10 Stubborn Food Myths That Just Won’t Die, Debunked by Science

Every other week, new research claims one food is better than another, or that some ingredient yields incredible new health benefits. Couple that with a few old wives’ tales passed down from your parents, and each time you fire up your stove or sit down to eat a healthy meal, it can be difficult separating food fact from fiction. We talked to a group of nutritionists and asked them to share the food myths they find most irritating and explain why people cling to them. Here’s what they said.

Source: 10 Stubborn Food Myths That Just Won’t Die, Debunked by Science

Some of the myths have been covered on their own:

There’s Lead in Your Farm, But Here’s How to Get It Out

Urban farmers who have their soil tested for heavy metals and other contaminants can get a nasty shock when they realize what would be coursing through the food they grow on their land. Establish an innocent little vegetable patch and you’ll be serving your family a salad full of fresh lead.

Happily, contaminated soil doesn’t mean farming is out of the question. A relatively small investment in compost and new topsoil can mean a relatively large drop in contaminants. Some urban farmers put in raised beds that keep the plants they intend to eat out of contact with the soil. And then there’s another solution: phytoremediation.

Source: There’s Lead in Your Farm, But Here’s How to Get It Out

I do not recommend eating Indian mustard, or mustard greens in general.  3.5 oz/100 grams of mustard greens contains 592.7 mcg of vitamin K, or 564% of the Daily Value (DV).

Same recommendation goes for Chinese cabbage.  100 grams of Chinese cabbage contains 42.9 mcg of vitamin K, or 54% DV.  It’s not as bad for us as mustard greens, but certainly higher than most what I’ve profiled to date.

So You Want to Lighten Your Bicycle?

The following list runs starts at how easy it is to install yourself:

  • Seatpost
  • Saddle
  • Stem
  • Handlebar

Optimistically, all four could drop ~450 grams/1 lb.

Measure Twice, Cut Once

If you are doing this entirely on your own, be extra careful about measurements.  If you haven’t done this stuff before, know that there can be imperfections in sizing.  I’ve seen issues with seatposts because either the seatpost diameter was a millimeter too small, or the frame diameter is slightly bigger.  Stem length is something I’d discuss with a bike fitter, but it’s possible you’ll find out you’re on a poorly sized bike to begin with.

Material

Back in the day carbon failure was a more likely possibility.  Carbon failure can mean a very sharp edge, and all-or-nothing operation.  If alloy/aluminium fails, you can still ride on it to get home.  Carbon in theory should dampen shock/road noise, but it’s not really noticeable in my experience – the frame and/or fork makes a bigger difference.  Depending on your frame, some metal on metal combinations can bond together over time – ask about it if concerned.

My research based on weight suggests there’s no difference between metal and carbon – the lightest stem is still around 100 grams, lightest seatpost comes in around 150 grams.  However the lighter handlebars are typically carbon.

Saddles

A big part about saddles is your seat bones, and everyone is different.

’nuff said?

Saddle angle can be a personal preference.  I’ve ridden some setups where it felt like I was going to fall off the back.  The rational behind the angle I’ve heard from some is that nose down is more aggressive, meant for sprinting/etc while tipped back is better for climbing.  But I know some who disagree it matters at all.  One benefit of having the nose down was that my bib/cycling shorts were less likely to catch & tear.

Saddle rails – how the saddle anchors to the seatpost – can impact seatpost choice.  Some stuff is proprietary (Ritchey stuff recently), and carbon rails had clearance requirements.

Depending on the length of seatpost, you can trim it to save weight.  That said, this is not something I’d try with a carbon seatpost and more importantly –  it voids warranty, in addition to limiting resale potential.

You’ve Done All That, Now What?

Depending on what’s currently on the bike, you could consider getting a higher-end cassette (gears on the backend).  You can swap these yourself, but you need a chainwhip tool.  Just using Shimano as an example, going from a 105 cassette to a Dura-Ace one will save you ~100 grams/3.5 ounces.  That’s also wheel weight, which will help with acceleration.  The trade-off is both cost, and wearability.  Lighter things don’t tend to take abuse as well as others – it’s worth buying a chain length tool to replace worn chains ASAP to minimize cassette wear.

