Health myths have been around for years and have tempted us to eat and drink all sorts of new concoctions in a bid to stay healthy. However, many of those myths have now been debunked.
We’ve all been there – you read something in a magazine and take it to be absolute truth, only to find out later that it wasn’t actually factually correct. We wanted to set the record straight by bringing you the top health myths that have now been debunked. Take a look…
Drinking 8 Cups Of Water A Day Is Good For You
Okay, so this one is based in some truth – water is obviously super healthy and does wonders for the skin and metabolism. However, what the health reports failed to tell us is that they don’t actually know how much we have to drink to stay healthy.
It differs for men and women – so the 8 cups rule is a little too generic – and depends on how much food, alcohol and caffeine you consume too. So, although drinking water is good for you, we can’t say for sure that 8 cups is the magic number.
Organic Food Is Better For You
This health myth has been debunked because although organic food is thought to be ‘cleaner,’ often it’s not. People were drawn to organic food during the organic food revolution as they were told it would clean their system and save them from nasty toxins.
What the reports failed to mention is that organic farmers are still able to use toxins and chemicals that are ‘naturally derived.’ So although organic food was thought to be better for us, it could actually contain the same number of toxins.
Egg Yolk Is Bad For You
Remember the trend of people only eating egg whites in an attempt to lower their cholesterol and protect their hearts from the dangerous egg yolk? Whilst there is some truth in the fact that eggs contain cholesterol, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re bad for your heart.
This natural product contains good fats which can contribute to healthy cholesterol levels, and although it’s not a good idea to eat too many eggs, they are a great source of protein when eaten in moderation. They also contain Omega-3s that are great for your heart. So don’t ditch the best-tasting part of eggs!
You Need To Take Multivitamins
We’re not telling you to go to the medicine cupboard and get rid of any multivitamins, but the reality is that most multivitamins aren’t that useful. The modern diet is so varied and rich in fruit and vegetables that all of the vitamins that you need can be consumed naturally.
If you’re a vegan, you will need to take vitamins to replace the animal fats that are missing from your diet, but these are pretty much the only sub-group who NEED to take them. In other cases they’re pretty much a placebo that often goes straight through you, giving you nothing but very expensive urine.
Coffee Is Bad For You
Great news for coffee lovers everywhere — this health myth has been debunked! In fact, quite the opposite is true! Coffee, when drank in moderation, is actually really good for you. People used to think that coffee was bad for their heart, metabolism and even mental health, but the opposite has been proven to be true.
The benefits of coffee include a lower risk of diabetes, plus a lower risk of Alzheimers and Parkinson’s disease. Coffee is also packed full of antioxidants. Cup of coffee anyone?
Being Cold Gives You A Cold
This one is hotly debated, because sometimes in colder climates it can feel like it’s easier to catch a cold. Your nose starts running, you feel chilly and unwell and generally, the cold weather just gets us all a bit down.
However, studies have shown that there is actually no correlation between being cold and getting ill. In fact, the opposite may be true. Colder temperatures are thought to boost the immune system and promote virus-fighting cells. It’s actually warmer temperatures that encourage illnesses to spread, so there’s no need to avoid the cold for fear of catching a cold!
Never Skip Breakfast
The myth used to be that if you skip breakfast, you will gain weight. The thinking behind it was that when we eat breakfast we are literally breaking a fast, which means that we kick start the metabolism and help our bodies get going for the day.
Whilst this is true, losing or gaining weight is more closely associated with a calorie surplus and deficit. No matter what you do, ultimately if you consume fewer calories you will lose weight. This means that by skipping breakfast you will save around 400 calories and potentially shed some pounds. Myth debunked! Admittedly, this is still hotly debated.
Fruit Makes You Lose Weight
It’s true — fruit isn’t the best weight loss trick. The idea that fruit is good for you is partly true and partly false. Fruit is obviously amazing for you when eaten in moderation and as part of a healthy diet. It’s full of healthy vitamins and nutrients that keep the body happy.
However, fruits are also very high in sugar, and sometimes calories too. So if you’re trying to lose weight, adding fruit to your diet isn’t always the best move despite it being hailed as one of the healthiest options you can eat.
Avocado Is Super Healthy
As with all of these myths, there is some truth and some myth. Avocado is full of healthy fats that are great for hair, skin, nails and heart health. However, it is also very high in fat and calories which isn’t always the best option for someone on a diet.
It’s not that it’s unhealthy, but it’s more that people aren’t aware of the high-fat content because of how it’s been marketed as the ultimate health food. So for those who eat avocado every day but don’t see a change in their weight – this health myth could explain your predicament.
Natural Sugar Is Better For You
It’s true that natural sugar does contain less processing and chemicals. However, whilst swapping your white sugar for honey or agave syrup might seem healthier, it actually will often contain the same amount of sugar and calories.
