Hoaxes and Myths

Many myths and hoaxes revolve around food. Here are a few:

1. Sugar is poison and we shouldn't eat it. It causes hyperactivity and rots your teeth. Nothing could be further from the truth. Sugar comes from a plant, and is one of the most natural substances you can eat. people say "sugar contains empty calories". I don't know what that means. Sugar contains about 4 calories per gram. Fats contain about 9 calories per gram. Are calories from fat fuller than the calories of sugar? Some people also say that if you eat sugar, you will get a "sugar high". This is totally ridiculous. There is no evidence to support the idea that sugar causes any such reaction, or contributes in any way to behavior problems. In addition, tooth decay is most likely caused by bacteria and/or viruses and has a largely hereditary component. Carbohydrates, such as sugars and starches should make up about 50% of your daily diet. Some people still think that eating a lot of sugar will give you diabetes. Again, this is ridiculous. Excess sugar in the blood is a symptom of one kind of diabetes, and may have to be restricted in diabetics, but it certainly doesn't cause this disease.

2. Eating a lot of salt causes high blood pressure. We should restrict our salt intake to less than 2 grams per day. Another nonsensical myth that is not supported by medical evidence. Only about 40% of persons with hypertension are salt sensitive. The rest can eat as much salt as they like and not suffer any consequences. It is totally false that eating too much salt causes high blood pressure. As for the 2000 mg. daily limit, this is a completely arbitrary guideline and there is no research that tells us that this amount is correct. Also, sodium ions, those found in salt, are essential to may bodily functions, including heart rhythm, To restrict the amount of salt may not only be unnecessary, it could be dangerous.

3. People are avoiding fats nowadays like they were poison also. Everything is "low fat", "no fat" or "reduced fat"Can someone please tell me what is so bad about fat? We should have about 30% of our daily diet in the form of fat. It is an essential nutrient and when eaten in moderation, causes no adverse effects on the body. Your body weight and shape is controlled largely by your heredity and not by the amount of food that you eat. Obviously, you can stuff yourself and put on a few pounds, or starve yourself and loose a few pounds, but by and large, your weight is an intractable part of your existence. The fact is, most diets fail because hereditary factors that are not within your power to change, are mostly in control.

4. Cholesterol. A diet high in animal fat and cholesterol is dangerous to your heart. The idea that too much animal fat and a high cholesterol diet is dangerous to your heart and vessels is nothing but a myth. Cholesterol is not a deadly poison, but a substance vital to the cells of all mammals. There are no such things as good or bad cholesterol, but mental stress, physical activity and change of body weight may influence the level of blood cholesterol. A high cholesterol is not dangerous by itself, but may reflect an unhealthy condition, or it may be totally innocent. A high blood cholesterol is said to promote atherosclerosis (the scientific name for arteriosclerosis) and thus also coronary heart disease. But many studies have shown that people whose blood cholesterol is low become just as arteriosclerotic as people whose cholesterol is high. Your body produces three to four times more cholesterol than you eat. The production of cholesterol increases when you eat little cholesterol and decreases when you eat much. This explains why the ”prudent” diet cannot lower cholesterol more than on average a few per cent. There is no evidence that too much animal fat and cholesterol in the diet promotes atherosclerosis or heart attacks. For instance, more than a dozen studies have shown that people who have had a heart attack haven't eaten more fat than other people, and degree of atherosclerosis at autopsy is unrelated with the diet. The only effective way to lower cholesterol is with drugs, but neither heart mortality or total mortality have been improved with drugs the effect of which is cholesterol-lowering only. On the contrary, these drugs are dangerous to your health and may shorten your life. The new cholesterol-lowering drugs, the statins, do prevent cardio-vascular disease, but this is due to other mechanisms than cholesterol-lowering. Unfortunately, they also stimulate cancer in rodents. Many of these facts have been presented in scientific journals and books for decades but are rarely told to the public by the proponents of the diet-heart idea. The reason why laymen, doctors and even scientists have been misled is because opposing and disagreeing results are systematically ignored or misquoted in the scientific press.

Here are a few other items that come to mind:

5. Asbestos is a serious health threat that must be removed from where it is found and disposed of properly. First of all, asbestos is not a toxic substance, it is a mineral. While it is true that in some cases it is a carcinogen, the type of lung cancer that is said to be caused by asbestos is extremely rare and there are only a few thousand cases each year in the U.S. Asbestosis, a condition of the lung, is a consequence of the long-term inhalation of asbestos fibers, such as would occur in mining, milling, manufacturing or application of asbestos products. Workers who are susceptible are brake-lining, insulation, shipyard and demolition workers. In many cases it is difficult, if not impossible to prove a cause and effect relationship with asbestos inhalation. By the way, that's the ONLY way to be affected by asbestos, by inhaling the fibers into your lungs. Handling pieces of asbestos present no danger. In addition, the only time that asbestos is harmful in any way is when it is in the form of fine particles or dust. In most cases, asbestos in a building is intact and can be made safe just by painting over it or covering it. In fact, trying to remove it might present a much greater risk because the removal process releases asbestos dust, which can escape into the air and be inhaled. Asbestos removal workers are at greatest risk if they do not take precautions against inhaling the dust. It is also true that there are many additional pollutants in the working environment that are at least as harmful as asbestos, but they are not regulated. Soot from chimneys can cause skin cancer in exposed workers, miners and those who work underground are subject to exposure to radon, which also causes lung cancer. PCB's in hydraulic fluids and insecticides can cause liver and skin cancer. Painters are exposed daily to carcinogenic solvents. Nuclear and medical workers are often exposed to ionizing radiation, that can cause bone cancer and leukemia. Hairdressers and barbers, and their customers are exposed to hair dyes, insulation workers are exposed to fiberglass fibers and other silicate fibers, railroad and bus workers, as well as pedestrians are exposed to diesel and gasoline fumes and exhaust and exterminators are exposed to arsenic compounds. In all these cases, the threat is small compared to the cost and difficulty of protecting people from it. Why is asbestos different? With such a microscopic risk, why does everyone get so nuts about it? It is not lost on us that lawyers and asbestos removal companies are making millions of dollars off of the fear of asbestos.

