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These are internet rumors or urban legends that got their start on the internet, through chain emails, social media postings, etc.

The Famous Aspartame Email by Nancy Markle: Source of Myths

This article is the fourth and final article in the series about the artificial sweetener, aspartame. For the previous articles, see:

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Flesh-Eating Bananas From Costa Rica?

There have been many fearful claims concerning bananas. In fact, bananas, due to their exotic origin, had a rocky reception in the U.S., stoking fears and myths, not the least of which was that bananas are hard to digest or undigestable. But perhaps the scariest rumor about bananas was much more recent, that they could give you necrotizing fasciitis, or flesh-eating bacteria.

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Can Eating Too Many Bananas Cause A Potassium Overdose?

According to the claim "Eating nine bananas in a row can kill you by giving you a lethal overdose of potassium"

Potassium is a good thing. It is also a bad thing. It is an essential element in the human body and a crucial part, along with sodium, of maintaining fluid and electrolyte balance in the body. It is the principal cation inside the body's cells and helps to maintain their integrity. It is a part of nerve impulses, muscle contraction, and adrenal gland function. Too little potassium, called hypokalemia is a disaster for your body. It can lead to high blood pressure, kidney stones, bone turnover, irregular heartbeat, muscle weakness, glucose intolerance, and ultimately, if the deficiency becomes severe enough, death.

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Is the 'How Coca-Cola Reacts to Stomach Acid' Video Real?

A video on YouTube entitled 'Experiment Pouring Coca Cola in Stomach Acid!! - Epic Reaction!,' or 'How Coke Reacts to Stomach Acid,' between YouTube and Facebook, has been viewed millions of times. Posted by a channel called Molten Science, it purports to show what happens when Coca-Cola comes into contact with stomach acid, or hydrochloric acid. The video starts by showing a square glass containing a small amount of clear liquid with a can of Coke sitting next to it. We cannot tell what the liquid in the glass container might be, but it is supposed to be "stomach acid."

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Toxic Canola Oil Warning

Since 2001, warnings have circulated via Email and Facebook warning people not to use Canola oil because it is highly dangerous to humans. According to such messages, you shouldn't use Canola oil because it is made from a genetically engineered plant developed in Canada "which is part of the mustard family of plants."

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A Man Bought Lobster and Steak on Food Stamps?

A viral image of a grocery store receipt from Menominee, Michigan has been circulating online since May of 2011. The receipt, from Angeli's Country Market, lists fresh cold water lobster, porterhouse steak, and diet Mountain Dew, totaling $141.78, dated February 8, 2011.

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Is Chocolate Milk Really Made From Expired Milk?

I recently noticed an Instagram post under the hashtag #foodfacts, which I use for my CulinaryLore posts on Instagram. The image claimed that chocolate milk is actually made from expired white milk that is sent back to the processing facilities, boiled down and re-pasteurized, then mixed with artificial synthetic chocolate flavoring, sugar (GMO). In other words, chocolate milk is a way to get another month of shelf-life out of white milk while adding a lot of bad stuff.

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Are The Onions In White Castle Burgers Really Cabbage Pieces Soaked in Onion Juice?

An internet rumor states that the onions in White Castle burgers are not really onions at all. Instead, they are little pieces of cabbage that have been soaked in onion juice. Could this rumor be true?

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The Illinois Mushroom Picking License Hoax

A press release, claiming to be from the Illinois Natural Resources Department, appeared online in the early part of 2005. The release announced that anyone wanting to pick mushrooms would need to get a license. To get such a mushroom picking license, you could go to the same places where you got a hunting or fishing license. This upset a of mushroom hobbyists. The Natural Resources department received a great many enraged phone calls and had to clear up the confusion with a real press release stating they had never made a press release about a mushroom picking license. You could go right on picking mushrooms without the state interfering.

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Pepsi Products Contaminated with HIV Positive Blood?

Recently, in September of this year, a message started making the Facebook rounds that claimed a worker had put his HIV tainted blood into bottles of Pepsi products.

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Asparagus Cures Cancer Viral Email and Post

This email popped up at least as early as 2006 and has been handed around on Facebook, etc. since then. It purports the miraculous discovery that cooked and blended asparagus, given as doses twice a day to cancer patients, cures their cancer. There is no evidence whatsoever that asparagus, or any other single vegetable or food, cures cancer, or alters cancer cells in any way once you have cancer. A healthy diet, with asparagus as part of it, however, can help to prevent some types of cancer (but not all, and not close to completely).

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Butter v. Margarine Myths: Margarine Was Invented to Feed Turkeys, Killed Them, & More

Since around 2003, a compilation of "facts" about margarine has been circulating on the internet, probably starting from one or a number of email chains. Such chain emails are quite common, and they often find their way onto various websites, or social sharing networks such as Facebook, where they are posted as if they are facts from a credible source. Many websites don't even bother to mention the origin of the post, and publish them as if they are a normal article like any other article on the web. The "margarine was invented to fatten turkeys" message is a popular example of just such an instance.

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© 2018 by Eric Troy and CulinaryLore. All Rights Reserved. Please contact for permissions.