Five food myths busted

You can’t eat food after the “Best before” date. 

This is not true! The best before date is a confusing little date, that tells you when you a recommended date that the food you have will be at its absolute best. After this, it is considered as less desirable to eat, but may still be perfectly safe. 

Do not confuse this with a “Use By date”. It may be unsafe to consume food after its this date. 

Chocolate causes acne

This is not true! Whilst some foods are good for your skin such as antioxidant containing fruits and a diet solely made of fatty foods such as chocolate would eventually take its toll on your skin, to say chocolate causes acne is up for scientific debate. Acne is caused by bacterial overgrowth in pores clogged by sebum, or skin oils. If you notice chocolate or indeed other foods triggering this avoid them, but acne has multifactorial causes. 

You have to wait an hour after eating before you can swim

Again, this is something up for debate. There is actually no evidence of drowning when swimming after a heavy meal. The oft mentioned reasons of cramping or stitch are also unproven. Whilst it is true to some degree that there is increased blood flow to the stomach and bowels after a meal to aid digestion, this does not mean there is less blood flow to the arms and legs. We have enough blood to keep all systems functioning at all times. 

Chewing gum will help keep your mind off food

This is true. There are studies that show orosensory stimulation (such as chewing gum) causes you to feel full and reduce cravings, particularly for sugary/high calorie snacks. This can be used as an appetite suppressor to promote weight loss but probably will not work on its own. 

Cutting out carbs is the best way to lose weight

Hot topic in the field of weight loss. This one is up for debate. The fact is not all carbs are bad for you. The focus should be on the amount and type of carbs. Fibre rich, less processed wholegrain carbs are very good for you. Carbs are our main source of energy and cutting them out completely will in theory make you use protein and fat for energy source. However, it also puts you at higher risk of certain conditions such as ketosis. 

Dr Preethi Daniel is Clinical Director at the Private walk-in GP, London Doctors Clinic

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