24 Health 'Facts' That Are Actually Wrong

Gwyneth Paltrow's lifestyle brand 'Goop' has been criticized for promoting pseudoscientific ideas like detoxing cleanses.Jason Merritt / Getty

19. Starve a fever, feed a cold.

There's a good reason you may have heard this said multiple ways, either "starve a cold, feed a fever" or "starve a fever, feed a cold."

Despite a slew of headlines claiming that starving a fever wasn't a myth in response to a tiny and largely misinterpreted study in 2002, there's no real evidence to back this up. Limiting your caloric consumption may actually hurt your immune system more than helping it, and it would certainly be a bad idea to not eat during the 6-8 day duration of a cold.

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Instead, doctors say to go ahead and eat if you can. The more accurate expression, as Scientific American notes, would be "feed a cold, feed a fever." And make sure to get plenty of fluids.
20. It's fine to drink sports drinks to rehydrate.


We all know that soda and similarly sugary drinks like lemonade are bad for us (right?), but what about sports drinks like Gatorade or Powerade? Sports-focused advertising has successfully convinced a whole lot of people that downing a bottle of this stuff is fine, especially if you've gone for a jog recently — it's replacing electrolytes, after all.

But really, for most people the amount of sugar in these drinks is far more than is needed — even if you've been exercising. Lower calorie options, which many of the same companies have created in recent years, are much better options. Or just drink water.
21. Coffee and beer dehydrate you, since caffeine and alcohol are diuretics.

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In sufficient quantities, caffeine and alcohol can have a diuretic effect. But the amount of caffeine in a typical cup of coffee or alcohol in a beer isn't enough to really have this effect, according to one recent study. A moderate amount of either coffee or beer hydrates people just about as well as water does.

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