Health Myths Unmasked

In the dynamic field of nutritional science, people are coming up with new researches every passing day. Old myths are being debunked and new concepts are taking their place, turning the health world upside down. There are many baseless and ridiculous health claims and myths that are actually believed by most people. Here are some of the common and popular health related myths that are unmasked.

Health Myths Unmasked

Health Myth #1: Eating Fatty Food Will Make You Fat

It is a common view and belief that fat makes you fat. However, consuming fat in a moderate portion is a necessary part of a balanced diet. Becoming fat is associated with energy imbalance. That is, when you consume more calories than you burn. Since fat is a concentrated source of calories, it is hailed as solely responsible for becoming fat. But the fact is that weight gain can be a result of consuming any other food that is high on calorific value, like carbohydrate.

Health Myth #2: MSG Is Bad For You

Monosodium Glutamate is often considered as a silent killer, posing several health problems. However, there is no established proof to it. Some are allergic to this flavor enhancer and they can avoid it if it does not suit them. MSG is a marker of the fact that a food is highly processed.

Health Myth #3: Washing Your Hands In Warm Water Kills Germs

Since childhood we have learnt from our elders that washing hands in warm water is good, as it kills germs. This is what we even teach our kids. But, the fact is that in order to kill germs, the water will have to be in the temperature of 212 degree F that is the boiling point of water. Water can kill germs only when it is boiling hot, but the hot water that we use has an average temperature of 104 to 110 degree F. Hence, there is no way that it will be effective in killing germs. As long as you rub, scrub and wash hands properly and dry them using a clean towel, the temperature of the water does not matter.

Health Myth #4: Different Parts Of Your Tongue Taste Different Flavors

Since the study in 1901, by Harvard psychologist Edwin Boringt, a ‘tongue map’ has been commonly popular that different parts of the tongue is correlated to and associated with different flavors. However, the fact is that the entire tongue is able to distinguish different flavors and no particular part of the tongue is dedicated to or related with distinguishing a particular flavor.

Health Myth #5: Eggs Are Bad For Your Heart

The yolk in an egg has cholesterol and hence, it is commonly considered that eating eggs will increase heart diseases. However, the fact is that one or two eggs a day will not affect healthy people. It is not the cholesterol in one single food item, but the amount of cholesterol from a wide range of fatty food is what counts. Eggs on the other hand have healthy nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids that reduce the risk of heart disease.

Health Myth #6: Nosebleed Can Be Cured If You Tilt Your Head

Nosebleeds occur due to various reasons and it is a common practice in many people to tilt their heads backwards when they have nosebleeds. However, search has proven that tilting your head backward has no impact in curing nosebleed. Rather, it is more useful to sit up straight and tilt the head slightly forward to make sure that the blood does not run down the throat and get into the stomach, avoiding throat chokes and stomach upsets.

Health Myth #7: Daily Bowel Movement Is A Must

Many people consider the daily bowel movement as their sole concern and some even have the tendency to poop twice a day. However, the schedule of bowel movement has no parameter that will suit all and every individual has his/her own schedule that suits them only. As long as you are hydrated, exercise daily or be active and eat foods that are high in fiber, you are alright with your pooping schedule, even if you do not pass stool daily.

Health Myth #8: Antiperspirant Causes Breast Cancer

Many scientists as well as ordinary people think that antiperspirants and deodorants can cause breast cancer. They think that the chemicals found in these antiperspirants and deodorants are absorbed by the underarms and end up being settled in the breast, increasing the possibility of making tumors. However, the National Cancer Institute says there is no research result associated with this possibility.

Health Myth #9: Drinking 8 Glasses Of Water A Day Is A Must

Research studies have proven that drinking water when you are thirsty is more effective than drinking water just for the sake of meeting the need of drinking 8 glasses of water as per the common myth. When you drink water after getting thirsty, you will be able to stay hydrated and quenched for long. Counting the glasses is not needed, as long as your urine is not yellow in color.

