College Food: Laxatives Mystery

are there laxatives in college food

There is a persistent rumour that college dining hall food contains laxatives. The rumour has been around for years, with students claiming that the food services are lacing their meals with laxatives to prevent food poisoning or to help with students' digestion. However, this is just a myth. While college students may experience digestive issues, these are more likely due to changes in their eating and drinking habits, such as consuming more junk food and alcohol.

Characteristics Values
Reason for the myth College students experience changes in their eating habits, which can lead to digestive problems.
College students also tend to drink more alcohol, which can irritate the intestine and cause digestive issues.
The quality of college dining hall food is often poor, which can also cause digestive problems.
Reasons given for the myth It is claimed that colleges add laxatives to food to reduce the chances of food poisoning by reducing the time food spends in the body.
Colleges want to prevent food poisoning lawsuits by reducing the time harmful food spends in students' bodies.
Colleges want to prevent students from gaining weight.
Colleges want to help students with constipation caused by dietary changes and anxiety.
Truth of the myth Colleges do not add laxatives to food.
Changes in diet, increased alcohol consumption, and poor food quality are the most likely causes of students' digestive issues.


The rumour that college food contains laxatives

College students have long speculated about the quality of the food they are served on campus. One of the most persistent beliefs is that their cafeteria food contains laxatives. This rumour has been around for years and is passed down from upperclassmen to freshmen. It is said that the college cafeteria food is laced with a small amount of laxatives to reduce the chances of food poisoning by limiting the time food stays in the body, thus preventing lawsuits. However, this claim doesn't hold up to scrutiny.

Firstly, it's important to understand that once contaminated food is consumed, there is very little that can be done to stop food poisoning. Pathogens will not be deterred by speeding up the digestive process. In fact, the idea that any food service provider would serve anything other than food in their dining halls is ludicrous and makes no sense. The potential risks and consequences of secretly dosing students with medication are far too great for any college to consider. Adverse reactions and even deaths could occur, leading to disastrous lawsuits.

Additionally, the notion that laxatives can prevent food poisoning is based on a flawed understanding of how laxatives work. Laxatives aid in evacuating waste material from the bowels, but they don't prevent the body from digesting noxious substances that have already been ingested. By the time food enters the mouth, the process of contamination has already begun, and the body recognises the presence of harmful substances. Therefore, the idea that laxatives can effectively detoxify the body or reduce the symptoms of food poisoning is simply untrue.

The more likely explanation for students' digestive issues is the change in their eating habits when they transition to college life. Students suddenly have freedom over their food choices and tend to indulge in junk food high in fat and sugar, which can lead to digestive problems. Alcohol consumption, stress, and a lack of healthy options in the dining hall can also contribute to these issues. While it's tempting to blame mysterious laxatives, the reality is that a combination of dietary and lifestyle factors is the most probable cause.

While the rumour of laxatives in college food has persisted for years, it is just that—a rumour. College dining halls take food safety seriously and implement strict safety procedures to ensure the health and well-being of their students. Students can rest assured that their digestive issues are more likely due to their newfound freedom to make less-than-healthy food choices.

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The reasons for this rumour

The rumour that college dining hall food contains laxatives is a persistent one, with several purported reasons for the practice. One of the most common theories is that the inclusion of laxatives is an attempt to reduce the risk of food poisoning by limiting the time that potentially harmful food spends in students' bodies. This theory assumes that colleges cut corners and use sub-par ingredients, prioritising cost-cutting over student health. However, this logic has been refuted, as there is little that can be done to stop food poisoning once contaminated food has been consumed. Additionally, the potential costs of a lawsuit arising from food poisoning would far outweigh any savings made by using inferior ingredients.

A less common theory is that colleges add laxatives to their food to help students with constipation, which is said to be caused by the stress of pursuing a degree and changes in diet. Another variation of this rumour is that colleges are concerned about students' waistlines and are trying to prevent weight gain, particularly the infamous "freshman 15". However, this theory also doesn't hold much weight, as secretly dosing students with medication could lead to adverse reactions and subsequent lawsuits.

