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Food myths sussed

HealthBy Sunday World
Food myths sussed

We grow up following certain rules in life, such as waiting for the green man to cross the road and queuing up to pay for something in a shop. There are also guidelines we follow when it comes to our bodies, but are all of them true? Here we take you through a few of the common food myths and whether or not you need to continue believing them.

Swimming after eating

How many of us used to sit patiently by the pool on holiday after our parents told us to let our food go down before taking a dip? Yes, the rule of not swimming too soon after eating is one that sticks for a long time.

And for good reason, as it does in fact have negative effects. Kathryn Brown, a senior performance nutritionist for British swimming at the English Institute of Sport, explains that a dip after consuming food could lead to acid reflux and nausea in some. A horizontal position results in acid escaping from the stomach and seeping into the oesophagus, triggering heartburn.

"It's down to individual tolerance, but sports nutritionists generally advise waiting two to four hours after a large meal, or up to one hour after a light snack before swimming," Kathryn tells Mail Online.

If you really have to eat something before swimming, she recommends a light meal avoiding high levels of protein, fat and fibre, as they take longer to digest.

Is fizzy water OK to drink?

It's not packed full of sugar or calories, but the carbon dioxide which has dissolved in the water creates carbonic acid. This can erode our teeth, hitting the enamel and causing damage.

"Even one glass can cause microscopic levels of the outer surface of the enamel to dissolve, and when we consume something acidic, the mouth stays acidic for 45 minutes before returning to a normal pH level," Professor Andrew Eder, of University College London's Eastman Dental Institute, explained.

As for the flavoured options, these are often packed full of sugar, which is known for causing tooth decay. If you don't want to give up on your favourite beverage, Andrew suggests sipping through a straw to minimise the negative effects.

Sweet cravings after a meal

You're feeling stuffed after a huge meal but somehow you still manage to eat a few squares of chocolate - how? You'll be pleased to know that it's not greed kicking in, but simply your biology. Too much of one food pushes us towards something different, so naturally salty will make you want sweet.

"Continued consumption of a food results in a reduced liking for that and eventually you stop eating it," Dr Denise Robertson, senior lecturer in nutritional physiology at the University of Surrey, notes. "At the same time you experience an increased desire to eat a food that is completely different."

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