Updated: May 21
Don’t believe everything you read (or watch) on the internet! Despite the rigor of evidence-based medicine (CDC, anyone?), some seemingly based medical advice is constantly circulating the world wide web. So today, I’m going to be busting these myths and providing you with some real and medically trusted info. (Note: In no way, shape, or form, does this substitute for medical advice given or prescribed by a doctor. This is general info that may not be applicable to everyone. Before trying anything new, please confer with your doctor. I, nor is anyone else on the internet, a doctor.) That being said, let’s just get started.
1. “Egg yolks are bad for you”
Ever since a 1968 recommendation that eggs contain bad cholesterol, and that you shouldn’t eat more than 3 of them in a week, eggs have gotten a real bad rap. In reality however, eggs contain a lot of good cholesterol that actually counteract bad cholesterol. So, an egg a day keeps the doctor away...?
2. “Carrots give you night vision”
I could understand how this one started because carrots do contain vitamin A which is vital in improving eye health, but not so much as to give you night vision. See (no pun intended), when you look at stuff the eye is reflecting and refracting light on the object you’re looking at. Without light, you literally cannot see. The rumor might have started back during WW2, when false info about how they Ally powers shot down German forces was distributed to prevent people from finding out that new radar technologies were adopted. That rumor definitely was successful!
3. “Bottled water is better for you then tap”
Although some bad experiences with tap water have definitely led to serious health consequences, tap water is healthy and safe most of the time. And despite how much bottled water companies may promote their health consequences, there is no proven evidence that bottled water is better than tap water. And no, despite how many conspiracy theories you have seen circulating the internet, in no way, shape, or form, does the government add fluoride to the government water.
4. “Stopping exercise turns your muscles into fat”
In reality, muscle and fat are two totally different types of tissue. What happens many times when people stop their exercising routine, is that they lose their muscles (use it or lose it, you know) and they usually stop their healthy diets as well. So, their bad eating habits combined with lower metabolism (due to inactivity) and lower muscles mass leads to the impression of “muscles turning into fat,” when in reality it’s the loss of muscle with the accumulation of fat.
5. “You should remove sugar entirely from your diet.”
When people start dieting, the first thing they cut out most of the time is sugar. What people don’t understand however is that the use of sugar isn’t the problem, it’s the misuse of it. There are two types of sugar; natural and refined. Natural sugars are found in fruits, vegetables, dairy products (such as yogurts and milk), and even grains. These are completely healthy and natural (as the name suggests) and should be consumed to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Sugars that should be avoided or eaten in moderation include refined sugars, which were processed in a factory and extracted from sugar canes or sugar beets. Refined sugars are usually found in sweets, soda, sugary cereal, flavored yogurts, and sport drinks. Reminder to consult with your doctor before starting any new diet or workout program.
6. “Exercising at night ruins your health”
This isn’t true for everyone. Late 1900’s exercise professionals spread the news that late night exercise caused changes in sleep schedules, usually not for good. However, that's very outdated. Researchers have now found out that when you exercise has no impact on your sleep schedule whatsoever. For some people however, exercising before bed can actually result in better sleep. In conclusion, exercise is really important; just make sure to find the best time for you, whether it be before the sun rises, or after dinner.
7. “Organic foods are better for your health”
The evidence on this one is really limited. Organic foods have tighter regulations than conventional farming practices, for example limiting the use of synthetic pesticides. Just because this difference exists however, doesn’t mean that organic foods are more nutritious. Also, researchers found that people who ate organic foods didn’t live longer or healthier lives; they only had less of chance of synthetic pesticide exposure (which is surprisingly a thing.) The clinical implications for this are very unclear, but hopefully more research is conducted and we get a clear outcome.
8. “Microwaves cause cancer”
Microwaves are used to heat food, nothing more, nothing less. And despite all those sci-fi movies where the bad guy uses microwaves to manipulate someone’s brain, that’s just not true, and neither can microwaves give you cancer. Although they do use electromagnetic radiation, it’s not known to give you cancer, because it can’t alter the structure of your cells, and it’s also the same radiation that you’re exposed to when using your phone. Plus the radiation in microwaves is contained within the walls of the appliance, and its use + standards are strictly regulated by the FDA.
