‘Carrots make you see in the dark’: Four in 10 people live by food diet myths, study finds

A third of people mistakenly believe chewing gum takes seven years to digest

Gemma Francis
Tuesday 08 May 2018 14:42 BST
We spend three and a half hours low on energy in an average day
We spend three and a half hours low on energy in an average day (Getty Images/Vetta)

Carrots make you see in the dark and skipping meals helps you lose weight: these are among the food myths Britons swear by in their daily lives, a survey has found.

The poll of 2,000 adults revealed a huge amount of confusion about the advice and old wives tales the nation follows, with a third mistakenly believing that chewing gum really does take seven years to digest.

Others stick to the belief that not eating food after 8pm helps you to lose weight or that sugar is a great source of energy, despite the fact that the boost it gives you is often followed by a drop in energy levels.

And more than a tenth work with the saying "no pain, no gain" when it comes to exercise – something which could be leaving them at risk of serious injury.

But apples really can help clean your teeth, with the fibrous content of the fruit acting as a toothbrush, scrubbing plaque and food debris from the teeth.

Despite many food facts being proven to be incorrect, 39 per cent admit to living by the recommendations.

Anna Lioni, brand manager for Spatone, which commissioned the survey, said: “There are loads of myths and old wives’ tales about food.

“And rarely a day goes by without it being reported that certain things which were once deemed healthy are now a risk, and vice versa.

“And sometimes, what works for one may not work for another. But there are plenty of food myths that have been proven conclusively to be untrue.”

One in five people also believe eggs are bad for you due to their high cholesterol levels, a claim which has been debunked in recent years.

In fact, a quarter of the population have been "shocked" to find out a piece of food advice they’d been following for years has turned out to be wrong.

But swearing by tips and advice over the years they believed to be true has left some adults struggling with their diet.

Almost four in 10 worry they don’t always get the energy they need from the food they consume to get them through the day.

And half of the population went as far as to say they sometimes feel they are running on empty.

Fewer than one in 10 people describe their daily energy level as "excellent", with more describing their general level of energy as "poor".

And during an average day, we spend more than three and a half hours feeling low on energy, turning to bananas, coffee and chocolate to give ourselves a boost.

People will even wake up seven times each month and feel like they don’t have enough energy for the day ahead – before they’ve even got out of bed.

Unsurprisingly, a weekend’s excess means Monday is the day we’re most likely to feel lethargic, followed by the midweek hump of Wednesday and Thursday.

Anna Lioni added: “Our survey results found some worrying statistics about the lack of knowledge around energy sources.

“And it also showed more than half of Brits have felt so low in energy, they actually thought they were falling ill – with a quarter then consulting a doctor or health professional.

“Often, a lack of energy comes from a missing nutrient or vitamin, which supplements can help with – as part of a healthy, varied diet.”

Food myths - true or false?

• 'Eating apples cleans your teeth.' True

• 'Carrots make you see in the dark.' False

• 'Eggs are bad for you because they are high in cholesterol.' False

• 'Sugar gives you energy.' False

• 'Skipping meals helps you lose weight.' False

• 'No pain while exercising means no gain.' False

• 'You shouldn't eat a meal after 8pm if you want to lose weight'. False

• 'Gum takes seven years to be digested.' False


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