29 common claims and bogus ‘facts’ about food that are false or very misleading

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Food is wonderful. It tastes good, fuels our bodies, and gives us a great excuse to bond with friends and family.

But because of food’s importance in all cultures, and our health — you are what you eat, the old adage goes — it’s a minefield for misleading and sometimes hysterical claims.

Some eating-related myths, misconceptions, and inaccuracies have been passed down through the ages, though the internet age has given rise to puzzling new falsehoods and diversions.

To help combat food fictions, we’ve rounded up and corrected dozens of the most shocking food "facts" in this list. (If you’re hungry for more myth-busting, peruse our list of 101 science myths.)

SEE ALSO: 17 ‘facts’ about space and Earth that you thought were true — but have been debunked by science

DON’T MISS: It’s time to stop spreading these popular myths about animals

MYTH: There are bugs in your strawberry Frappuccino.

This one is no longer true.

Before April 2012, Starbucks’ strawberry Frappucino contained a dye made from the ground-up bodies of thousands of tiny insects, called cochineal bugs (or Dactylopius coccus).

Farmers in South and Central America make a living harvesting — and smashing — the bugs that go into the dye. Their crushed bodies produce a deep red ink that is used as a natural food coloring, which was "called cochineal" red but is now called "carmine color."

Starbucks stopped using carmine color in their strawberry Frappucinos in 2012, and alternatives exist that are made in part from sweet potatoes. But the dye is still used in thousands of other food products — from Nerds candies to grapefruit juice. Not to mention cosmetics, like lovely shades of red lipstick.

MYTH: There’s beaver butt secretions in your vanilla ice cream.

You’ve probably heard that a secretion called castoreum, isolated from the anal gland of a beaver, is used in flavorings and perfumes.

But castoreum is so expensive, at up to $70 per pound of anal gland (the cost to humanely milk castoreum from a beaver is likely even higher), that it’s unlikely to show up in anything you eat.

In 2011, the Vegetarian Resource Group wrote to five major companies that produce vanilla flavoring and asked if they use castoreum. The answer: According to the Federal Code of Regulations, they can’t. (The FDA highly regulates what goes into vanilla flavoring and extracts.)

It’s equally unlikely you’ll find castoreum in mass-marketed goods, either.

MYTH: Coffee stunts your growth.

Most research finds no correlation between caffeine consumption and bone growth in kids.

In adults, researchers have seen that increased caffeine consumption can very slightly limit calcium absorption, but the impact is so small that a tablespoon of milk will more than adequately offset the effects of a cup of coffee.

Advertising seems to be largely responsible for this myth: Cereal manufacturer named C.W. Post was trying to market a morning beverage called "Postum" as an alternative to coffee, so he ran ads on the "evils" of Americans’ favorite hot beverage, calling it a "nerve poison" that should never be served to children.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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