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Debunking Asian food myths

Turns out adding soya sauce to your food will not cause scarring

Asian food myths have plagued us since we were children, but is there even an ounce of truth to any of them? We set the record straight.

The myth: Avoid chicken and seafood after surgery

Some people avoid chicken and seafood after surgery because they are said to affect wound healing. However, according to a post on SingHealth's HealthXchange, there is little evidence to support this claim. As chicken and seafood are high in protein, consuming them after surgery could help strengthen the immune system.

The myth: Chocolate causes acne

For decades, chocolate has been blamed for the breakouts on the faces of teenagers. Despite this, chocolate has received a clean bill of health according to Verywell Health and is perfectly fine to be consumed in moderation - even when you have acne.

The myth: Swallowed chewing gum stays in your stomach for seven years

While it is true that your stomach cannot break down chewing gum the way it does regular food, your intestines are actually able to move gum along so it will come out through regular bowel movement.

The myth: Consuming soya sauce will cause scarring

People are generally told to avoid soya sauce because it might darken scabs and in turn, leave a scar. This myth is unfounded and has been debunked by both traditional Chinese medicine and Western medicine practitioners.

The myth: Eating butter before drinking can reduce effects of a hangover

There is some truth to this myth. While eating butter itself before drinking might just make you sick, eating greasy foods with cheese and butter could help absorb the alcohol. These greasy foods provide a sort of inner lining to prevent the effects of a hangover the next day.

The myth: Expectant women should avoid spicy food

Spicy food is said to trigger labour in heavily pregnant women, but there is no such evidence. However, it might make them feel uncomfortable, especially if they suffer from heartburn as spicy food can aggravate the condition.

The myth: Caffeine lowers the chance of pregnancy

There is a mixed bag of responses for this one. According to a 1988 study, women who drank about a cup of coffee a day were half as likely to conceive. However, no studies were able to replicate that finding. A safe bet is to consume about one to two cups of coffee a day, according to Dr Loh Seong Feei, medical director of Thomson Fertility Centre.

The myth: Microwaving food reduces its nutritional content

Some nutrients, such as vitamin C, do in fact break down when they are exposed to heat. However, because a microwave exposes food to a high amount of heat over a short period of time, cooking with a microwave does not affect the food's nutrient levels all that much, based on Harvard Health Publishing's findings.

The myth: Eating and drinking before exercising gives you stitches

Truth be told, researchers are still puzzled as to what causes stitches.The Sports Dietitians Australia advises that we eat and drink at least two hours before working out to optimise energy levels and get the most out of our workouts.

The Myth: Vitamin C prevents colds

We are often told to consume vitamin C effervescent tablets whenever we feel a cold coming, but little evidence shows that doing so will thwart it.To fully benefit from vitamin C, you ought to take 100mg every day instead of when you start to feel the symptoms of a cold.

This article was first published in Shape (

Food & Drink