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You MUST drink 8 glasses of water every day; coffee can stunt childhood development; cracking your knuckles can cause arthritis; eating before bed makes you overweight and so many other health myths, that the list is almost endless.
With almost everyone playing doctor, science and facts are almost all the time overlooked, so it's perhaps not surprising that some things would get misstated or misrepresented.
The ease of information accessibility has contributed to the new world of 'WhatsApp doctors' and 'Facebook health experts,' who give out their opinions (which is fine but please FACT CHECK is really important here) on anything and everything. In most cases, these 'health advice' do not work or worse, have severe side effects.
So, Boldsky wants to help you understand the right and wrong health myths that are all around us. Take a look.
Myth 1: You Must Drink 8 Glasses Of Water A Day
This is something we all have heard. It is quite often said that if you drink less than 8 glasses of water per day, it will adversely affect your health. Doctors say that it is not necessary to count the cups of water you drink. The human body is capable of many things, and just because you did not meet the 8 glasses target, the body is not going to shut down.
Many of the foods we eat on a regular basis already contain water, such as soup, fruit, and vegetables and drinks like juice, tea, and coffee, which of all help you get your fill of daily water requirement . Experts add a healthy person can meet their daily water needs by drinking when thirsty and drinking with meals.
Note: You may have to drink more water if your urine is dark yellow, you are very active, or you live in a hot climate.
Myth 2: Deodorants Can Cause Cancer
Deo, especially antiperspirants, have been said to cause cancer. Some studies have even pointed out that the chemicals found in antiperspirants and deodorants can be absorbed through your underarm and end up in breast tissue, developing tumours. However, the claim was dismissed by the National Cancer Institute .
Myth 3: Eat Breakfast For Weight Loss
Not entirely true. When you eat breakfast, it reduces hunger levels throughout the day and prevents random eating . Just because you eat breakfast, you are not going to lose weight. Skipping breakfast may help some healthy people lose weight (and not all).
Myth 4: Eggs Are Bad For Your Heart
Eating an egg or two a day will not raise heart disease risk in healthy people . Yes, eggs have cholesterol, but the amount found in any one food is not as bad for you as the mix of unhealthy foods you eat.
Myth 5: Sugar Can Make Kids Hyper
Sugar is not healthy for kids, but it does not necessarily make them ‘act out.' It is a common narrative that eating too much sugar can cause a sugar rush, and cause kids to behave badly (lack of focus, skipping homework). However, studies have found that sugar does not seem to promote hyperactive behaviour in kids .
Myth 6: Cracking Your Fingers Causes Arthritis
No, it will not. Arthritis develops when the cartilage within the joint breaks, which allows the bones to rub together (causing the pain) . When you crack your knuckles, you are pulling your joints apart, and this stretch causes an air bubble to form in the fluid, which then pops with a sound. While this habit alone will not cause arthritis, persistent cracking can damage the synovial membrane (connective tissue) and result in swelling and minor weakening of bones .
Myth 7: Getting Out With Wet Hair Makes You Sick
Spending time in the cold is not going to make you sick. If you go outside in cold weather, with or without wet clothes or hair, there is no increased risk of catching a cold. Colds develop due to viruses, and viruses can be spread regardless of the weather . But if you already have the cold virus lying dormant in your body, this may increase the risk of developing symptoms.
Myth 8: Dirty Toilet Seats Can Transmit STDs
Using the toilet outside of house is usually a nightmare for the majority of us. While most public toilets are straight out of a horror movie, it is highly unlikely that you will get a sexually transmitted disease (STD) from using one. Some studies have pointed out that there while there is a chance that viruses, bacteria, or parasites can enter your body, the likelihood of developing an STD is extremely low .
Note: Cover your hand with a paper towel before you touch doors or handles and wash your hands afterwards.
Myth 9: Green Mucus = Infection
Studies show that green or yellow mucus is slightly more common in certain bacterial infections, but it is not a sure sign that you have an infection . A sinus infection can cause clear mucus, and a common cold can turn it green, so green mucus necessarily does not mean infection.
Myth 10: Coffee Can Stunt Childhood Development
We are not sure where this assumption began, maybe someone who intensely disliked coffee. Anyway, numerous studies have pointed out that there is no link between coffee consumption and impaired growth in children .
Myth 11: Eating Before Bed Makes You Overweight
No, it does not. If you are feeling hungry before bed, do not starve yourself in fear of unwanted weight gain. Have a small protein-packed snack before bed to help improve your metabolism and not adversely affect your weight .
Myth 12: Sunblock Is Only Needed When The Sun's Out
A big no. Irrespective of the weather, applying sun protection all year round can help your skin from any damage and improve skin quality as well.
Myth 13: The Bigger You Are, The Less Healthy You Are
It is common (and ignorant) to link weight and health. The common misconception that being big or fat means someone is unhealthy is outdated, and it is time you learn that the body size of an individual is not an indicator of their overall health . It is important that we stop focusing on weight, and instead focus on genetic predisposition combined with positive health behaviours (eating habits, exercise, sleep etc.)
Myth 14: You Should Be Working Out At Least An Hour A Day
Regular exercise is important and has its health benefits but fitting in a workout every single day is not often feasible (or even recommended) . Keep in mind that any activity is good activity even if it is a 15-minute walk. Exercise should be fun and a positive part of your day, not something that would want to make you hate yourself.
Myth 15: Weight Training Makes You Bulky And Manly
No. Somewhat of a male-centric narrative, this myth has caused women to stay away from weights. But doctors point out that as women cannot naturally produce as much testosterone as males do, it is impossible for a woman to gain huge amounts of muscle mass by merely working out using weights .
On A Final Note…
It is important to be aware of what is right and what is misleading and wrong. From fad diets to instant disease cures, there are plenty of health myths out there. While we have helped you with most of the common health myths out there, always keep an eye out and fact check the information.