WebMD produced a slide show on Dec. 14, 2015 titled “10 Health Myths Debunked.” This article will look at each area and see how well the experts are able to justify their claims to debunk health myths.
- Drink 8 glasses of water a day. WebMD suggests that we get plenty of water if we just drink when we are thirsty. According to the Mayo Clinic, the recommended volume of fluids is roughly two quarts for women and three quarts for men, depending upon exercise level and climate conditions. You may not be that thirsty.
- Eggs are bad for your heart. Authority Nutrition reports that eggs are among the most nutritious foods available, containing a wide range of vitamins and minerals. Eggs boost good cholesterol and provide proteins for better brain health. Egg whites are high in protein. Egg yolks are high in healthy fats, e.g. omega-3 fats.
- Antiperspirants cause breast cancer. The National Cancer Institute says that the chemicals in deodorants and antiperspirants are not linked to breast cancer. WebMD provides a guide to causes of breast cancer. There are genetic tests for the highest risk categories for breast cancer.
- Being cold gives you a cold. Being indoors where you can stay warm exposes you to bacteria and viruses that are not as robust as found in cold conditions. Colds are caused by one or more of the 200 known viruses related to cold symptoms according to Medicinenet.com.
- You need a multivitamin. While doctors and nutritionists suggest that our food should supply the essential nutrients, large factory farms that focus on a single product remove vital nutrients and trace elements from foods. A study was done that concluded taking a multiple vitamin shortens life. There are a limited number of substances in multivitamins that can be toxic if taken in high doses. These include vitamin E, B6, folic acid and trace minerals if taken in excessive dosages. Multivitamins do not approach toxic levels when taken without other supplements.
- Eat breakfast to lose weight. The thought behind eating breakfast to lose weight is that breakfast will reduce snacking later in the day. This “myth” makes sense in that snacks are denser in empty calories than foods like eggs, milk and cereals without sugar. Avoiding sugars and artificial sweeteners are important in losing weight.
- Green mucus means infection. Green or yellow mucus may mean an infection, but a lab test is the only accurate way to determine if there is an infection and the type of infection. Avoid the tendency to request an antibiotic for every cold, whatever the color of the mucus. There is an explanation of the contents of phlegm that cause colors other than white from Prime Health Channel.
- Sugar makes kids hyper. MedPage and other sources insists that this is a myth. Increases in blood sugar cause insulin to be excreted by the pancreas. The insulin metabolizes the sugar to produce energy at the cellular level. Readers that are parents will dispute that this is a myth. When sugar is added to strong coffee, adults get hyper.
- A toilet seat can make you sick. MedPage says that the floor, sinks and door knobs are more likely to contain E. coli, norovirus and influenza than the toilet seat. Washing your hands after using the bathroom is a key illness prevention measure. Using a paper towel to grab the door knob of a bathroom is also advisable.
- Cracking joints cause arthritis. Cracking the knuckles is caused by releasing gas trapped between the joints. People with arthritis that have severely deformed joints may not have the space for the gas that “pops”. For real causes of arthritis, the Mayo Clinic provides information on causes of the two primary types of arthritis, which are rheumatoid and osteoarthritis.
There are no major surprises in any of these myths with the exception of not keeping track of the water being consumed. Since water is the major vehicle for removing sugar, salt and other chemicals from the body, it is important that there is adequate water to absorb these materials. Water may create a feeling of fullness that lowers the amount of food consumed on a temporary basis. If you get advice on a symptom or cure for a disease, there are adequate resources on the web to get official opinions that are usually correct. When professional advice conflicts, as in whether saturated fats cause heart disease, make your own decisions. It is hard to go wrong on most things if you use common sense and moderation as your guide.