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The 5 Biggest Nutrition Myths

Are beans the most gas inducing food? Does food help absorb alcohol?

With so much conflicting advice around nutrition, it can be hard to detangle fact from fiction. Our resident nutritionist, Lily Soutter clears up confusion around the 5 most cited myths:

 

1. Eating cheese before bedtime gives you nightmares

There is no scientific grounding to support this myth and it really is an old wives tale. In fact, research conducted in 2005 debunked this myth so it really is ok to enjoy the occasional after dinner cheese board.

 

2. Food can 'soak up' alcohol

Enjoying a kebab after a night out of drinking won’t ‘soak up’ the alcohol you’ve consumed. However when you eat a meal prior or alongside to drinking, it slows the rate at which alcohol is absorbed in the small intestine.

 

3. You must chew 20 times before swallowing

Digestion starts in the mouth, therefore it’s important to chew thoroughly to minimise the risk of choking, but to also aid with optimal digestion. However there is no scientifically backed number in terms of how many times we must chew our food. This number can vary drastically between the consumption of different types of food, for example you may need to do more mechanical work when chewing steak however this same work isn’t required when consuming a banana - you could end up with mush!

 

4. Chewing gum will sit in the stomach for years if ingested

Whilst gum won’t be properly digested by our body, it doesn’t mean that it’s going to sit in our stomach for 7 years! Whilst our stomach can’t break gum down in the same way that it breaks down other food, our digestive system can move it along through normal intestinal activity and it can still be excreted when you have a bowel movement.

 

5. Beans are the most gas inducing food

Beans are rich in fibre and starches called oligosaccharides which are poorly digested and therefore fermented by gut bacteria. A side effect of this fermentation is the production of intestinal gas. However beans aren’t the only food groups rich in these carbohydrate molecules.

Other foods including raw garlic and onion can be particularly bothersome to some, lentils and wheat based products such as bread can be an issue for others. Many find that sweeteners such as sorbitol found in chewing gum and xylitol found in protein bars can be triggering.

 

By leading London Nutritionist, Lily Soutter BSc (Hons) Food & Human Nutrition

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