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

Skye Gould/Tech Insider

MYTH: Your microwave can give you cancer and disrupt your pacemaker.

Microwave radiation won't cause cancer, it just heats food up.

Only a few types of radiation cause cancer, and these depend on the dose. Radiation from the sun can cause skin cancer, for example, but just enough helps your body make Vitamin D, too.

Microwaves also won't disrupt a pacemaker. However, things like anti-theft systems, metal detectors, powerful refrigerator magnets, mobile phones, and even headphones can mess with the heartbeat-keeping devices.

Sources: Cancer Research UK, American Heart Association

MYTH: Drugs make "holes" in your brain.

That doesn't mean drugs are good for your brain.

Many drugs (illicit and otherwise) can significantly alter your brain's structure and disrupt its function. But none will turn a healthy brain into a stack of Swiss cheese.

Sources: Business Insider, Scientific American

MYTH: You need to wait an hour after eating to swim or you can cramp and drown.

The theory behind this seems to be that digesting food will draw blood to your stomach, meaning that less blood is available for your muscles, making them more likely to cramp.

But there's no evidence to support this claim.

In fact, many sources say there are no documented cases of anyone ever drowning because they've had a cramp related to swimming with a full stomach.

Cramps do happen frequently when swimming, but they aren't caused by what's in your stomach. If you do get one, the best policy is to float for a minute and let it pass.

Sources: Business Insider, Washington Post, TodayIFoundOut.com

MYTH: Taking your vitamins will keep you healthy.

Flickr

Vitamins sound like a great idea: One pill that can provide you everything you need to be healthy!

If only they worked.

Decades of research on vitamins hasn't found any justification for our multivitamin habit, and in some cases, vitamins have actually been associated with an increased risk of various cancers.

Sources: Business Insider, Scientific American

MYTH: Everyone should drink eight glasses of water a day.

Hydration is very important, but the idea that eight glasses of water is essential is a strange one.

In healthy people, researchers have not found any connection between fluid intake and kidney disease, heart disease, sodium levels, or skin quality.

But water is a calorie-free alternative to other beverages (especially sugary ones like soda or sports drinks), and people who drink water instead of those beverages consume fewer calories overall.

A good rule is to drink when you're thirsty — you don't need to count the glasses.

Source: Business Insider, FiveThirtyEight, Nutrition Reviews

MYTH: Carbonated water isn't as hydrating as flat water.

Just because water is fizzy and refreshing doesn't mean it's bad for you.

In one of many studies that bust this myth, researchers made men bike on several occasions until they sweated off 4% of their body weight — then immediately handed them a drink.

One time the cyclists got flat water, another time carbonated water, yet another sugar water, and during a final trial everyone drank carbonated sugar water.

The results? Carbonation did not make any difference when it came to rehydrating.

Source: International Journal of Sports Medicine

MYTH: Yogurt will help put your digestive system back in order.

Yogurt is often marketed as helping digestion and slimming our figure because of probiotics — the idea that "good bacteria" living in the yogurt will shack up in our guts.

Bacteria are well-connected to our metabolism and obesity rates, among other things, so the connection seems logical.

However, we don't yet understand how the millions of bacteria already in our bodies work together, let alone when yogurt is added into the mix.

This is not to say that yogurt is unhealthy, just that its benefits are oversold. Keep in mind, though, that a lot of yogurt is packed with sugar, which we do know contributes to obesity and other problems — so if you enjoy the dairy product, find some that isn't full of empty calories.

Sources: Business Insider, Tech Insider

MYTH: You lose 90% of your body heat through your head.

Not really.

You lose body heat through anything that's uncovered, and your head is more likely to be exposed than other areas of your body.

"Most of the time when we're outside in the cold, we're clothed," Dr. Richard Ingebretsen told WebMD Magazine. "If you don't have a hat on, you lose heat through your head, just as you would lose heat through your legs if you were wearing shorts."

Sources: Business Insider,"Don't Swallow Your Gum!: Myths, Half-Truths, and Outright Lies About Your Body and Health," WedMD Magazine

MYTH: Breaking the seal means you'll have to pee more all night.

Alcohol is a diuretic, so it's already going to make you pee a lot.

"Breaking the seal" the first time will not increase the amount of times you have to go to the bathroom — but drinking lots of alcohol will.

Source: Business Insider

MYTH: You can cure a hangover by drinking more.

Flickr/Viewminder

The "hair of the dog" is a myth — a mimosa or Bloody Mary in the morning won't make you feel better. At best, you're just prolonging the hangover.

Same goes for coffee after a night of drinking. Like alcohol, coffee is a diuretic, so it will dehydrate your body even more and likely prolong the hangover.

Source: Business Insider

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