Illustration: Sarah Wilkins

We answered some of the Internet’s most burning nutrition questions to set the record straight.

Arielle Weg
October 17, 2017

We know that nutrition can be really confusing. So, we searched Reddit (the internet's deepest, darkest hole for questions) for some burning curiosities and floating myths around some of the most popular nutrition ideas. You may have thought of these yourself, or they may have never crossed your mind, but here is the truth behind Reddit's greatest nutrition questions. 

Myth: Vegetable Powder Is Just Like Eating Fresh Vegetables

There aren’t any significant studies that say powdered veggies are just as healthy as fresh. Powdered versions cut down on the natural water and fiber you would get from eating the real deal and as a result they won’t keep you full nearly as long. In fact, the USDA says one teaspoon of carrot juice powder cuts out natural nutrients you would find in a fresh carrot such as magnesium, potassium, and Vitamin K.

Fact: A Food’s Nutrition Changes After Cooking

Cooking food will definitely change the nutritional value, but that’s not always a bad thing. Research shows cooking food changes the nutrient availability and our body’s ability to digest the food both positively and negatively. For example, water -soluble vitamins such as vitamin C and folate, are sensitive to heat, so cooking, especially methods that include water, can remove some of the nutrients. On the contrary, many studies have found that cooking tomatoes increases your body’s absorption of lycopene, a carotenoid linked to lower risk for cancer and heart disease.

Fact: When a Fruit Ripens, The Nutrition Changes

Scientifically speaking, a fruit ripens when starch is turned into sugar and makes the area extra sweet and soft. It really depends on the fruit itself, but generally antioxidant, vitamin, and mineral levels may fluctuate as fruits ripen. Foods harvested at peak ripeness will have the highest level of nutrients, according to a study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry. This study found the antioxidants increased in tomatoes as they ripened, but decreased at later stages of ripeness.

Fact and Myth: If You’re Hungry After A Meal, You’re Dehydrated

A lot depends on what you ate that day, so this isn’t really a fact or myth. A great place to start if you’re still feeling hungry after a meal is to drink a glass of water, because hunger is a common symptom of thirst. But there could be other factors at play. Consider if you gave yourself enough time to digest your meal, or if you’re just bored.

Myth: You Can't Eat Dairy If You’re Lactose Intolerant

Some dairy foods, like yogurt and aged-cheese, already have some of the lactose broken down and are easier to digest than a glass of milk, according to the FDA. This means that someone with an intolerance to lactose can enjoy them in moderation, symptom-free. But everyone is different, so talk to your doctor about a plan to slowly introduce different dairy products into your diet.