Two Dangerous Things You're Doing With Your Food

Food

Here are two unsuspecting ways your food can get contaminated and cause your body harm. You've probably done both at least once, and may still be doing them everyday! Heard of the five-second rule? As a kid you probably swore by it. But scientists are finally handing down an official verdict on its efficacy. They also found that sharing spoons can increase your risk for cavities!

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The Truth About the “Five-second Rule”

When you were growing up, you and your friends inevitably dropped snacks on the floor. If they were especially yummy, it was hard to resist picking them up and eating them. To ease your guilt and worries, your friends might've declared, “It's still good! Five-second rule!” But is it true that food stays clean for five seconds after falling on the ground?

Rutgers says no. Overall, they state that pathogens can get on fallen food the moment it touches the ground. However, there's still truth to the rule – the longer the food stays on the ground, the more bacteria (and other germs) crawl onto it. So yes, if you go past five seconds, your food will be more contaminated.

These researchers also found that depending on the type of food, the instantaneous contamination can be more or less severe. For example, moister foods, like watermelon and gelatin-like candy, are more favorable to bacterial contamination – so they'll be contaminated easier and faster than a hard loaf of bread.

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You might be in luck if your food drops on the carpet. They found that samples dropped on carpets had the least bacteria compared to samples they dropped on metal surfaces and tiled floors.

How bad is it to eat food from the floor? In the ancient Orient, Genghis Kahn said it was okay for people to eat food that had fallen on the ground for 12 hours. Michigan State University said that people who did so most likely died! Of course, you most likely won't be eating food that's been on the ground for that long. But that doesn't mean you won't get sick – researchers found that kitchen floors and surfaces contain bacteria species that cause endocarditis (heart infection) and strep throat, among other dangerous species. Bottom line: Don't eat food that's fallen on the ground, period!

Sharing Food and Spoons Can Cause Cavities

But eating food from the floor isn't the only way you can unknowingly eat contaminated food. You've probably shared plates, cups, and spoons with family and friends. Heck, you've probably even taken a bite of something after a loved one's already bitten it! Believe it or not, this can boost your risk for cavities.

Everyone has Streptococcus mutans in their mouths. But only about 10 to 40 percent of the population harbor Streptococcus sobrinus in their mouths. These are the bacteria responsible for creating cavities and causing decays. The scary thing is – they can be transmitted from one person to another!

Dr. David Eshom warns not to share spoons with babies or clean their pacifiers with your mouth because doing so can increase their likelihood of developing cavities and decays later on in life. On the same note, sharing spoons and food with people who have bad oral hygiene can increase your own mouth's colonies of these disease-causing bacteria. Bottom line: Always use clean utensils and china and don't eat food that's been in the mouths of others.

Keep yourself safe from infections, cavities, and potential serious illnesses by not eating food that's fallen on the floor or sharing utensils with others. Stick to clean food and a healthy, balanced diet rich in vegetables and your body will thank you.

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