It’s time to bust some health myths out of the water. For too long many of us have trusted catchy medical phrases – remember when we were told smoking was healthy – and ignored the facts. Here are our top 9 health myths busted and explained. And we warn you, some may surprise.
1. Cracking your knuckles leads to arthritis
Despite this age-old myth instilling fear into the hearts of knuckle-crackers everywhere, recent studies have failed to find any correlation between the habit and arthritis. Older studies that suggested a correlation had relied on questionable data collected from individuals based on memory, meaning the results were unreliable. So despite the sickening sound, crack away.
2. You need to drink eight glasses of water a day
That’s right, dermatologist Neal Schultz has confirmed that drinking when you feel thirsty is enough to keep you hydrated. However, while there’s no need to chase the elusive eight cups a day, recognising when you’re thirsty may still prove to be a challenge. Many people mistake thirst for hunger or other cravings, so make sure you do drink regularly.
3. A flu shot can give you the flu
No, getting a flu shot cannot give you the flu. The shot contains a dead or inactive virus so that your immune system can form antibodies against it. These float around in the body until they come into contact with the influenza virus again, allowing your body’s response to be fast and effective. At most, people may experience minor effects such as a low-grade fever or aches in the days after the vaccination, but that’s about it.
4. Carrots improve your eyesight
A healthy snack? Yes. A substitute for your glasses? Sadly, no. This myth was promoted by the British during World War II, when they insisted they fed their soldiers carrots to give them ‘night vision’. This story was concocted to conceal new top-secret radar technology that allowed the British to pinpoint German planes at night. It’s an interesting story, but we can stop the rabbit diet in a bid to improve our eyesight.
5. Deodorant causes cancer
While the original theory about chemicals leaching into the skin and collecting in breast tissue sounded convincing at the time, we have since discovered there is no link between the two. The fears were that using deodorant after shaving might allow chemicals to enter the body if the razor has cut the skin. But the only harm that might occur when using deodorant after shaving (with an old and dirty razor) is skin irritation.
6. Going gluten free will help you lose weight
‘Gluten-free’ is a major irrational trend, and it’s time we left it in the past. In terms of health, gluten is only a problem for people with coeliac disease and for those who have non-celiac gluten sensitivities. While it’s true that cutting gluten out of your diet can lead to short term weight loss, cutting out any major food group would have a similar result, and that’s not necessarily sustainable nor good for your health.
7. If you work out, you can eat whatever you want
So can I eat this tub of ice cream because I walked the dog around the block earlier? Sadly, no. Have you ever heard the saying, ‘you can’t run away from a bad diet’? Well, research shows it’s true. Weight management relies predominantly on diet, and we often underestimate how many calories there are in junk foods, and how many calories we can burn in a workout. Sure, exercise can burn fat, but it doesn’t remove all the bad things you put into your body. For long-term health and weight maintenance, ensuring you eat well is the most important factor.
8. Addiction is a choice
Let’s get this one sorted and packed away with the rest of history’s old, misinformed and false beliefs. Addiction is a chronic brain disease that impacts an individual’s impulse control and decision-making abilities. Approximately one in 20 Aussies will suffer from an addiction or substance abuse problem and should be treated and supported as any other ill person should. It is not down to a lack of self-control at all.
9. Eggs are bad for your heart
It’s time to boil this myth alive. The fear that eggs will increase our blood cholesterol can – finally – be put to rest! It’s not the eggs but what you eat with them that can affect your health negatively. Healthy adults can eat eggs without any significant risk and stand to gain a number of health benefits including a lowered risk of heart disease. According to the Heart Foundation, eggs contain good quality protein and are a source of healthy fats including omega-3 fats.
So you can sit down with your omelette knowing it’s doing you good.
Visit Reader’s Digest for a more extensive list.
How many of these shocked you? Which ones have we missed?
Disclaimer: This article contains general information about health issues and is not advice. For health advice, consult your medical practitioner.