Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Claim: Drinking cold water after meals will lead to cancer.
Origins: This admonition against the ingestion of cold beverages immediately following meals first surfaced on the Internet in February 2006, when it appeared as an item tagged onto a diatribe against the eating of too much rice. By July 2006, it was circulating as the
A serious note about heart attacks:While the above-quoted bit is accurate with regard to what it says about heart attack symptoms, the implied connection between the drinking of cold water and cardiac disruption (derived from the text's having been appended to the "cold water causes cancer"
Women should know that not every heart attack symptom is going to be the left arm hurting. Be aware of intense pain in the jaw line.
You may never have the first chest pain during the course of a heart attack.
Nausea and intense sweating are also common symptoms.
60% of people who have a heart attack while they are asleep do not wake up.
Pain in the jaw can wake you from a sound sleep. Let's be careful and be aware. The more we know, the better chance we could survive...
A cardiologist says if everyone who gets this mail sends it to
The "drinking cold water causes cancer" rumor is a bit of an odd duck in that at first blush it appears to have much in common with a previously-circulated false belief about instant noodles posing a danger to consumers because the cups' wax linings were becoming their ingesters' wax linings and so causing deaths.
The proffered bit of advice about eschewing cold drinks after a meal is claptrap. We were unable to find in reputable medical literature mention of frosty beverages causing cancer. Also, chilled liquids do not solidify ingested fats when the two meet in the stomach: the internal heat of the human body quickly nullifies any temperature differences among the various items that have been swallowed, and stomach acids very efficiently break down lumps of ingestibles before they are passed into the intestines.
The belief that fats (particularly animal fats) will "line the intestine" underpins a common scare story about alleged post-mortem discoveries that celebrities (such as John Wayne and Elvis Presley) who epitomized the "meat and potatoes" diet, gluttony, or other negative eating habits had some tremendous amount (40, 60, or even
The e-mailed advisory against downing cold water after a meal advances a claim that the sludge supposedly formed by the reaction of stomach acids and ingested oils and now said to be adhering to the walls of the intestine will "turn into fats and lead to cancer." That oils (fats) would turn into fats is the least improbable claim made in the
Over the years, decades, and even centuries, a variety of things have been pointed to as causing cancer. Once, when it was noted that there had been an increase in the consumption of tomatoes and an increase in the number of cancer patients, the erroneous conclusion was drawn from this correlation that tomatoes in some fashion caused or induced cancer. As to how old that belief was or how seriously it was taken at the time it was being bruited about, we note that in 1896 the Yorkshire Weekly Post printed an item by a physician who felt moved to publicly combat the rumor: "Let me say that the eating of tomatoes has nothing whatever to do with the production of the disease [cancer]."
If that now seems laughable, consider that to this day cancer continues to attract a number of misconceptions, and not just about its potential causes. In 2005 the American Cancer Society conducted a telephone survey of
As for the act of drinking water immediately after eating something being bad for you, those claims have also been kicking about for a bit, as evidenced by this entry from a book of common misconceptions published in 1923:
That it is Bad to Drink Water Directly after Eating FruitFar more recently, we found on the Internet the advice to "drink water at room temperature if possible, as ice-cold water can harm the delicate lining of your stomach." If the lining of the human stomach were that delicate, our tummies would not long survive their being constantly bathed in strong digestive acids.
This idea used to be extremely popular at the Cape when the author was there nearly
Barbara "cold turkey" Mikkelson
Last updated: 25 October 2006
This material may not be reproduced without permission.
snopes and the snopes.com logo are registered service marks of snopes.com.