The rumour is often perpetuated by upperclassmen warning incoming freshmen not to eat in the cafeteria due to the presence of laxatives in the food. It is also fuelled by the noticeable changes in bathroom habits that many students experience when they first move to campus. However, these changes are more likely to be caused by a shift in eating habits, with students tending to indulge in junk food and excessive alcohol consumption, both of which can have a laxative effect.

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The effects of college students' new diets

College is often the first time young people are in charge of their food choices, and this newfound freedom can lead to unhealthy eating habits. The shift from a structured diet at home to the buffet-style dining halls and late-night food delivery that are common at universities can result in weight gain and other adverse health effects.

Weight Gain

The "freshman 15" is a well-known phenomenon, but it's not limited to first-year students. A study published in Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism followed college students over four years and found that 70% gained weight by the end of the study, with the number of participants classified as overweight or obese increasing from 18% to 31%. Another study of first-year students found that one in four gained 10 pounds or more in their first year on campus.

Poor Academic Performance

Poor eating habits have been linked to lower grades and increased fatigue, which can obviously negatively impact a student's academic performance.

Health Issues

Unhealthy diets can also lead to a higher risk of illness, depression, anxiety, irritability, difficulty concentrating, and sleep disturbances. A study of US college students found that more than half of young adults aged 18-24 have at least one risk factor for coronary artery disease, and nearly one in four have advanced atherosclerotic lesions, or plaque buildup, in their arteries.

So, What Should College Students Eat?

College students should aim for a balanced diet that includes whole grains, proteins, dairy, fruits, and vegetables. Here are some specific recommendations for each food group:

  • Grains: College-aged women should eat 3-6 small servings per day, while college-aged men should eat 4-8 servings. At least half of these servings should be whole grains.
  • Protein: Depending on body type, most people should eat about 45-55 grams of protein per day, or roughly six ounces. Choose lean or plant-based proteins to protect cardiac health.
  • Dairy: College students should aim for about three cups of dairy per day. This can include milk, natural cheeses, and yogurt.
  • Fruits and Vegetables: College students should try to eat 2.5-3 cups of veggies and about two cups of fruit per day. Try to eat something from each color subgroup (red, orange, green, blue, or white) daily to enhance your diet.

Tips for Eating Healthy in College

  • Plan meals in advance: This can help you save time and money, and it's easier to make healthy choices when you're not hungry.
  • Keep healthy snacks on hand: Even if you don't have a kitchen, you can store fruits, some vegetables, and packaged snacks in your dorm room.
  • Cook in batches: If you have access to a kitchen, consider cooking larger dishes and eating the leftovers later, or cook all your food for the week at once and reheat as needed.
  • Stick to a shopping list: Avoid impulse purchases by making a list after you've chosen your recipes, and try to organise your shopping list by meal.
  • Manage stress: Stress eating is common, so find healthy ways to manage your stress, such as exercise or meditation.


The effects of alcohol on the body

There are no laxatives in college dining hall food. The speed at which this food moves through people is likely due to changes in diet and increased alcohol consumption.

Drinking alcohol can have a range of effects on the body and mind, and these effects can be both short-term and long-term. Alcohol can cause lowered inhibitions, drowsiness, euphoria, slowed or slurred speech, changes in hearing, vision, and perception, loss of coordination, and trouble focusing or making decisions. These effects can appear quickly, even after just one drink. Dehydration-related effects, like nausea, headaches, and dizziness, can take a few hours to appear.

