contain some level of protein, and there are many great sources of vegetarian protein. Also, having a highly protein-rich diet may actually be debilitating to our health, rather than improve it.

Are there any other myths surrounding fruits and vegetables that you know of?

  1. [email protected]  

    Once again, old science. Who writes these things, because they certainly don’t do much research.

    Potatoes are fattening. The butter is not the problem, it’s the starch in the potatoes that turns to sugar in your system, and triggers the release of insulin which encourages fat retention and weight gain. Starches and sugars are the problem, and the demonising of fats is based on old, disproved theories that have been largely responsible for the explosion in the rates of obesity and diabetes.

    And, I venture to add, eating only vegetables is not a good idea – it would mean a protein shortage. There may be sources of vegetable protein but they’re not generally what we think of as ‘vegetables’.

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