It’s time to bury these health myths

We’ve all heard these medical maxims, but how many are garbage?

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? 

Related articles:
Old wives’ tales that are actually true
Top three hearing myths explained
Your nose can sniff out bad health

Disclaimer: This article contains general information about health issues and is not advice. For health advice, consult your medical practitioner.

 [HH1]Edit this if final myth is deleted from list.


    To make a comment, please register or login
    Karl Marx
    21st Jan 2019
    Addiction is a choice lol, try living with a addict whether it be, drugs, alcohol, gambling etc & see if they have a choice in their compulsion. They can't even comprehend the damage they do to others in the process
    21st Jan 2019
    Yes they should be supported but it is their choice in getting better. Sadly, some just don’t want help or to change
    21st Jan 2019
    Eggs are good for your heart? Seriously? The latest scientific evidence backed by world renowned nutritionists and cardio surgeons say the complete opposite (US Fed court ruled the deceitful use of studies BY the egg board and to not use any words related to 'health' on cartons) Liz Gardiner, author of this article is a 22 yr old Art student...any medical credentials Liz or is the 'disclaimer' at the end of your article stating it's just 'advice' not to be taken seriously good enough. You link the Heart Foundation of Aus, the same organisation that's criticised for conflict of interests by nutritional experts and professional dietitians for endorsing The Heart Tick labelling, your home country Canada stopped such programs used by the Heart and Stroke foundation for endorsing misleading info. It's time to bury these egg health myths, and I agree on that point.
    21st Jan 2019
    Going gluten free does not lead to weight loss.

    What leads to weight loss is the cutting out of low nutritional value foods (that happen to contain gluten) such as cakes, biscuits, pastas and breads etc. Replacing these with the gluten free equivalents will not see a drop on the scales. In fact gluten free products are more likely to lead to more weight gain along with wildly fluctuating blood-sugar levels and inability to sate hunger due to poor nutritional profile including low fibre and protein levels and high sugar.

    21st Jan 2019
    A lot of nasty, judgmental people condemn addicts and will never recognize addiction as a disease. Yes, it's a choice to seek treatment, but it IS a disease, and it's one that can be hard to treat successfully.
    Karl Marx
    21st Jan 2019
    OGR, agree, it is a disease & it ruins a lot more lives not just the addict. Unless you have lived through it it's very hard to understand

    21st Jan 2019
    As for the water - I've argued this endlessly. I've also pointed out that drinking lots of water while exercising can be counter-productive if the goal of the exercise is to lose weight. Of course one should drink enough to be adequately hydrated, but the habit of carrying water bottles everywhere and sucking on them constantly is not healthy.

    I tried the recommended eight glasses a day and it made me quite ill!
    21st Jan 2019
    A gluten free diet eliminates grains but is high in carbohydrates.
    For an insulin resistance diet it is basically gluten free, high protein, low carbohydrates (inc. sugars), limited amount of fruit but you have to eat fat on meat etc. to prevent constipation. I lost weight by my cholestoral jumped so high within 3 weeks it's a wonder I didn't have a stroke or heart attack. I was never told by the nutritionist you take a much less stricter version of the diet after 6 weeks. I could have got kidney or liver damage had I persisted with it for too long.
    22nd Jan 2019
    A low carb diet is not a grain free diet nor is it a gluten free diet. Gluten is NOT in all grain for a start. This current obsession with gluten free diets is detrimental to health long term if you have not been diagnosed with coeliac disease which is not an allergy but an autoimmune disease. It has nothing to do with diabetes either.
    21st Jan 2019
    It's what we eat with eggs is the biggest problem. The rich level of protein and good fats in eggs eaten alone outweighs the small amount of bad fats that are supposed to be in eggs

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