Health Myth #10: Staying Out In Cold Will Give You A Cold

Many of us have grown up hearing to the possibility of falling sick if we stay outside when it is cold just above the freezing point or when the cold winds are blowing. However, the fact is that you are more likely to fall sick within the home, where the germs can easily get in, thrive and affect the human body. Staying out in the cold for any reason will increase the immunity of your body to fight viruses and stay healthy.

Health Myth #11: Toilet Seats Can Make You Sick

It is a common belief that toilet seats can make you fall sick or catch bacterial infection like E.Coli. However, it is the door of the toilet, handle of the door or the floors of the toilet that are covered with these bacteria. Hence, before opening the door or touching the handles, cover the hands with paper towel and then wash your hands thoroughly or use sanitizers.

Health Myth #12: Daily Intakes Of Multivitamin Pills Is A Must

Taking multivitamin pills is a common practice in many people, who think that they can compensate for the deficiency of vitamins that they do not get supplied from diets. If your doctor recommends it, then you must take it. Otherwise, it is always better to seek for the nutrients and vitamins from the regular diet by filling your diet with fruits, whole grains, vegetables and nuts.

Health Myth #13: Cracking Joints Can Cause Arthritis

Cracking joints is a habit that many people have and the snapping sound that releases is indeed a cause of annoyance in many people. But it is this sound that is the only harm that it can cause to other people and no other possible harm can be caused by this habit to your health. The belief that it might cause arthritis is a misconception. The sound is not caused by rubbing the joints against each other; it is the gas bubble that is formed in the bones that get released causing that sound. Hence, arthritis is not a possible result for this habit.

Health Myth #14: Red Meat Is Danger And Is Associated With Different Diseases

Although some studies have shown how red meat can cause a certain health problems, but in those studies, processed red meat were also included. However, larger studies have proven that if you eat unprocessed and lightly cooked (not overcooked) red meat, it has no association with possible increase in type 2 diabetes and heart diseases.

Health Myth #15: Gluten Is Evil For Weight Loss

Many people associate gluten-containing foods and diet as a hindrance to weight loss and gluten free foods and diets as a possible way of losing weight. However, gluten has no association with weight loss or gain. Some people are allergic to gluten and those who are, need to have a gluten free diet. Others can eat it without any worries. As for losing weight, they need to consider other proper diet plans.

Health Myth #16: Eating Proteins Build Muscle

This is an out and out misconception and proteins do not build muscle. You have to work out, exercise and be engaged in physical activity to build muscles. As for the diet, only a third of your plate or even a quarter of your diet can be filled with lean meat and fish and the body will build muscles accordingly, as you work out.

Health Myth #17: Reading In Dim Light Can Damage Your Eyes

Parents often ask their children not to read in dark room and in dim light. They think that it will damage the eyes. However, the fact is that the dark room and dim light can only strain your eyes and make them tired. They do not harm the eyes permanently. The kids are able to cope with this dim light, but as you grow old, you feel the strain more.

Health Myth #18: Low Fat Foods Are Healthy For You

Low fat foods are healthy in terms of the fact that they will reduce the fat contents in your body. However, they taste so horrible that the manufacturers often add a whole lot of sugar to it. This ruins all the health contents of the food and it is as harmful for your health as eating highly fatty foods.

Health Myth #19: Alcohol Is Good For You

A little amount of alcohol consumption has some amount of benefits on your health. However, daily consumption and consuming more than one serving of the alcohol will counteract to the health contents.

Health Myth #20: Fresh And Organic Is Always Better Than Frozen

There are no studies that have proven that organic is better than commercially grown crops. Although the amount of Vitamin C is more in organic produce, the conventionally grown crops are no less healthy. Sometimes, fresh produce experience exposure to air, water and heat, causing much damage to their nutrients and freshness, when they are transported from the fields to the market. However, the frozen produce can be easier and affordable when the fresh produce is not available in abundance or are too expensive to buy.

It is always useful that you get the right amount of knowledge before you consider any information regarding health and diet as true and fact. Health should not be dealt believing on myths, but rather on facts.

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:April 15, 2019

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