Myth busting nutrition

Know your food facts? We debunk some of the popular myths and misconceptions around nutrition.

Food and nutrition is an area rich in half-baked theories. While digging out the kernels of truth may seem tricky, here are some of the more popular food myths and the science behind them explained.

Myth: Sugar makes kids hyperactive

Fact: The link between sugar and hyperactivity is one of the most common food-behaviour myths, yet is one that has been well and truly busted by science. A wealth of controlled clinical trials has failed to find any difference in behaviour between children who eat sugar and those who don’t. Even studies that included children with ADHD could not find any meaningful differences.

It is only when you introduce intentional bias into the experiments – and allow parents to know what food their child was given – that the real culprit behind the myth emerges. When parents believe their child has been given a drink containing sugar, they consistently rate their child’s behaviour as more hyperactive, even if the drink did not contain any sugar.

So why do kids seem so hyperactive when they consume an abundance of sugar? It comes down to context. When kids are having fun at birthday parties and at family celebrations, sugar-laden food is frequently served. It’s the fun, freedom and contact with other kids that makes them hyperactive, not the food they consume.

Myth: You need to drink eight glasses of water a day

Fact: We have all heard the popular advice that we should drink at least eight glasses of water a day. Of course our bodies need water, or else we would die from dehydration. The amount of water we need though is extremely variable and depends on a person’s body size, physical activity levels, climate and what types of food they are eating.

It is believed that the ‘eight glasses’ myth arose from a United States Recommended Dietary Allowance dating back to 1945. The guide stated that a suitable allowance of water for adults is 2.5 litres a day, but with the disclaimer that most of this water could be found in prepared foods. Drinks such as milk, fruit juice, tea and coffee and foods like fruit, yoghurt, soups, and stews all have appreciable amounts of water that contribute to fluid intake.

Coffee, tea and cola do have a mild diuretic effect from the caffeine, but the water loss is far less than the amount of fluid consumed from the drink in the first place. People also adapt to diuretic effect of caffeine over time as well.

So how do you know if you are drinking enough water? Well, you can check this for yourself every few hours. If your urine is lightly coloured or clear, you’re drinking enough. If it’s dark, then you should drink more. How simple is that?

Myth: You need to ‘eat for two’ when you’re pregnant

Fact: Pregnant women are commonly told they are ‘eating for two’ and need to up their eating. In reality, it is only during the third trimester that extra kilojoules are needed to support a growing baby. Even in the last trimester, the amount of extra energy needed per day is equivalent to an extra sandwich.

Rather than think of ‘eating for two’, it is better to think of eating twice as healthy to give the growing baby all the important nutrients it needs.

 

Recommended reading - Training for all fitness levels

Advice

10 km beginner running guide

This training guide will get you running 10 km in 8 weeks, one step at a time.

Read more
Advice

12 km beginner running guide

This training guide will get you running 12km in 8 weeks, one step at a time.

Read more
Advice

4 km beginner running guide

This training guide will get you running 4km in 8 weeks, one step at a time.

Read more
Community

5 beginner growing tips

We asked CERES nursery manager Laurel Coad how to get started in the garden.

Read more
Advice

5 km beginner running guide

Calling all triathlon junkies! The ultimate multi-sports expo is coming to Sydney in September 2017.

Read more
Advice

Beginner running guides

Beginner training guides for 4km, 5km, 10km, 12km, half marathon and marathon events.

Read more
Community

Ballet for beginners

Medibank member Maggie goes back to the barre at a beginner’s ballet class.

Read more
Advice

Half marathon beginner running guide

This training guide will get you running a half marathon in 12 weeks, one step at a time.

Read more
Advice

Marathon 12-week beginner running guide

This training guide will get you running a marathon in 12 weeks, one step at a time.

Read more
Advice

Marathon beginner running guide

This training guide will get you running a marathon in 18 weeks, one step at a time.

Read more
Advice

10km intermediate running guide

An 8-week training guide for people looking to improve their 10km time.

Read more
Advice

4 km intermediate running guide

This training guide will get you improving your 4km time in 8 weeks.

Read more
Advice

5 km intermediate running guide

This training guide will get you improving your 5 km time, in 8 weeks.

Read more
Advice

Half marathon intermediate running guide

This training guide will get you running a half marathon in 12 weeks, one step at a time.

Read more
Advice

Intermediate running guides

Intermediate training guides for 4km, 5km, 10km, 12km, half marathon and marathon events.

Read more
Advice

Marathon 12-week intermediate running guide

This training guide will get you running a marathon in 12 weeks, one step at a time.

Read more
Advice

Marathon intermediate running guide

This training guide will get you running a marathon in 18 weeks, one step at a time.

Read more
Advice

12 km intermediate running guide

This training guide will get you improving your 12 km time in 8 weeks.

Read more
Advice

10 km advanced running guide

This training guide will get you improving your 10 km time in 8 weeks.

Read more
Advice

12 km advanced running guide

This training guide will get you improving your 12km time in 8 weeks.

Read more
Advice

4 km advanced running guide

This training guide will get you improving your 4km time in 8 weeks.

Read more
Advice

5 km advanced running guide

This training guide will get you improving your 5 km time in 8 weeks.

Read more
Advice

Advanced running guides

Advanced training guides for 4km, 5km, 10km, 12km, half marathon and marathon events.

Read more
Advice

Half marathon advanced running guide

This training guide will get you improving your half marathon time in 12 weeks.

Read more
Lifestyle

How to play better basketball: Advanced tips

Want to improve your technique when going for that three-pointer? Aimie Clydesdale shows you how.

Read more
Advice

Marathon 12-week advanced running guide

This training guide will get you improving your marathon time in 12 weeks.

Read more
Advice

Marathon advanced running guide

This training guide will get you improving your marathon time in 18 weeks.

Read more

For full functionality of this site it is necessary to enable JavaScript. Here are instructions on how to enable JavaScript in your web browser.