Long-term alcohol use can lead to persistent changes in mood, including anxiety and irritability, insomnia, a weakened immune system, changes in libido and sexual function, and problems with memory and concentration. It can also cause physical damage to the body, including:

  • Digestive and endocrine glands: Drinking too much alcohol over time may cause inflammation of the pancreas, resulting in pancreatitis, a dangerous condition that causes swelling and pain and impairs the pancreas's ability to produce enzymes and hormones for proper digestion.
  • Liver: Heavy drinking takes a toll on the liver and can lead to a variety of problems, including liver disease and chronic liver inflammation (cirrhosis).
  • Heart: Drinking a lot over a long period or too much on a single occasion can damage the heart, causing problems such as stretched and drooping heart muscle (cardiomyopathy), irregular heartbeat (arrhythmias), and high blood pressure.
  • Central nervous system: Alcohol reduces communication between the brain and body, affecting speech and coordination. Over time, it can cause damage to the central nervous system, with symptoms such as numbness and tingling in the hands and feet.
  • Circulatory system: Drinking excessively can lead to difficulty pumping blood through the body and absorbing vitamins and minerals from food, which can cause fatigue and anemia.
  • Sexual and reproductive health: Alcohol can prevent sex hormone production, affect erectile function, and make it difficult to achieve orgasm. It may also affect the menstrual cycle and increase the risk of infertility.
  • Skeletal and muscle systems: Long-term alcohol use can affect bone density, increasing the risk of fractures, and can lead to muscle weakness, cramping, and atrophy.

Alcohol consumption is also associated with an increased risk of certain cancers, including mouth, throat, breast, esophagus, colon, liver, and rectum cancers. It is also linked to a higher risk of drowning and injuries from violence, falls, and motor vehicle crashes.

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The truth about college food and laxatives

It is a well-travelled rumour that college cafeterias lace their food with laxatives. The rumour has been around for years, with students claiming that the college food people put laxatives in the food to prevent food poisoning, to help students with digestion, or to prevent weight gain. However, this rumour is just that—a rumour. There is no truth to the claim that college cafeteria food contains laxatives.

The rumour

The rumour has persisted for years, with new students being told by upperclassmen to avoid the cafeteria food because it contains laxatives. The most common reason cited for the supposed addition of laxatives is to reduce the chances of food poisoning and subsequent lawsuits by limiting the time that the food is in the body. Other reasons given include helping students with digestion and preventing weight gain.

The reality

The idea that colleges would put laxatives in their food is ludicrous. As one dining services representative puts it, "The idea that any food service provider would serve anything that isn't food in their dining halls is simply ludicrous." In addition, an expedited process of emission has no effect on eliminating symptoms of food poisoning. Once the food goes into your mouth, the process of contamination starts, and your body knows something is wrong. Laxatives also don't effectively detoxify the body after contamination. If any company were to put laxatives in their food, it would be wrong and could potentially lead to lawsuits if people had adverse reactions.

The real reasons for digestive issues

So, if the college food doesn't contain laxatives, why are so many students experiencing digestive issues? The most likely explanation is changes in eating habits. College students tend to have free rein over their diets for the first time, often leading to a diet high in fat and sugar, which can cause digestive problems. Alcohol consumption is another culprit, known to speed up digestion. In addition, the stress of school and becoming independent can also contribute to digestive issues. While some students may blame unsanitary conditions in the cafeteria, this is unlikely to be the case, as cafeteria staff are trained in food safety and follow strict sanitation procedures.

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Frequently asked questions

No, this is just a rumour. There are other reasons why students might experience digestive issues, such as a change in diet or an increase in alcohol consumption.

Some students believe that the college includes laxatives in the food to reduce the chance of food poisoning by limiting the time that the food is in the body, or to prevent weight gain and maintain the school's reputation.

Colleges and food service providers have denied the rumour, stating that it is "far-fetched" and that there are safer and more effective ways to ensure food safety, such as food handler certifications and regular safety meetings.

It's important to pay attention to your body and how it reacts to different foods and beverages. Try to include more fruits and vegetables in your diet, and be mindful of your alcohol consumption. If issues persist, consult a healthcare professional.

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