5 culinary exaggerations that should take a hike

Mini Oreos. Photo by minato on Flickr.
Mini Oreos. Photo by minato on Flickr.

We're all for hyperboles, but sometimes they just don't fit the bill

Cookies are more addictive than cocaine

A study on how cookies can been more addictive than psychoactive drugs (we should ask Rob Ford about that one) has been circulating around the internet lately. Such articles claim that high-fat and high-sugar foods (i.e. cookies) stimulate the brain the same way cocaine does. I mean, I get it. Oreos are delicious and it's hard to eat just one, but cocaine destroys lives. I've yet to hear about someone losing his/her marriage or selling possessions to fuel an insatiable Oreo addiction; I just don't buy it.

And, seriously, to compare drug abuse with liking cookies is to diminish the struggle with real addictions.


A favourite with the health and fitness crowd, the term "superfood" seems to have become a catch-all term for any natural food that contains any sort of nutrition. Blueberries, almonds, salmon, and even steak are all examples of items being promoted as "superfoods" that contain magical cure-all antioxidants and vitamins. Since there is no scientific definition of the term (none whatsoever), most fruits, vegetables, and unprocessed meats could be labelled as "superfoods".

While there's nothing wrong with the promotion of healthy choices, the idea that eating a few blueberries a day will ward off aging and illness is obviously misleading. Naturally, we do it anyway, just in case!

How about we call all processed junk out there "stupidfoods" instead of calling this stuff "superfoods"? Just saying.

Feeling hungry an hour after eating Chinese food

This is a common phrase that we all hear over and over again. The concept that Chinese food contains some sort of stomach filler that causes hunger an hour later is ridiculous.

There is speculation that this idea stemmed from the MSG in Chinese fast-food or the high amount of carbohydrates from rice and noodles. Regardless of the origin, this exaggeration is problematic because it reduces an entire cuisine to the fast-food style, deep-fried-egg-roll-and-ginger-beef "Chinese" food, commonly found in North American food courts.

Anyone who has experienced authentic Chinese food (we have a fantastic variety of this cuisine in many Canadian cities) will be aware of the diversity and depth of flavours and techniques in Chinese cooking — reducing it to a one-dimensional stereotype is offensive. There are over a billion people living in China eating Chinese food every day and I can guarantee they are not at all hungry an hour after every meal.

Sans-gluten diet is better for you

As the gluten-free trend rises, we hear more about how gluten makes us sick, blocks nutrients, causes "wheat belly" and inflammation. If you're a celiac, then yes, consuming gluten will make you sick. Many health benefits usually attributed to the gluten-free diet can be linked to overall diet changes — if you opt for a spinach and egg white omelette instead of enjoying a double chocolate muffin for breakfast every morning, chances are, you will feel better. If eliminating gluten from your diet makes you feel better, then by all means, go ahead, but don't tell your dining companions that a slice of toast is going to poison them.

Sex on a plate

Kudos to the adventurous ones out there who have had sex on a plate and can honestly compare it to a culinary experience. I mean, who doesn't love having their dinner compared to a sweaty late night encounter, potentially with a stranger. Yum!

Having said that, if there's one dish in this crazy world that could potentially measure up to this sexual reference, this would likely be it (moderately NSFW). Oh my...