Food Today looks at some common myths about acidic foods, fluids and sugar

Myth: Eating acidic foods, like oranges, disturbs the acid/alkaline balance in the body.

Fact: The body works to maintain an acid to alkaline balance at all times through specific buffering systems. Even the slightest alteration to blood alkalinity can adversely affect vital body functions needed to sustain life. Luckily we have many systems in place to ensure this is so, including the lungs and kidneys. In healthy individuals, what you eat is not likely to greatly affect the balance. Oranges and other "acidic" fruits and juices are a great source of vitamin C and plant nutrients, so keep eating them!

Myth: You should "feed a cold and starve a fever".

Fact: You do not need to do either. Instead it's better to follow your appetite, although if you are sweating a lot with a fever then it is really important to increase your fluid intake to avoid becoming dehydrated. If you feel like eating, have some protein food such as fish, chicken, meat or pulse vegetables. The stress of illness can increase protein demands. Other important nutrients needed for the production of "germ-gobbling" cells in the immune system are zinc (in seafood and red meat) plus folic acid and pro-vitamin A (beta carotene) in broccoli, spinach and carrots.

Myth: To avoid indigestion, fluids should not be taken with meals.

Fact: Drinking plain water with meals should not be a problem. If you are prone to bloating and indigestion it is probably wise to avoid sparkling water or other carbonated drinks when eating because they may add to the gas in your digestive system. Otherwise the best advice is to eat slowly and not talk with your mouth full to decrease the amount of air swallowed and lessen the chances of bloating.

Myth: Sugar is addictive

Fact: This is just not true. An addictive substance is one that causes the body to require more and more of it to satisfy its needs and that leads to unpleasant symptoms of withdrawal when it is not available. While people may enjoy and want sweet foods, it is unlikely that you actually need bigger and bigger portions to meet needs and will suffer real physical withdrawal if they become unavailable. The body is not actually able to tell the difference between sugar in a piece of fruit, such as an apple, or table sugar. It is unlikely that people would ever believe they were addicted to, or suffering withdrawal symptoms from, apples should their daily serving be withdrawn.

Myth: Cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil is better for you than other oils because it contains less fat.

Fact: "Cold-pressed" refers to the method of production of the oil, which involves minimal processing at low temperatures.

All oils supply the same amount of fat, gram for gram, whatever their source. Like all fats, olive oil also supplies 9 calories (37 kilojoules) per gram and so should be consumed in moderation.

The health benefit of unsaturated oils, (such as olive oil, seed oils, other monounsaturated oils and polyunsaturated oils) is that they appear to help keep levels of cholesterol within the normal range in the blood. This makes them a good substitute for saturated fats.