Five health questions answered

We bust five of the most common health myths. Does cough medicine work? Is walking as healthy as running? Do eggs increase your cholesterol? Find out these answers and more.

Does cough medicine work?
Quick answer: No
Chest physicians have agreed that most over-the-counter cough medicine has little to no effect in stopping a cough. They contain codeine and dextromethorphan in such small amounts that the active ingredients have little chance of working. Only cough suppressants which contain certain antihistamines, such as brompheniramine, appear to be effective in relieving a cough.

Is walking as effective as running?
Quick answer: Yes
Studies have shown that the amount of time you spend exercising, rather than how hard you work, is more important when it comes to staying healthy. Running is simply more efficient than walking – you can burn more calories in less time. A six-year study published in the Journal of Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology found that walking at a moderate pace and running produced the same health results, as long as the same amount of exercise was expended.

Do eggs increase cholesterol levels?
Quick answer: No
Egg yolks may be high in cholesterol, but research has shown that saturated fat increases your cholesterol much more than eating foods which contain cholesterol. It is generally thought that healthy individuals with normal cholesterol should be able to enjoy eggs every day. Those with high cholesterol will need to negotiate eggs with their doctor or dietician.

Do whitening toothpastes whiten teeth more than regular toothpaste?
Quick answer: No
When you use an at-home whitening strip or gel, you are effectively bleaching your teeth into whiteness. Whitening toothpastes, on the other hand, simply contain peroxide and other strong abrasives which make your teeth appear whiter by removing stains. They do not actually change the colour of your teeth.

Do nuts cause weight-gain?
Quick answer: No
Although nuts can be up to 75 per cent fat, the fats they contain are healthy, and they keep you feeling full. Nuts are also a good source of protein and fibre. Just make sure you eat a healthy portion size – too much of anything can make you fat, as weight gain is mostly linked to portion size.

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