With our creative kiddy minds, it was so easy to come up with rumours about absolutely everything, from the imaginary relationships between our teachers, to what actually caused thunder. One thing that didn’t escape our attention was food. Over the years we picked up so many myths and rumours about what we put into our mouths that it was so hard to discern what was real and what wasn’t.
From the origins of chocolate milk to the conspiracy behind Walkers crisps, we debunk some of the biggest food rumours we all believed at some stage of our childhood.
1. The 5-Second Food Rule
(Or the 3-second rule, if you were feeling especially competitive/mean.)
Drop any type of food on the floor and you’re fine to pick it up and stuff it in your mouth – as long as you do it within five seconds. Leave it any longer than that, and the bacteria beasts will swarm on it, rendering it completely inedible.
Whether it’s just through habit or utter laziness, part of us still would like to believe this food rumour, but alas – food becomes contaminated within milliseconds of hitting the floor, so it’s best to give it a wash before you return it to the plate. Or not, if you really hate the person you’re giving it to…
2. Chewing Gum Will Stay in Your Stomach For Seven Years
The very thought of swallowing chewing gum today still fills us with dread. Will the gum stick our insides together? Will it cause a blockage in our stomach? Will I be middle-aged by the time I see this gum again?!
Luckily for all of us, it’s a complete myth. Much like everything else we eat, gum is dissolved within hours and, uh, out of our bodies within days. Still, much better to stick the gum under the school tables for someone to stick their hand into. Just to be on the safe side.
3. Eat a Watermelon Pip and a Watermelon Will Grow Inside You
Replace ‘watermelon’ with virtually any fruit or vegetable that’s got pips in, and you’ve got all the possible variations of this rumour. You’ll be pleased to know that watermelon pips are actually 100% safe to eat, and there’s 0% chance of a huge fruit growing inside your belly. Phew.
4. Chocolate Milk Comes From Brown Cows
This was a pretty logical assumption to make when we were 4 years’ old. Sadly, we all had to grow up and learn about science, and all our magical beliefs were exposed for the true lies that they were. Tbh, we had a bit of an inkling when our mums gave us strawberry milk. Never could explain that one away…
5. Carrots Make You See in the Dark
Our parents must have repeated this until they were black and blue in the face, but it obviously worked because it got us eating our carrots. Whether that was because we wanted to be superhumans, or just loved doing Bugs Bunny impressions, we don’t know…
Interestingly enough, the myth about carrots giving us night vision actually cropped up during the Second World War. Widespread rumours (which actually became to be used as propaganda) suggested that British pilots could see in the dark thanks to their healthy diet of carrots. While this is all complete tosh, carrots do contain a good dose of vitamin A which helps you see in low light conditions. But it won’t give you superhuman abilities, sorry.
6. Bread Crusts Will Give You Curly Hair
Bread has many fantastic qualities: it’s great at soaking up soup, fabulous at dipping in eggs, and perfect for dressing up cats. But will eating those crusts make your hair go curly? Sadly not.
Because the straightness (or curliness) of your hair depends on your genes, no amount of crust-eating will ever change things. So where did this rumour actually stem from? The origin is a little unclear, but some believe it started out around 300 years ago in Europe where curly hair was seen as a sign of prosperity. Since people who could afford to eat were generally healthier, that (vague) connection between curly hair and bread was made.
7. Eating Cheese Before Bed Will Give You Nightmares
Just think of how much cheese we missed out on as kids because it was ‘too close to bedtime’ and we didn’t want to have cheddar-induced nightmares. People were obviously so concerned about this potential link, that the British Cheese Board (Best. Name. Ever) carried out a series of investigations. They found there’s absolutely no relation between chomping down on some cheese and being kept up all night with bad dreams.
In case you’re wondering where the origin of this rumour came from, blame Charles Dickens. In ‘A Christmas Carol’ Scrooge blamed the presence of ghosts on him ‘eating a crumb of cheese’ before he went to bed.
8. Buttercups Could Tell You Whether You Liked Butter or Not
“Nope, this flower says you don’t like butter.” “…But I’m literally sitting here eating a slab of butter and loving it.” “Nope, you’re not. Sorry.”
If your chin reflected the yellow hue of a buttercup, it was a guaranteed way to show you adored butter. Oh, how many children hung on this flower’s every word…
9. Walkers Changed Around The Colours of Salt and Vinegar/Cheese and Onion Crisps
Convinced that the cheese and onion packet used to be green, and the salt and vinegar packet used to be blue? Your mind is playing tricks on you! So many people actually believe this that Walkers have added this to their FAQs on their website, stating that ‘Walkers Cheese and Onion have always been in blue packets, and Salt and Vinegar have always been in green packets.’
Still, people aren’t overly convinced – and Walkers has entered the realms of legendary food folklore.