9. “Cold weather causes colds”
The common cold is a virus, and just cold weather cannot give you a virus. However, the frequency of acquiring colds does increase in the winter due to many reasons. People spend more time indoors when it's cold out, so viruses can spread more easily in close quarters. Viruses also spread more easily through dry air, and cold weather can temporarily impair your immune system. So, the next time your parents tell you to wear a hat and scarf in the winter time, you’re better off just listening to them.
10. “Seniors do not need much sleep”
Sleep difficulties and insomnia can worsen and become more of a challenge as we age, but the idea that the elderly doesn’t need as much sleep is a myth. The amount of sleep required for wellbeing and energy varies between individuals but stays relatively the same throughout life. The sleep required in your mid 20s is pretty much the same sleep required during old age. If you are a part of my elderly audience and think you are getting less sleep than you need, schedule an appointment with your doctor and they may be able to give you medication.
11. “Seniors should not exercise”
The idea that as we age, physical activity becomes less important or even dangerous has been around for many years. This is not that surprising, as in some cases it is advisable to reduce high impact or vigorous exercise in later life. This is particularly true if there is a high risk of falls or injury in the specific physical activity. But, that’s not a reason to live a sedentary lifestyle, especially in our golden years. Remaining physically active is a great way to end strong, and prevent physical and mental issues as we age. However, it is important that the individual chooses an exercise routine that is safe, comfortable, and appropriate for their age, fitness level, and health status. Consult with a doctor for a good exercise routine and/or program.
12. “The cleanliness of my home does not affect my health”
How many times has your mom gone on about how a messy house is ruining her vibe? Well, turns out she was actually on the right track. Although it’s hard to maintain a clean, tidy, home with all the demands of work and supporting our family, turns out that a clean-living space can help prevent physical health complications, as well as improve our mental and emotional wellbeing.
13. “If my unhealthy habits haven’t caused disease by now, there is no point in quitting”
Despite all we now know about the risks of certain behaviors such as smoking cigarettes or excessive alcohol consumption, there are some who resist the idea of change, especially the elderly. They may be averse to quitting these bad habits, under the mentality that it hasn’t hurt them so far, so it won’t hurt them at all. This couldn’t be farther from the truth, because smoke can be really damaging in the long run, and it can take years for the symptoms to be apparent. Also, smokers’ health improves from the second they quit. It’s not too late!
So that’s all for today’s health myths, but I do have one more trick up my sleeve. You might have noticed that this post contains 13 myths. Well then… ever heard that 13 was an unlucky number? The earliest piece of evidence of the unlucky usage of the number 13 was in the Code of Hammurabi, one of the world’s oldest legal documents from one of the first civilizations. This code lists rules that citizens must follow, but it skips the number 13. Although this probably just a clerical error, probably from one of the earliest translators, people want to believe that this was for a reason. Another reason 13 is considered unlucky is because of the number before it, 12. 12 was considered a perfect number, especially in ancient times. For example, there are 12 months in a calendar year, 12 hours on a clock face, 12 eggs in a pack, and 12 is the typical number of members in a court jury. Because of this, it was said that 13 was weird and unusual. But honestly though, there is no hard evidence that 13 is an unlucky number; it is mainly just legends and stories passed down generation after generation. So, rest easy, knowing that my use of the number 13 was not a coincidence (or a symbol of bad luck), just a chance for me to add some more content and prove my point ;)
So normally, I just use CDC or a government website(s), that normally have all info I need, but since this is definitely more of a fun post, I couldn’t get all of them from a completely trusted website. I did read all of the below websites thoroughly, and without excluding any important info (kind of like how rumors start), and I even cross checked my info with other sources. If you would like more info, definitely check out these websites and see where they got their evidence. If you’re not a very tech savvy individual, feel free to ask your doctor for any medical advice.
Thanks for reading!
https://www.webmd.com/balance/ss/slideshow-10-health-myths-debunked https://www.cnet.com/health/common-health-myths-you-need-to-stop-believing-right-now/ https://www.homage.com.au/resources/health-myths-debunked/ https://www.history.com/news/whats-so-unlucky-about-the-number-13 https://www.history.com/topics/folklore/friday-the-13th