“There’s WHAT in my food?!”
Urban myths float around every college campus. From the ghost in the basement of the library to the rumor that if your roommate dies you’ll get all As, every college has its legends. True or not, we’re here to examine these myths and decide if they are fact or fiction. One of the most common rumors floating around America’s college campuses is that there are laxatives in the dining hall food. But is it true?
Absolutely not. There are three common reasons behind this sneaky suspicion. The first says that the cafeteria food sits out on the warmers for so long that they need to add something to prevent you from getting sick. The idea is that the laxatives will speed up your digestive system and prevent the low quality food from giving you any kind of food poisoning. The second is that the stress of school, being away from home, and the change in diet results in constipation in many students, and so the cafeteria is just trying to help. The third is that they are trying to prevent the freshman fifteen. (Using laxatives for weight loss is fairly common.)
“How do you know it isn’t happening?”
Because it would be completely illegal. If colleges were putting medicines into your food, there would be someone, somewhere getting very sick or even dying! People with digestive disorders, or even people sensitive to medicines would react adversely, and then the university would be in big trouble. It would be against the law for your college to medicate you without your permission.
Dining halls, like food makers everywhere, are under strict rules and regulations that- if broken- can result in fines and being shut down. Adding laxatives to food would be in direct violation of health codes, and no matter what you’ve been told, your university simply isn’t doing it.
“So explain what’s happening to our bodies.”
Sure, your bathroom habits might be changing. We believe you. So you’re going more frequently, and your roommate mentions they heard that the dining hall puts laxatives in the mashed potatoes. Or the pasta sauce. Or the cake mix.
Well, you’re roommate’s been misled. Your hotdogs, tacos, and seven flavorless types of pizza aren’t harboring a fugitive laxative waiting to strike you down in the middle of English class. If your body’s rhythms are changing, there are perfectly good reasons for it.
First, your eating habits have probably changed. You probably aren’t used to eating such low cost (read: low quality) food on such a regular basis, so your body is doing what it can to adjust. What’s more, if you’re like most college students, you probably haven’t been making the smartest meal choices. Come on now, how many times did you eat cereal for dinner this week? And how many cupcakes did you eat last night? And how many times have you had cold pizza for breakfast? You’re out of your mom’s house now, meaning your meal choices are yours alone, and we bet you’ve gone a little wild. That’s not a good way to stay regular.
Also, campus food is admittedly very greasy. You had chicken patties and fries for lunch and dinner three days in a row? And you’re really expecting the end result to be the same as when mom made you a healthy, balanced meal after soccer practice? Not gonna happen, my friend. The truth is, those greasy meals you’ve been eating can make you go much more frequently.
But wait; there’s more: We know you aren’t drinking underage. Nobody does that in college! But if you were drinking, alcohol could be a huge contributing factor to your body troubles. Face it, alcohol wreaks havoc on your body, as do all those energy drinks and cups of coffee coffee you’ve been using to stay awake. These things are also going to change how your body works.
Your schedule is changing, too. You might go to sleep later and sleep in longer than you ever did before. Other nights, you’re pulling all nighters. Then you sleep all weekend. Such drastic changes in sleep patterns can also change your body’s natural processes.
So what can you do about getting your body back to normal? The answer is simple: Eat a better and more balanced diet, get good sleep, stop stressing yourself out, and make good decisions.