7 Bad Health Habits That Are Worse Than You Think
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You already know these habits are bad. But like any bad habit, it’s easy to justify and make excuses for them — except maybe when you learn just how bad these habits really are:
Although there are contradicting studies about this, it is generally accepted in the medical field that skipping meals is not a good health habit to have – especially if you’re trying to lose weight. Why? Well your body can be a bit of a drama queen, and every time you skip a meal, it assumes that you’ll never eat again and that you’re going to starve! When your body goes into this “starvation mode,” it holds on to any nutrients you ingest, which in turn makes it harder for you to burn fat.
Also according to a study on overweight women by the University of Colorado School of Medicine, subjects who were used to eating in the mornings and then skipped breakfast had the most adverse effects than their “usual breakfast-skipper” counterparts. In other words, overweight women who were used to skipping breakfast did not have as many adverse effects, because this is what their body was used to. The women who were used to eating breakfast, on the other hand, became hungrier and experienced a larger spike in insulin when they ate lunch and later meals. So basically if you’re trying to lose weight by skipping a meal, you’re fooling yourself, because you’ll probably just end up eating more during the rest of your day out of sheer hunger.
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After a long day of sitting in front of your computer at work, what do you do when you get home? Sit on the couch to rest? Well, your mind might be tired, but your body has basically been inactive all day! And that’s not good. Why? Well believe it or not, our bodies were not made to sit all day. If they were, our butts would be made of the same skin and tissue that we have on the soles of our feet. Gross!
According to new research, prolonged sitting – even for mostly active people – raises risks of cancer, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and death earlier in life. It was found that regular physical activity only reduced these risks by 30% if the person still sat for hours at a time. So to reduce those risks further, it’s preferable to not only get daily exercise but to minimize time spent sitting in the same position. Your best bet: move around, stretch, take a walk, use the stairs or get a standing work station.
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Did you know that added sugars make up at least 10% of the calories in the average American’s daily food intake? Some even go as far as consuming 25% of their daily calories in added sugar. It makes sense when you remember how delicious sugar is – hello, triple chocolate brownies!
Studies have shown that sugar can be even more addictive than cocaine, which is one of the reasons why we can never seem to eat enough. The problem is that sugar actually wreaks havoc on our bodies: it sends our insulin levels soaring, destroys our dental health, provides next to nothing in terms of nutritional value, effectively depriving our bodies of the vitamins and nutrients that it needs to stay healthy.
What’s even more alarming is that sugar, especially the processed kind and its alternatives, are in almost all prepared foods nowadays, making it especially difficult to avoid.
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Not Eating Your Vegetables
Green stuff: who needs it?! Everyone, apparently. As mentioned earlier, if you’re eating sugar for most of your carbohydrates, you’re missing out on many vitamins and nutrients in your diet. In fact, vegetables contain so many things that your body needs to survive.
These essential vitamins and nutrients include (depending on the veggies, of course):
- B vitamins
- Vitamin C
- Folic acid
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Skipping Your Routine Check-Up
Ok so we all know going to the doctor’s for our regular check-up is important but we also know what a pain in the butt it can be – sometimes literally! Now what if going for that check-up bought you another 20 healthy years because you caught a potentially life-threatening condition early enough?
Here are a few conditions that can be caught early thanks to some simple blood tests:
- Coronary disease
- Heart disease
- Kidney malfunction
- Overactive or underactive thyroid
- Low testosterone (for men, obviously!)
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Although the most known side-effect of heavy alcohol consumption is kidney disease, there are actually many other ways in which heavy drinking can be hazardous to your health. Habitual heavy drinking can cause anemia, cancer, cardiovascular disease, dementia and depression. It is also known to trigger seizures in people who do not otherwise suffer from epilepsy. Heavy drinking suppresses the immune system and can make us vulnerable to a number of infectious diseases including pneumonia and sexually transmitted diseases. The latter also probably have a lot to do with the risky behaviour in which drunk people tend to engage.
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Not Brushing Your Teeth
It’s a hard truth to swallow (pun intended) but it seems your dentist is totally right when he recommends you brush your teeth more often. Sorry, but it turns out the health risks of not brushing your teeth enough are actually quite scary! We already know about cavities, gingivitis and going toothless, but did you know that skipping out on dental health can lead to heart disease and dementia? It seems that poor dental hygiene compromises the immune system and in the long-term, can lead to chronic inflammation. If the body is constantly in overdrive trying to fend off infection and inflammation, it can lead to cell damage throughout the body, which is bad news in any case. Chronic inflammation is known to cause illnesses such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s, stroke and cancer.
If those things don’t scare you into brushing more, good luck living to a healthy old age!
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