Professors of pediatrics and authors of Don’t Swallow Your Gum, Aaron Carroll and Rachel Vreeman have been featured on The Dr. Oz Show, CNN, in the New York Times and many other media outlets. Now, they follow the success of that myth-busting book with Don’t Cross Your Eyes…They’ll Get Stuck That Way!: And 75 Other Health Myths Debunked.
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Here, Carroll and Vreeman use various studies to uncover a variety of health-related myths. I found myself reading aloud to my husband almost every one, amazed to learn what I thought was true really wasn’t, or in some cases that I was justified in beliefs that were correct.
A good portion of the myths are related to the common cold. The authors discuss what won’t give you a cold—airplane travel, cold weather, wet hair—and reiterate that the best way to prevent a cold is hand-washing with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer. They review studies of cold remedies that don’t work. Echinacea, vitamin C, zinc and other herbal remedies will not prevent you from getting sick and will not help you recover any faster. Honey, on the other hand, can help coughing, and garlic may be the one thing that can prevent a cold. I was gratified to read that while kids in day care do catch more colds, they catch fewer colds when they enter school because their immune systems are built up.
Other topics include causes of cancer—the authors contend that artificial sweeteners don’t cause cancer; cell phones don’t cause brain tumors; and deodorants and antiperspirants do not cause breast cancer. Food-related myths are also busted: Cheese doesn’t make you constipated; chocolate and fried foods don’t cause acne, and dairy products don’t make you phlegmy. Eggs may cause salmonella, but they don’t raise cholesterol.
If food myths are more your thing, then Lobsters Scream When You Boil Them and 100 Other Myths About Food and Cooking… Plus 25 Recipes to Get It Right Every Time by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough will fit the bill. As the bestselling authors of more than 15 cookbooks, they use science and common sense to debunk legends and falsehoods handed down through generations on food.
Lobsters Scream When You Boil Them is broken into 10 chapters, including those about alcohol, fruit and vegetable-related myths, and historical and kitchen-gadget myths. Many myths relate to nutrients in food. Peeling a potato doesn’t compromise the vitamins, but it does compromise the fiber content. Spinach has no more iron than any other leafy green. And not all vegetables lose nutrients when cooked, though most do.
In addition to the myth-busting, Lobsters Scream When You Boil Them has recipes that demonstrate the reasoning behind the falseness of the myth. The recipes are easy to follow, and include handy tips and tricks that even an inexperienced cook can handle.
If you consider yourself a foodie, love to eat, or are a fan of Alton Brown’s food-meets-science approach, you’ll enjoy Lobsters Scream When You Boil Them.Nancy Talan is a software tester and book reviewer at 5 Minutes for Books, two careers that couldn't be more different but are both rewarding. She enjoys popular fiction and picture books. She moved her family to northern Colorado in 2009 where she enjoys great skiing and great beer.