10 Of The Most Popular Health Myths Debunked
Due largely to the amount of accessible information at our fingertips through social media and the Internet, many people read and accept misinformation as facts. The rise in fad diets and dietary supplements also contributes toward uncertainties regarding what aspects of health and nutrition are actually important.
Don’t spend hundreds of dollars on Arbonne supplements and Herbalife dietary products or sacrifice food to “detox” your body for a whole week straight. Instead, check out these 10 popular health myths debunked here by science and start living a more healthy and wholesome lifestyle naturally!
1. “Detoxing” Kickstarts Your Weight Loss
One of the most ridiculous health myths out there today is that your body needs to be detoxed. I’m sorry to be the one to tell you, but if you have a working liver and kidneys, then your body is constantly detoxifying itself without the need for any detox teas, pills, or other supplements that promise to kickstart your weight loss.
If you’ve noticed, many “detox plans” require you to eat extremely healthy foods and avoid caffeine, sugar, carbs, alcohol, dairy, and everything processed during the duration of your detox. If you lose weight by doing this, it isn’t because of the detox supplement you’re taking; it’s because you’re consciously eating healthier and cutting out those unhealthy foods that turn into fat.
2. Low-Fat Diets Are The Most Effective For Weight Loss
Dietary fat is essential for your overall health, and many of the foods that are high in fat contain essential nutrients that will actually speed up your metabolism, lower your risk of certain diseases, and keep you energized throughout the day. In fact, low-fat diets have been linked to a greater risk of metabolic syndrome and heart disease.
As long as the high-fat foods you’re eating contain other nutrients, like avocados, nuts, seeds, coconut oil, and olive oil, then you’re actually improving your health as well as your chances of achieving your goal weight. Like anything else, just don’t eat high-fat foods in excess amounts.
3. Sugar Should be Avoided at All Costs
There are countless myths surrounding sugar, but the reality is that natural sugar is important for brain health. Sugar found in fruits, maple syrup, honey, and all other natural foods is beneficial to your overall health. However, refined and added sugars are not processed by the brain as nourishment and thus turn into fat.
Natural sugar also isn’t linked to diabetes, but excess consumption of processed sugary foods can lead to weight gain, which can ultimately lead to diabetes.
4. Gluten is Bad
Everything you’ve heard about the benefits of a gluten-free diet is specific to people who have a gluten allergy or intolerance. If you’re not allergic to gluten, it is absolutely not detrimental to your health or weight. In fact, gluten can lower your risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and help you avoid consuming excess calories.
Many foods marked as “gluten-free” have substituted less healthy ingredients in gluten’s place, including toxic chemicals and processed sugars.
5. Weight Training is Only For Getting “Ripped.”
One of the most detrimental and least realistic health myths out there is that you should avoid lifting weights unless you want to bulk up. I promise you won’t turn into a bodybuilder overnight if you do bicep curls and tricep dips with 5-pound dumbbells.
Weightlifting is important because stronger muscles protect your bones more efficiently, and muscle burns fat even during rest. Weightlifting also increases your metabolism, reduces your risk of injury, and increases your endurance, which is extremely helpful for cardio activities. Women only produce 5–10% the amount of testosterone that men produce. It takes extreme dedication and a lot of time for women to reach a physical state where they could be considered “bulky.”
6. The More You Exercise, The Worse You Can Eat
Exercise doesn’t necessarily cancel out the caloric intake. Regardless of how much you eat and how much you exercise, you must burn more calories than you’re consuming to maintain or lose weight. For instance, if you burn 300 calories during a workout session and then eat a 1,200-calorie Western Bacon Cheeseburger from Carl’s Jr. for dinner, you’re still 900 calories in the hole.
Fatty foods are problematic for your body to digest and will slow down your metabolism. However, suppose you’re eating healthy fats, carbs and limiting your sugar intake to a reasonable degree. In that case, frequent exercise will absolutely keep your body burning off excess calories at rest.
7. You Must Drink At Least 8 Glasses of Water Per Day
There is no specific amount of water that anyone should be drinking each day. One reason is that many foods and beverages contain water and contribute toward hydrating your body. There is also no scientific evidence that claims healthy people become more healthy by drinking more water. It’s definitely possible to not drink enough water, which can cause symptoms of dehydration and other short- or long-term health issues.
The bottom line is you should drink water throughout the day. Drink water when you exercise, when you eat, and whenever you feel thirsty. But you’re not going to see any adverse health effects if you don’t drink 8 glasses a day, so feel free to stop trying!
8. Skipping Breakfast Makes You Lose Less Weight
Science has proven that skipping breakfast does not have adverse effects on your weight or overall health. Eating breakfast also does not kick-start your metabolism, as some fad diets claim. Your body does not monitor how or when you consume food; it is only affected by the total amount of food consumed throughout the day.
This myth is popular because people who skip breakfast often tend to overeat at their next meal because they’re starving. Overeating at any time of the day causes your stomach to expand, which is where the weight gain happens.
9. Healthy Foods Are Too Expensive
Many people avoid eating healthy because they believe healthy foods are more expensive than unhealthy foods. This is just not the case. Let me give you an example. The week before I decided to start eating healthier a couple years ago, I had spent over $200 at the grocery store on processed and packaged food. My shopping items included chips, soda, meat substitutes, ice cream, and canned goods. The next week, I planned out my meals and loaded up my shopping cart with fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, and beans for a whopping $75.
Meat, dairy, and fish are among the most expensive grocery items. In contrast, plant proteins, vegetables, and fruits average out to a fraction of the price. Sure, a pre-made salad from Panera Bread or Whole Foods could run up to $15 in total. Still, a homemade salad with more vegetables and nutrients than a store-bought salad will average around a few bucks. If you prepare your own healthy meals, you’ll be saving a lot more in the long run.
10. Avoid Carbs to Lose Weight
Carbs are turned into energy, and they’re essential for all diets. So hop off the keto train because it’s not sustainable, and it’s not going to give you those amazing results you’re after. However, you should avoid bad carbs if you’re looking to improve your health and maintain a healthy weight.
Many people believe carbs are bad because the foods they’re eating that are high in carbs are also high in calories, fat, and sugar. Good carbs, such as cucumbers, nuts, and whole grains, are digested slowly and used as energy for several hours. Bad carbs, like processed foods, processed grains, and pastries, are rapidly digested and cause a spike in blood sugar, making your body store more fat and increases your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.
How have these 10 debunked health myths helped you implement more healthy and sustainable lifestyle choices? Comment your thoughts below!
Featured image source: https://www.luxeva.com/2019/06/simple-tips-that-will-help-you-lead-a-healthy-lifestyle/
Jamie graduated from Cal Poly Pomona in 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts in English. She is an aspiring writer, professional editor/proofreader, and piano player. In her free time, Jamie enjoys reading classic literary works, composing music, and playing Xbox with her husband!