White Evils Or White Lies? Busting Myths About Sugar, Salt, Milk, Flour & Rice

01 Aug 2020

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All our life we’ve been told what to eat and what not to eat – and we’ve followed these preset rules about food and diet without even questioning or knowing the facts. Almost all kinds of foods found in nature are essential for your body. But there are a few foods that we are told can harm us, they call them ‘the white evils’, these include sugar, salt, milk, white flour and rice. White evils, is it a stereotype or is there any truth? Let’s dive in to separate facts from fiction.

Busting Myths Around Sugar, Salt, Milk, White Flour & Rice

Sugar Myths

Sugar Causes Hyperactivity

Several studies have proven that this is just a myth. In a study by Stanford Medicine, parents were asked to record their children’s behavior after they were given sugar. They described them as either problematic or hyperactive. But in reality, the children were not given sugar at all. This shows that hyperactivity is not related to or dependent on the consumption of sugar [1].  

Sugar Is The Main Cause Of Diabetes

Diabetes is a chronic lifestyle disease, for which there are multiple factors to be blamed. The body’s inability to produce and use insulin, inactive lifestyle, poor eating habits and genetics, all these factors equally contribute to the development of the disease. Eating sugar alone will not lead to diabetes [2]. 

Sugar Is Addictive

There is no scientific evidence that supports that sugar can be addictive. Eating sugar increases the levels of dopamine, making the experience of eating sugar pleasurable. It’s the same kind of chemical reaction in the brain that happens when you do something you enjoy. This pleasure is far from addiction that people often talk about [3].      

Salt Myths

Salt Is Extremely Bad For Health, You Shouldn’t Eat It At All

Excessive salt consumption is associated with high blood pressure, heart diseases, kidney problems, etc. However, it is important to note that the keyword is “excessive”. The human body uses salt to maintain healthy blood pressure and balance fluids in the blood. It is equally essential for muscle and nerve function too. Seek help from your healthcare professional to learn about ideal salt consumption as per your body [4]. 

If I Cut Table Salt, I Won’t Have High Sodium Levels

That’s not entirely true. Sodium is present in a lot of other things that you consume such as certain medicines. The maximum amount of sodium comes from packaged, processed and restaurant foods. Therefore, just eliminating salt from your diet is not enough. You need to keep a check on everything you eat [5]. 

Milk Myths

Drinking Milk Increases The Risk Of Kidney Stones 

The most common type of kidney stone is calcium oxalate. Therefore, the misconception that a high intake of calcium will increase the risk of stones is common. However, milk is rich in dietary calcium and helps decrease the risk of developing kidney stones, as it binds to oxalate before reaching the kidneys [6]. 

Milk Causes Bloating 

Milk may cause bloating and other minor dietary problems only if you’re lactose intolerant, or if it’s not boiled well. If you have problems digesting dairy, there are several responsible factors like genetics, hormones, age and lifestyle habits [7]. 

Drinking Milk May Lead To Weight Gain

Blaming one individual food item for weight gain is bizarre. Milk alone cannot increase your kilos. Obesity or being overweight is more of a lifestyle issue, for which several factors are responsible [7]. 

White Rice Myths

Rice Is Fattening

It’s not true; it may be a great addition to almost all types of diets, including low carb ones. When consumed in moderate quantities, rice gets digested easily – it is also low fat and cholesterol-free [8]. 

Rice Contains Gluten

Rice is a carbohydrate, and most people associate carbs with gluten, but it is gluten-free. If you are someone who suffers from gluten intolerance like celiac disease, you can eat rice without any fear. [9].

Rice Has No Protein

Another common misconception associated with rice is that it’s all carbs with no other nutrients.  Protein is the second-highest nutrient found in rice after carbs. One small cup of rice contains nearly 3 to 4 grams of protein [10]. 

White Flour (Wheat Flour) Myths

Wheat Flour Makes You Gain Weight

While eating anything in excess can make you fat, flour plays no special role in putting on the extra kilos. You can enjoy eating everything you love if you have in moderation and under expert guidance [11].

Wheat Flour Is Not Healthy 

Wheat flour is enriched with vitamins and minerals like selenium, manganese, phosphorus, copper, and the B-vitamin, folate. It also contains a significant amount of other nutrients like fiber and folic acid [12].

Wheat Flour Causes Inflammation And Digestive Issues

This is untrue. It contains fiber which, in fact, supports digestive health and reduces inflammation [12].   

References: 

  1. https://scopeblog.stanford.edu/2012/10/31/debunking-a-halloween-myth-sugar-and-hyperactivity/
  2. https://www.lifehack.org/293681/7-myths-about-sugar-that-should-stop-believing-now
  3. https://www.sugar.org/blog/sugar-myths/
  4. https://www.health.qld.gov.au/news-events/news/6-things-about-salt-that-arent-true
  5. https://www.ama-assn.org/delivering-care/hypertension/do-your-patients-believe-these-7-myths-about-salt
  6. https://wellness.uoguelph.ca/services/health-services/services/dietician-services/does-drinking-milk-increase-my-risk-kidney
  7. https://www.milk.co.uk/is-milk-bad-for-you/#dairy-is-fattening
  8. https://www.caloriesecrets.net/does-eating-rice-increase-belly-fat-or-is-it-a-myth/
  9. https://www.beyondceliac.org/gluten-free-diet/is-it-gluten-free/rice/
  10. https://vaya.in/news/eating-rice-the-myths-and-facts/
  11. https://wholegrainscouncil.org/newsroom/myths-busted
  12. https://eatwheat.org/learn/wheat-nutrition/

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