49 Health "Facts" You've Been Told All Your Life That Are Totally Wrong

Skye Gould/Tech Insider

MYTH: Sugar and chocolates are aphrodisiacs.

In the mid 19th century — before sugar purportedly caused diabetes or hyperactivity — sugar was thought to ignite sexual desire in women, children, and, more controversially, the poor.

One vintage Kellogg advertisement even claimed "Candies, spices, cinnamon, cloves, peppermint, and all strong essences powerfully excited the genital organs and lead to the [solitary vice]."

So don't get worked up over sugar. There's little to no evidence to support the notion that it — or any food, including chocolates — stimulates sexual desire.

Sources: Business Insider, Mayo Clinic

MYTH: Sugar causes hyperactivity in children.

Numerous scientific studies have tried and failed to find any evidence that supports this off-the-wall notion.

The myth probably emerged in 1974, when Dr. William Crook wrote a letter to the American Academy of Pediatrics, which published it. "Only in the past three years have I become aware that sugar ... is a leading cause of hyperactivity," the letter stated.

A letter does not include the rigorous scientific research that a paper does, and according to the National Institute of Mental Health: "The idea that refined sugar causes ADHD or makes symptoms worse is popular, but more research discounts this theory than supports it."

Sources: University of Arkansas for Medial Sciences, Business Insider, NIH

MYTH: Your blood turns blue when it's out of oxygen.

Your blood is never blue: It turns dark red when it's not carrying oxygen.

Blood only looks blue because you are seeing it through several layers of tissue, which filters the color.

Source: UCSB ScienceLine

MYTH: Humans have five senses.

Sight, smell, taste, hearing, and touch are just the beginning.

Don't forget about balance, temperature, and time, as well as proprioception — the body awareness that helps us not walk into things all the time — and nociception, our sense of pain.

Source: Business Insider

MYTH: The hymen is a sheet of tissue that blocks a women's vagina.

content-1522669384-myth-the-hymen-is-a-s
Flickr / CarbonNYC

Wrong.

Guys, the hymen is a thin membrane that only partially blocks the vaginal opening — if a woman is born with one at all.

Also, plenty of activities other than sex can stretch or damage the hymen, including exercise or inserting a tampon.

Sources: Columbia University, College Humor

MYTH: Eating a lot of carrots gives you great night vision.sd

Vitamin A is a major nutrient found in carrots, and it is good for the health of your eyes — especially those with poor vision. But eating a bunch of the vegetables won't give your all-seeing superpowers.

The myth is thought to have started during as a piece of British propaganda during World War II. That government wanted to secret the existence of a radar technology that allowed its bomber pilots to attack in the night.

Source: Tech Insider, Smithsonian Magazine

MYTH: Pregnancy gives you "baby brain" and makes you dumb.

Studies on this turn up mixed results, at best.

Some studies on changes to working memory during pregnancy do show a small effect on the brain, though other studies show no negative impacts whatsoever.

There's actually growing evidence that being pregnant makes women more organized and smarter, at least, according to a study on rats.

It makes sense, though, since pregnant women and new mothers have a lot more to worry about and think about — for their brains to keep up they may even be getting a boost.

Sources: Dr. Myra Wick/Mayo Clinic, New Scientist

MYTH: Hair and nails keep growing after death.

Hair and fingernails do not keep growing once someone dies.

Instead, the skin dries out and shrinks, giving the appearance of further growth.

Sources: Lecture Notes: Dermatology, Tech Insider

MYTH: Humans can't grow new brain cells.

You are not born with all of the brain cells you will ever have.

There is plenty of evidence that the brain continues to produce new cells in at least a few brain regions well into adulthood, through a process called neurogenesis.

Source: The Scientist

MYTH: It takes 7 years for gum to digest if you swallow it.

flickr user: sembrandogirasoles

Nope.

Gum is mostly indigestible, but the occasional swallowed piece will pass through your intestines and exit the other side, just like anything else you eat that your body doesn't need and can't digest.

The only cases where swallowed gum has caused a problem is when that gum is swallowed along with other things that shouldn't be in your stomach.

Scientific American cites a case where a 4-year-old girl suffered a gastrointestinal blockage — from a wad of gum with four coins inside of it.

Sources: Business Insider, Scientific American

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