Nutrition and Old Wive’s Tales

Old Wive’s Nutrition

You have heard the expression, “old wives tales”, right? It is a term that often means a truism that gets passed on orally as conventional wisdom from one generation to another. However, that truism is usually not so true. This is a social phenomenon when a deeply held belief of one generation transforms into superstitious nonsense of by another. Many myths and old wives tales start out as a form of caution when a way of life is presented with something new. If there is a chance this new thing could be a threat to health and safety,  whether it is grooming, behavior or nutrition, then older generations will react to make sure their young stay away from the potential threat.

Usually, the phenomenon occurs when the latter generation gets bold enough to put those truisms to the test. When there is no discernable evidence to prove it, we write it off in favor of more accurate information. This helps later generations adapt and survive in a changing environment. In the end, older generations are unhappy with younger generations changing their traditional way of life.  Younger generations are more dismissive towards the older generation attitudes towards change as part of a coming of age process.  One of the biggest examples of this sociological phenomenon is our knowledge of nutrition. Even in a time gap as small as 10 years, what constitutes as healthy and nutritional changes.  How does this shape our present, and what do we have to unlearn to move forward? Let’s talk about it.

Hydration – Always Drink 8 Glasses of Water a Day


This one is a particularly old truism that runs rampant in today’s athletic circles, as well as parenting groups.  The gist of it is that people need water. At the very least, 8 glasses of day. Or, at least enough to where your urine should come out clear. It is a popular one, but the truism here is exaggerated.  Don’t get it wrong, hydration is indeed important. It makes up at least 60% of your body weight and you need it to survive.  However, if you are peeing clear, it is less about proper hydration and more about overhydration.

This phenomenon is more common among athletes, mainly because sports drink companies tend to push their product for hydration reasons. It is called hyponatremia and even “…some of the healthiest people, such as marathon runners and other extreme athletes—are the ones at risk for water intoxication. Drinking large quantities of water, combined with depleted sodium reserves due to physical activity, have led to fatal consequences in extreme athletes.”

What’s more, we don’t have to worry so much about hydration because we already have a system in our brain for detecting what we need. It tells us we are thirsty, and we drink to satisfy it.  Ultimately, “Don’t ignore itchings for water or confuse them with hunger, and you’ll generally be fine. And don’t worry too much about the color of your urine, either. A light yellow or straw-like color can indicate you’re well hydrated, but darker urine isn’t necessarily a reason to panic.”

100% Fruit Juice is Healthy!

This one was a popular slogan during the height of the Juicy Juice era of the 1980s and 90s. This was a favorite go-to for marketing campaigns and commercial for various commercial beverages. However, the juice alone isn’t exactly all that healthy for anyone.  While it is arguable that it would be useful in times of a sugar crash, or have a boost of vitamins, the truth is that it doesn’t do nutrition, juicemuch else.

In theory, it is something that sounds plausible. As I mentioned before, there is a stress on the vitamins that fruits and vegetables provide, all of which are more preferable than if you were to take a supplement. This stems in the logical fallacy that if something is natural, then it is good.  But it all falls apart when the juice is extracted from the pulp.

The nutrition factor is not in the juice. It is in the fiber of the fruit and vegetables that make up most of the nutrition. Without it to counteract the sugars, it is really no different than drinking a can of soda. Sometimes it is even a little worse.

Granted, if you can preserve most of the pulp or fiber in the smoothies that you drink, and avoid adding extra sugars, then you might be onto something. Even a little bit of dilution with water and ice is a good idea if you still want to drink something sweet. But juice alone is not able to satiate hunger.