10 Health Myths—Debunked!

Posted by on in Personal Wellness

Some health myths continue to thrive, despite research showing they just aren't true. Here, the truth behind the tall tales:

Myth #1: Diet soda supports weight loss

Truth: Diet soda is surprisingly bad for you.

In a 2015 study of older adults published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, the more diet soda people drank, the wider around the waist they were.

According to Time magazine, more belly fat can lead to inflammation, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.

10 health myths

For more on the health risks of both regular and diet soda- and tips for kicking your soda habit! -check out this blog.

Myth #2: Poop once a day

Truth: Fecal frequency doesn't translate to how healthy you are, though regular elimination keeps things moving in the right direction.

Constipation is defined as three or fewer bowel movements a week, though Dr. Carly Stewart, medical expert at Money Crashers, says in this LifeHacker story that, “no single bowel movement schedule is right for everyone.

10 health myths

However, staying hydrated, eating foods high in fiber, and being active will help ensure that your schedule is regular and you do not become backed up."

Myth #3: The five-second food rule

Truth: You drop your donut on the floor—is it still okay to eat?

It depends what's on the ground. Research shows that tile and wood floors have far more bacteria than carpeted floors do, though Salmonella Typhimurium bacteria can transfer onto food immediately.

10 health myths

Another study measuring E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus bacteria found that a quicker pick up (researchers measured food dropped from 3 to 30 seconds) transfers fewer- but not zero- germs.

While 87 percent of people surveyed say they eat dropped food, presumably without much consequence, the choice to eat that donut remains with you.

Myth# 4 Fat/carbs will make you fat

Truth: Eating more calories than your body needs can add pounds.

Our bodies need a certain amount of nutrients—including fat, carbohydrates, and protein—to function properly.

The key is to pick foods filled with nutrients—such as avocados (high in healthy fats and fiber to fill you up) and whole grains (which are believed to be related to lower risks of developing heart disease and certain cancers, among other things).

10 health myths

To avoid gaining weight, focus on whole foods in favor of processed ones, and watch portion sizes.

According to Andy Bellatti, a Las Vegas-based registered dietitian quoted on LifeHacker, “A Pop-Tart (carbohydrate-rich) and a pear (also carbohydrate-rich) are not the same thing. The problem is refined and highly processed carbohydrates, which can trigger cravings."

Myth# 5: Spot training works

Truth: Exercise is good, but it won't let you customize your weight loss.

Doing sit-ups to flatten your belly fat is a losing proposition. When you strengthen muscles in one area of your body, it makes that part stronger, but you won't cut fat from that spot.

Instead, aerobic or cardiovascular exercise—running, walking, swimming, dancing, skiing, or any activity that gets your heart rate up consistently through movement—is what helps shed pounds.

10 health myths

According to Dr. Stewart, such activity cuts fat from all over- not just your personal trouble spots: “The pattern of fat gain or loss has more to do with each person's unique body than it does with the type of aerobic exercise performed."

Myth #6: Watch the scale for weight loss

Truth: Focus on how you feel, as well as how you fit in your clothes.

Muscle weighs more than fat, and a pound of muscle will help you look more toned; a pound of fat just adds to your flab.

10 health myths

Stepping on a scale can be discouraging if you have been working out with weights to strengthen your body—you could even see a weight gain if you haven't changed your eating habits or have done more aerobic exercise.

But if you're feeling less winded when climbing a flight of stairs, or if your tight jeans are a little looser in the waist, then your exercise efforts are paying off in health dividends.

Don't be a scale watcher.

Myth #7: Winter weather makes you sick

Truth: Germs make you sick.

According to Dr. Aaron E. Carroll and Dr. Rachel C. Vreeman, co-authors of “Don't Swallow Your Gum," a book about medical untruths, being cold won't give you a cold.

10 health myths

Instead, it's possible that staying indoors to avoid bad weather puts you closer to people who are already ill, which makes it easier to pass something on from one person to another.

Myth #8: Cracking your knuckles causes arthritis

Truth: It doesn't.

People who crack their knuckles are pulling their fingers apart or pushing them backwards. This causes air in the fluid that lubricates the knuckles, or joints, to pop—and causes a loud sound.

Some people feel it makes their fingers feel better.

10 health myths

But don't keep it up: according to HEALTHbeat, a Harvard Health Publications newsletter, while studies found few connections between developing arthritis and knuckle cracking, the practice could cause hand swelling and give you a weaker handshake.

Myth #9: You won't get sick if you double dip

Truth: You might.

Assorted researchers, summarized by book authors Carroll and Vreeman, testers from the TV show Mythbusters, and the website The Conversation US, all looked at how much bacteria was around when someone dipped a cracker once, ate part of it, and then dipped it again into salsa, cheese dip, chocolate syrup, and water.

10 health myths

They consistently found that there was more bacteria, both on the cracker and in the dip itself, the more times the same cracker was dipped.

This can easily spread all kinds of sicknesses, including pneumonic plague, tuberculosis, influenza virus, Legionnaires' disease, and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), reported by The Conversation US.

Myth #10: A pound of fat equals 3,500 calories cut

Truth: It's not all fat.

Speaking to LifeHacker, Dr. Spencer Nadolsky, the medical editor at Examine.com, points out that while losing a pound of body weight is equivalent to burning off about 3,500 calories, it can also include “a modest amount of water and other forms of tissue."

10 health myths

While this can of course cut the number you see on the scale, it also may mean that you might not be losing as much fat as you think you are.

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