I ran a Dura-Ace chain for a while.  It was light, but seemed to stretch very quickly and was costly to maintain.  I’ve had less issues with an Ultegra chain.  The consensus I’ve encountered was that few could really tell the difference in chain quality – they all seemed to wear out the same.  Which reminds me – I should check my chain…

The rear derailleur?  For the hassle, I opt for a mechanic to swap these.  The weight savings is less than for a cassette – 75 grams/2.6 ounces.  I think you’d notice more if the shifters were upgraded than the shifter.

The crank can be a good place to save weight.  You have to be aware of the bolt pattern for chainrings – the BCD might only support compact (50/34 max) or the usual 53/39.  Some cranks are setup to support a wide variety of chainrings.  The next issue is bottom bracket.  There’s numerous “standards”, and some are proprietary (Cannondale?).  As for crank length, there’s no benefit from having longer cranks.  In reality, it’s more material so more weight, and can mean less clearance when cornering with the crank on the inside of the corner down (IE if you pedal while cornering).  But you can easily save 200 grams/7 ounces, and stiffer cranks means better power transfer – you’re not loosing power as the crank flex under load.

Wheels can easily be one of the most expensive means of dropping weight on a bike.  I do not recommend pre-packaged wheelsets.  Custom wheels are likely to cost less and get you a superior wheelset.  Talk to your local bike shop, but if you’re really wanting to save money – learn to build the wheel yourself.  Worst case scenario, take the wheel(s) into a bike shop to be trued/dished.  Lacing a wheel is not that difficult.  Rim brake wheels can get under 1 Kg/2.2 lbs in the ultra high-end category, to date the lightest disc brake wheelset I’ve encountered might be under 1.4 Kg/3 lbs.  It can be a very noticable difference, going to a lighter wheelset.  Less weight to power, and faster acceleration.

SRAM, Campagnolo, Electric Shifting (Di2, etc)

I haven’t ridden SRAM, but the reputation is that the offering is substantially lighter than Shimano but short-lived.  But I prefer the cranks to Shimano offerings, especially since the move to four arms.

I have ridden Campy, but not extensively.  I liked the thumb shifters.  By reputation it’s expensive, and can be difficult to source parts locally in a pinch but that’s likely to be better in more major cities than where I am.  Unlike Shimano, Campy stuff can be rebuilt – the shifters anyway.

I haven’t ridden on electric shifting, but accounts the Shimano stuff is fantastic.  Automatic trimming so you’re not adjusting either derailleur.  If the battery dies, it stays in the current gear.  I was last told that Di2 is 30 grams lighter than the mechanical alternative.  The shifter pods for triathlon/time trial (TT) are pretty awesome too.

Rolling Pin: Aluminium, Anodized

…why has the metal rolling pin never caught on? It seems like a much better option to wood — you get a nice tapered shape with the right weight, a surface that should prevent the dough from sticking to it, and the ability to chill your pin before rolling, so you don’t get the dough warm.

Source: An Aluminum Rolling Pin Makes So Much Sense

Anyone that’s used a wine bottle or other glass bottle in a pinch, will know that this won’t work: smooth surfaces can’t take a dusting of flour well. Even with space age metals and non-stick surfaces, the dough is still going to stick.  The texture of a sandblasted anodized surface isn’t rough enough to hold the flour.

….and my mom wouldn’t like it – no handle to grab on to when she wanted to hit people with it.

Why Beer Isn’t Sold in Plastic Bottles

Plastic as a material has pretty much changed the way we live our lives- it’s cheap, can be molded into practically any shape and is, for the most the part, easily recyclable (when people bother to). So why is it that we still use glass bottles and cans to store our beer in? Is it to do with aesthetics? Taste? Or is there another factor at play?

Article: Why Beer Isn’t Sold in Plastic Bottles

It’s not covered in the article, but a plastic container might make for a faster cooling beverage.  The material is less thick than glass, so less time cooling the material before getting to the liquid inside.  But it’d also be quicker to warm when you have it in your hand…