Ask Away...: It's Time To Stop Believing These Health Myths!

Friday, July 14, 2017

It's Time To Stop Believing These Health Myths!

Do you remember when you were a kid and your mother would tell you that if you ate all of your carrots you'd be able to see in the dark? How about this, do you remember the day you realized that that was a complete a total lie that she used just to get you to eat your veggies? Sure, it might have been a pretty convincing argument when you were six, but it doesn't take much to realize that carrots probably don't contain some kind of magical ingredient that makes you see in the dark. And yet, while that might have been a pretty obvious one, it makes you wonder: how many other facts about health do you believe that don't contain a word of truth? Well, it turns out that far more of the most common health "facts" are actually total myths with no bearing in reality whatsoever. To help you avoid falling into the same trap as so many others, here are some of the most common health myths debunked!

"You need to drink eight glasses of water a day."

abstract, clear, close-up

Now, there is a major issue in a lot of societies that people simply aren't drinking enough water; there's no doubt about that. People are drinking more and more sugary drinks, coffee, tea, and alcohol, all of which can actually cause you to become more dehydrated. However, that doesn't mean that you need to make sure that you're obsessively drinking eight glasses of water every single day. So how much should you be drinking? Well, it's actually incredibly simple: just drink when you're thirsty! That's right; it's as simple as that. In reality, if you're drinking when you're thirsty as well as eating foods like fruits and vegetables that have a lot of water in them then you're going to be just fine. Heck, even things like tea and coffee can help to a degree as long as you're not drinking them exclusively.

"Don't eat before you go to bed."

This is yet another one that you probably heard from your parents when you were growing up. They would tell you that you couldn't have a snack at bedtime because it was going to make you sick and put on weight. But it turns out that, as with many things your parents told you when you were a kid, that's not quite true. Now, eating before you go to bed can be pretty bad for you, but the key is no that you're eating, it's what you're eating. A lot of people assume that you shouldn't eat before bed because you're not going to burn any of the calories that you take in, so you just end up storing them up. In reality, while you sleep your body is working incredibly hard, burning calories and repairing itself to get ready for the next day. Having something like casein protein before bed can actually be incredibly helpful in making that process more efficient and effective. As long as you're steering clear of junk food and fatty snacks and sticking to things that are high in protein, there's no harm in having a little bite to eat before you go to bed.

"Being cold makes you catch a cold."

christmas, coffee, cold

This seems to be one that is almost entirely based on the fact that the name of the illness is a "cold." Sadly, no matter what your Grandma might have told you, wrapping up in a scarf is not going to protect you from the germs that cause the common cold. Plenty of studies have been conducted that show that people who spent time in near freezing temperatures had increased levels of virus fighting activity in their bodies. In reality, the real danger is staying indoors. Places like your home or your workplace are much more likely to be the sorts of environments where germs can happily spread.

"Sugar makes you hyperactive."

Ask any parent, and they will tell you some kind of horror story about the time that their child had a few too many sugary sweets and they completely lost their minds. It's one of the most common rules when raising young children that if you give them sugar, they will become hyperactive and uncontrollable. And yet, it's not true. This might come as a serious shock to a lot of people, but there is zero evidence to suggest that sugar makes children hyperactive. In fact, most of the studies that have been conducted actually show that the only real change is in the parent's perceptions. If a parent is aware that their child has had some kind of sugary snack, then they often become hyper-aware of whatever their child is doing and are much more likely to become worried or tense about their behavior. Of course, that's not to say that sugar is good for your children by any means. It just means that you can perhaps relax a little if your child has an extra cupcake at their friend’s birthday party.

"Cracking your knuckles causes arthritis."

Human Fist

If there's one thing that we can all agree on it's the fact that cracking your knuckles is pretty gross. It makes people's skin crawl, and it's not likely to win you many friends. However, one thing that it most certainly does not do is cause arthritis. A doctor named Donald Unger cracked the knuckles of his left hand every single day for over sixty years while leaving the knuckles on his right hand completely alone. No signs of arthritis presented themselves in either hand during that entire sixty year period. So if you're really dedicated to cracking your knuckles, then you don't have to worry about the state of your health. However, that doesn't mean that people are going to want to be around you if you're constantly doing it.

"A base tan prevents sunburn."

Look, it doesn't matter how great your tan makes you look, that doesn't mean that it's good for you! A suntan is the first sign of the damage that the sun is doing to your skin. The increased levels of melanin in your skin don't provide much extra protection at all. Not only that but tanning significantly increases your risk of skin cancer as well as premature aging of your skin. The best thing to do is to make sure that you're always covered in a decent layer of sunscreen that's at least SPF 30 if not higher every single time you go out in the sun. However, it is important that you get at least a little bit of exposure to the sun in order to help your body produce vitamin D., But the amount of exposure required is so small that you certainly shouldn't be getting any tanning effects from it.

"Vaccines cause autism."

Vaccination, Doctor, Syringe, Medical, Bless You

This is the big one. Many of the health myths on this list are more about educating people and preventing you from worrying too much about your health when you need to. Few of these myths are actively harmful. However, the idea that vaccines on children cause autism, or that they are harmful in any way, is one that needs to be purged from society as quickly as possible. To make this perfectly clear:, there is no evidence whatsoever to suggest that vaccinations cause autism. The idea that they did was presented by a British scientist in the 1980s, and his finding has been widely disproven by the scientific community time and time again. One of the fears that many parents have is that vaccines contain mercury which could poison their children. However, the form of mercury found in Thimerosal, which was used in vaccines, was a naturally occurring kind and not the harmful variety. And even if it had been harmful, Thimerosal hasn't been used in vaccines since 2002. The reality is that if you don't vaccinate your children, then you're putting them, and other children, in serious danger. You're making them vulnerable to the illnesses that other children are immune to as well as potentially causing them to spread those diseases to children who are unable to be vaccinated for health reasons. It is so important that you vaccinate your children, even if seeing them getting an injection isn't the most pleasant experience in the world. A few minutes of discomfort is a small price to pay for their overall health, right?

Now, this is certainly not meant to be an attack on anyone who ever believed any of these things. It's simply meant to show you that it's not always a good idea to believe everything you hear. We live in a world that is constantly connected, and it's now easier than ever to simply look something up to find out if it's true or not. So the next time you hear someone spouting any kind of "health fact," why not do a quick google search and find out for yourself if there's any research that backs it up. At the very least you could well end up saving yourself a fair amount of money on useless superfoods and ineffective supplements.

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  1. These are all good points. We, as people, tend to jump on a bandwagon and believe something without solid credentials or studies. It's okay to be cautious about your health but don't get so caught up in it that you don't actually live life.

    1. Yes, you have to stay neutral as much as possible


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