Natural sugar is still high in energy and calories and therefore takes a lot more time to burn off compared to other nutrients. As a result, natural sugars can still cause excess weight gain due to a calorie surplus. They may be less refined, but the effect on your health and diet is still the same as eating non-natural sugars.
Bread Is Bad For You
For years people have slated bread as a high-carb, fattening product that should be avoided at all costs. Whilst white bread isn’t particularly high in nutrients and could be considered ‘bad’ for you, it’s brown counterpart is actually rather healthy.
High in grains, fiber and often enriched with extra nutrients, brown bread can be a great addition to your diet. As with most foods, the less processed it is the better it is for you, but the moral of the story is that bread consumed in moderation is not bad for you. Rejoice carb lovers everywhere!
Granola Is A Health Food
When Granola first graced our tables we were told that is was a healthy cereal alternative that would give us more energy and increased health benefits. How wrong the experts were on this one!
Granola is super delicious and does contain oats which are really good for you, however, it also contains a LOT of sugar and calories. Alongside this, many of us eat way more granola than we should. The average serving size on the side of the packet is 30g, but most of us will easily consume 50-60g for breakfast.
Fat Is Bad For You
The low-fat diet had it’s hey-day in the late 90s and early 00s when the skinny look was in and we all thought that in order to be skinny we had to eat less fat. It turns out that thought process was totally wrong!
In fact, it’s almost the opposite. The more fat you eat, the more fat you burn as your body becomes less concerned about storing needed fat. Hence, when we include replacing saturated fats with healthy fats in our diets (avocado, nuts, oily fish, etc.) we have a better chance of burning fat.
Starving Yourself Helps You Lose Weight
This myth is wildly inaccurate and has been blasted by health professionals the world over. Whilst eating fewer calories does make you lose weight, eating nothing at all can have the opposite effect.
Not only will your body be literally starving – meaning that you will be tired, grouchy, and weak – your metabolism will slow down and you will find it harder to lose weight. Plus, when you start eating normally again the weight will pile on and often people end up in a worse position then they were before. Avoid this myth at all costs!
Bottled Water Is Healthier
The bottled water companies want you to believe that their water is derived from the freshest, most natural source and is better for you than the regular water that comes out of the tap. This might be true in a country where the water is dirty (in which case stick to bottled water!), but it’s not true in most western countries.
In fact, plastic bottles have been proven to contain toxic chemicals that can be released when they are left in sunlight. Moreover, plastic bottles are bad for the environment and are not healthier for the planet on the whole.
Sit Ups Give You A 6-Pack
Sadly, this is not true. This health myth had us all crunching for hours in the gym, trying to achieve that washboard ab stomach. However, disappointingly, sit-ups and crunches won’t give you abs.
Having abs is actually much more to do with your diet than any exercise. In order to have ab muscles that show you will need to have a body fat percentage that’s low enough to reveal stomach tone. Doing exercise to build those muscles will help them grow under the layer of fat, but to get the abs to protrude you will need to achieve a low-fat percentage that no amount of sit-ups can give you.
A Nightcap Helps You Sleep
Back in the day, long before sleeping tablets and camomile tea, having a quick nightcap before bed used to knock people off to sleep and give them the impression that alcohol was good for slumber time.
This health myth is completely false. Whilst enjoying a drink might help you fall to sleep, the actual sleep quality is a lot poorer, resulting in feeling less rested and a lot more tired. Instead of an old fashioned nightcap, try a camomile tea, bedtime bath, and a tech detox right before you hit the sack.
Gluten Free Foods Are Healthier
The gluten-free trend has taken off in recent years, meaning that people have been eating gluten-free foods when they’re not actually gluten intolerant. They’re doing this because they think it’s healthier, however, gluten-free products are often more refined and processed.
Of course, if you have a gluten allergy or sensitivity, then gluten-free foods will be a million times better for you. However, if you’re not allergic and are simply eating gluten-free because you think it’s healthier, the reality is that it’s probably more processed and potentially bad for you.
Drinking Is Bad For You
First things first, drinking excessively is obviously not very healthy. However, red wine has been proven to aid heart health, boost immunity and even help with weight loss.
Whilst drinking too much red wine will actually have the opposite effect and increase the risk of a heart attack and stroke, having a glass a day could be really healthy for you. Red wine thins blood and increases good cholesterol, due to a chemical that is found in the grape skin called Resveratrol. Malbec and Pinot Noir contain the highest amount of this compound so all the more reason to raise a glass!
The Skinnier You Are The Healthier You Are
Our culture has an obsession with health, fitness and, thinness which makes many people think that the skinnier you are, the healthier you are. This is simply not true.
A lot of our weight depends on the natural build of our body, and therefore you could be a naturally thin person who smokes a pack a day alongside a terrible diet, in which case your probably not that healthy. Likewise, you could be larger but incredibly fit and strong and have a great diet. Don’t stress if you’re not a size zero if you live a generally healthy lifestyle. Your natural genetics can also play a big part in your overall health.