6. Exercise is good for you and will help you to live longer. Not necessarily. In fact, exercise could very well kill you. There is no evidence that exercise of any kind can decrease mortality and allow you to live longer. In fact, if you suffer from arteriosclerosis, cardio- vascular disease or hypertension, strenuous exercise could well prove fatal. Most people get all of the exercise they need just going about their daily lives. And if you think that exercise can help you lose weight, think again. In most cases, your body weight and shape are determined by your hereditary components and are by and large intractable. In addition to the risks to your health, it is also clear that you could be hit by a car jogging, you could be mugged in the park at night or you could trip and fall and break an arm or a leg. Not to mention the fact that most exercise is just plain hard, boring work!

7. Recycling is a worthwhile practice that can help to save the planet. Well, this old planet has been around for 4.5 billion years and I really don't think that anything we mere mortals can do will harm it. Certainly not with a few plastic bags and styrofoam cups! I think that by and large we are wasting our time and energy with attempts at recycling. It might make us feel better about ourselves, like we're doing something worthwhile, but in reality, it's a total waste of time. Just look at what we recycle. Newspaper. Nobody wants it. There's no market for recycled newsprint. We have the technology to build very clean and efficient incinerators that will burn this stuff up. Or we can just take the cheap way out and bury it in landfills. What's the problem? What about aluminum cans and glass? We have enough of this stuff to last for centuries. Just bury it and forget it. You say it doesn't decompose or degrade? So what? Neither does rock! The earth is covered with a quadrazillion tons of broken rock just lying around forever. Not hurting anyone. So what if a few glass bottles and cans are added to the pile. Recycling is a total hoax that lure people into thinking that thay are accomplishing something worthwhile. How about directing some of this energy towards solving real human problems like hunger, disease and war?

8. Life arose on the earth from chemicals found on the primitive earth and evolved into the life forms that we have today by the process of mutation and natural selection as proposed by Charles Darwin. This is one of the biggest hoaxes of the last century. There is not one single, solitary shred of scientific evidence to support this ridiculous idea. There is no observational evidence or experimental evidence of any kind, which is the cornerstone of scientific thinking, to support this theory. In fact, what evidence there is falsifies the theory. It is just as likely that life came to earth from elsewhere in the universe, or was created by god, as there is that it evolved by natural selection. We are still totally in the dark about this matter. Anyone who claims that he or she knows how life on earth began and evolved into all of the life forms of today is simply misguided.

9. More time spent in class will mean that students will learn more Anyone who is a teacher will tell you that this idea is false. Ever hear of the Law of Diminishing Returns? There is a point beyond which you get less and less learning. Most students, especially in the lower grades, simply do not have the attention spans to deal with long classes, 6 day weeks, or year-round school. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. The amount of knowledge a person acquires is related more to the need and desire to obtain that knowledge than it is to "time on task".

10. It is important to pass laws that protect endangered species even if it means stopping public works projects. This one is a real laugher. First of all, if you believe in evolution, (which I don't) then you accept the idea that life evolves and that old species die out and are replaced by new species that are better adapted to the environment. Protecting "endangered" species in this case, would thwart the very essence of the natural order of things. Humans are just another species on this earth, and if they build parking lots where the rainforest once was, and billions of species of plants or animals are destroyed then so what? Man is just acting according to his nature as a species on this earth. Is it immoral to act according to your nature? And besides, why do we *need* 4 million species of beetles? What for? And if there's one less species of butterfly, why do we worry? It has zero effect on us.

11. It is a good thing to find cures for cancer, heart disease and old age. Wrong again. It would probably be a very bad thing indeed. People have to die. That's all there is to it. You're going to have to step aside to make room for the next wave of humanity. If we eliminated these diseases, can you imagine what the earth would be like? Overpopulation, not enough resources, famine, stagnation. Look at the populous countries, such as India. Filled with poverty, disease, famine and suffering. Why? too many people! Death is nature's way of keeping a balance in the world. Disease is the tool that accomplishes this, along with war and a few other things!

12.Reading books is better than watching television. Phooey! It all depends on what you're reading and what you're watching. How many parents and teachers have admonished youngsters to "turn off that TV set and read a book". There are plently of good and wonderful things on television. And there are plenty of really bad books. Truthfully, I'd rather my kids were watching "Little House on the Prarie" than reading some trashy romance novel.

If you disagree with these ideas,


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