Health Myths That Just Won’t Die

6 minute read

By Christopher Brown

Science has come a long way since the days of the tape-worm diet. Unfortunately, we’re still waiting for the “old wives” to catch up. Fortunately, you can learn everything you need to know about health myths with a search online right now.

Although the scientific method has debunked a truckload of crack-pot health and wellness myths, the ghost of their existence persists. Today on Healthversed, we’re going to do our very best to finally lay these 20 health myths to rest. Let’s go!

Cracking Your Knuckles is Bad

You probably know someone who holds fast to the claim that cracking your knuckles causes arthritis. It’s simply not true. It may be annoying or even gross to some, but there is absolutely no scientific connection between cracking your knuckles and developing arthritis later in life. That’s just not how arthritis works!

A Heart Attack is Always Painful

This popular health myth can actually be quite dangerous. The thing is, heart attacks occur in varying degrees and can present symptoms of varying severity. What may feel like heartburn or vague chest discomfort could actually be a heart attack. Heart attacks aren’t always immediately debilitating or painful. Know your symptoms and don’t be afraid to call 911 if you feel that it might be necessary.

You Lose 90% of Your Body Heat Through Your Head

As kids, we’re always cautioned to wear a hat when we go outside in cold weather. A warm hat is your best protection against frigid winter temperatures, after all. While a hat sure does keep you warm, a jacket is important too. Heat escapes your body via any unclothed body part. Put simply, a big warm hat and only a big warm hat isn’t going to keep you warm forever.

Sitting Too Close to the TV Ruins Your Vision

Sorry grandma, but sitting too close to the television doesn’t cause permanent damage to your eyesight. Although, there is a morsel of truth in this one. Sitting too close to the screen can cause fatigue in the muscles that surround your eye, so it’s recommended that you sit at least 1.5 meters away from the tube.

You Must Wait an Hour After Eating to Jump in the Pool

We were honestly shocked that people actually still believed this one. The belief maintains that swimming directly after eating will cause your muscles to cramp up. This is completely false. Muscle cramps have no link to a full stomach, and nobody has ever drowned as a result of swimming on a full stomach.

You Can Determine the Sex of a Fetus by Looking at the Mother’s Belly

No. No, you can’t.

It’s a common baby shower claim. A male fetus sits low, a female fetus sits high and how dare you say anything different. Let’s just set the record straight. This theory has no actual basis in fact. None whatsoever. Want to know the sex of your baby? That’s what ultrasounds are for.

Breaking the Seal Means You’ll Have to Pee All Night

Do you find yourself stumbling back and forth between your table and the bathroom over the course of a long night at the bar? Well, that’s because you’re consuming a lot of liquid. And liquid makes you pee. And, as it turns out, holding it in until you can’t take it anymore doesn’t magically reduce the amount of liquid in your bladder. Only peeing does that.

Vegetarian Diets Lack Protein

This theory doesn’t hold much weight anymore either. The grocery store is chock full of plant-based protein sources. Seeds, nuts, beans, and soy products are all adequate protein supplements for those that live meatless. That said, if you’re considering a plant-based dietary shift, consult a nutritionist. It can be overwhelming without the proper guidance.

Fresh is Always More Nutritious

Just because it’s never been frozen, doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily “fresh.” Fruit and veggies that have been sitting out on the counter can be less nutritious than flash frozen produce. It’s all relative. Fresh, frozen … don’t stress! You’re eating vegetables! You definitely deserve a gold star.

A Vegetarian Diet is Always Healthier

Carving meat out of your diet doesn’t necessarily guarantee you a healthy lifestyle. In many cases, maintaining a healthy vegetarian diet requires more vigilance. There are plenty of meatless junk food options available at your local grocery store. Yes, cutting out meat can be a healthy lifestyle. But cutting out sweets are a good start too.

All Vegetable Oils Are Good For Your Heart

If only the world were that simple. Unfortunately, not all vegetable oils are created equally. Extra virgin olive oil, peanut oil, and canola oil all promote heart health. Palm oil, coconut oil, and palm kernel oils? Not so much. We know, staying on top of your diet can feel unnecessarily complicated. Don’t be afraid to reach out to seek guidance from a nutritionist near you.

Beer Before Liquor …

Spoiler alert, rhyming can’t prevent a hangover. Binge drinking alcohol will make you feel sick, regardless of the order that you consume it. Some say that carbonated drinks metabolize faster, some say that straight shots of liquor metabolize better than beer on an empty stomach. But there is no empirical, scientific evidence to support the age-old claim.

Eating After 8 p.m. Causes Weight Gain

Scaling back the nighttime snacking is a healthy decision. But this whole 8 p.m. deadline thing? That’s just an arbitrary number. It’s not as if your metabolism punches out and heads home at 8 p.m. For most of us, 8 p.m. is when we start to wind down and relax. And it’s this eating chips on the couch thing that leads to weight gain.

The 5-Second Rule

Sorry bro, your floor pizza is covered in bacteria. In fact, bacteria can contaminate food almost instantaneously. So no, your five-second buffer is a fraud. Drop the slice.

Organic Food is More Nutritious

For those unaware, food can only be considered organic if it’s grown/raised in a renewable way and is processed with no artificial methods. The restrictions can vary from country to country, but what doesn’t change is the food’s actual nutritional value. From a dietary perspective, an apple is an apple. Whether it’s produced using artificial methods or not.

Turkey Makes You Sleepy

Passing out on the couch with an undone belt buckle and a belly full of turkey is all part of the Thanksgiving experience. But the cause of your food-induced drowsiness, as it turns out, has absolutely nothing to do with the bird’s abundance of tryptophan. You see, tryptophan can be found in a ton of other foods that don’t make you sleepy. So, it’s not the turkey’s fault. It’s more likely the alcohol and the abundance of food cause your eyelids to feel heavy.

Being Cold Can Give You a Cold

Grandma’s always told us that running out in the dead of winter coatless, or with wet hair, will cause a runny nose and a sore throat. The thing is, your grandma isn’t a doctor. If she was, she would have known that the theory is bogus. You can’t catch a cold by refusing to layer up. Only a cold virus can do that.

Coffee Stunts Your Growth

You can’t blame your long standing coffee addiction for being vertically challenged either. At least, so says Smithsonian magazine. There has never been a scientific link between coffee consumption and bone density in children. Much of the myth can be attributed to an old ad for the coffee alternative Postum. Advertising … you can take our sports, but you can’t take our coffee.

Chocolate is an Aphrodisiac

There’s a reason Valentine’s Day is associated with chocolate. For a long time, many believed that the consumption of sweets and chocolate could enhance your libido. Again, not so. Science has yet to discover a connection between the delicious cacao treats and sex.

Your Blood Turns Blue when Starved of Oxygen

This myth is an easy one to fall for. Just look down at the veins in your wrist. They clearly aren’t red. But, that’s because you’re viewing them through many layers of tissue. Your blood is red. It always has been red and it always will be red.

Christopher Brown