In many ways, high school is still the same as it was when you were a student. The homework still sucks, the dances are still awkward, and the lunches are still terrible. But — thankfully — a lot has also changed, particularly when it comes to what kids learn in health class. Some nutrition tips you were probably taught by your teachers have since been declared bogus. If you haven’t been to high school in a while, here are some updated health and nutrition facts for the myths you may still have lingering in your brain.
BMI is a good health indicator
Body Mass Index, or BMI, takes a person’s body mass then divides it by their height to determine if they are “underweight,” “normal weight,” “overweight,” or “obese.” Prior to the 2000s, school nurses and gym teachers routinely checked children’s measurements against this scale, and everyone was told this was a great way to determine overall health.
Since then, medical professionals have moved away from using this practice to diagnose obesity or weight-related conditions — And it’s a good thing. The scale was actually invented by a 19th century mathematician — not a doctor. Furthermore, studies have shown that the scale harmed the emotional and mental health of school children because it worsened weight stigma and body image at an already trying time for youth. A few schools out there still gather BMI information, but if they do, just remind your child that it’s junk science from way back before you were even in school.
Follow the food pyramid
If you were in school in the 1990s or 2000s, you were probably introduced to the food pyramid. It was a helpful visual for remembering your daily serving allotments of different food groups. At its base, six to eleven servings of grains including pasta, rice, cereal, crackers and other carbs. At its tip, fats, butters, and sweets. Using the food pyramid, one could reasonably assume that a cheeseburger every day fell within government nutritional recommendations.
In 2011, the pyramid was replaced with “MyPlate,” a circle that is more representative of modern standards. The plate is divided between 30 percent grains, 40 percent vegetables, 10 percent fruits, and 20 percent protein, with a serving of dairy as a side.
Different areas of your tongue taste distinct flavors
Somewhere along the way, you probably came across a diagram that showed that the tongue had different areas that could taste different types of flavors. The sides of the tongue tasted foods that were “sour,” the back was where “bitter” food was tasted, and the front was responsible for “salty” and “sweet” foods. You probably tried this theory out at lunch that day and realized it was bogus even then — yes, the tip of your tongue could taste that Sour Patch Kid just fine. If you had a suspicion this science was wrong, you were correct. This idea was disproven in the 1970s but the diagram was apparently so memorable, the idea still lingers out there today.
you have five senses
You learn about the five senses in primary school: taste, touch, smell, sharing, and sight. But this lesson is seriously outdated. Experts now believe that the number is closer to nine including senses like temperature, spacial awareness, hunger and thirst, balance, and pain.
eating fat is bad for you
Government guidelines in the 1980s used to recommend cutting out fat. Low-fat foods and diets were popular of-the-moment weight loss fads. However, modern research has show that while fats from foods like red meat are still not great for you, healthy unsaturated fats from foods like avocados and olive oil, are actually pretty good for you. We now know they help protect your organs and keep your body warm, plus they support cell growth and help your body absorb nutrients.
Also see, 9 more food myths that just won’t die.