With a constant stream of contradictory health information coming your way, it’s tough to find the truth amidst the many myths. Internet articles, TV commercials and advice from friends can vary drastically when it comes to healthy tips. You have to remember that some health advice is based on preference and that there’s not always one answer to every question. However, there are some hard facts about health that are either ignored or unknown to the general public. While everyone’s health journey is different, it’s important to make sure you’re getting your health information from reliable sources. Below are few myths that still get labeled as truth:
Myth: Coffee is unhealthy.
Truth: For many years, consumers have been told to avoid coffee because of the caffeine. But, most studies actually show that coffee has a lot of benefits. It’s packed with antioxidants, and some studies show that drinking coffee can actually help lower the risk of Type 2 diabetes, gallstones and even some types of cancer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, several studies have consistently found that Parkinson’s disease is less common in people who drink coffee. However, coffee can easily become unhealthy by consuming too many cups or by increasing the use of sugar, cream or flavored syrups.
Myth: The less fat you consume, the better.
Truth: In order for the human body to survive, it needs macronutrients – proteins, carbohydrates and fats. That’s right. Your body needs fat to function! According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, adults ages 19 and older should have a diet that consists of 20 to 35 percent fat. Instead of reaching for the saturated and trans fats found in things like butter and many processed foods, go for healthy fats that are found in fish, avocados, certain oils and nuts. These good-for-you fats can help to rebuild cells in your body, produce needed hormones and give you energy.
Myth: You need to consume eight glasses of water every day.
Truth: Most healthy people consume about eight cups of fluid a day, both through their drinks and foods. According to Stanley Goldfarb, a University of Pennsylvania professor of medicine, he believes that the fact that healthy people naturally consume eight cups a day somehow got translated into telling people that they need to drink an extra eight glasses per day. You may get confused on your water intake because you’re unsure if sweetened drinks count as water. The answer is yes, your sweetened drinks still count as part of the water that your body is taking it. However, because sweetened drinks tend to have more calories, the CDC’s Rethink Your Drink campaign encourages you to swap out sweetened drinks for lower calorie drinks that will help with weight control.
Myth: Going outside with wet hair will cause you to catch a cold.
Truth: While you may actually feel physically cold when you go outside with wet hair, it won’t actually affect your immune system. According to Rachel Vreeman, M.D. and assistant professor of pediatrics at Indiana University School of Medicine, studies have debunked this myth.
“Scientists have studied this really well,” says Vreeman. “They’ve put cold viruses in the noses of two groups of people. One group was then exposed to cold/wet conditions, and people who were chilled were no more likely to get sick than those who weren’t.”
Being in the cold can deceive you because it dilates your blood vessels, making your nose run, but it still doesn’t actually cause you to catch a cold.
Myth: You can specifically target where your body burns fat.
Truth: You will burn body fat by working out, but you can’t actually target where you lose the fat from. A recent Women’s Health Magazine article revealed the results of proven research from 2013.
“In a new study published in Journal of Strength & Conditioning, 11 people completed a 12-week exercise program to train a single leg. Even though they only trained on one side, they lost about the same amount of body fat in each leg, and they burned even more body fat above the waist.”
Myth: Carbohydrates cause weight gain.
Truth: Not all carbs are bad for you. Most people believe that consuming carbs makes you gain weight, but in reality, your total calorie intake is what determines your weight and body fat percentage. Truth is, overeating anything can cause you to gain weight. It may seem like carbs are bad for you because you often see people lose weight on low-carb diets. But, in addition to those diets being low-carb, they also normally require a lower calorie intake. Carbohydrates are essential to feeling energized. In order to get a better understanding of how many carbs you should consume each day, visit ChooseMyPlate.gov for a tailored and balanced food plan. Try to reach for fiber-rich carbohydrates found in fruit and whole grains instead of refined carbohydrates found in white bread and pastries.
Myth: Lifting heavy weights will bulk you up.
Truth: This myth has particularly plagued woman as truth. But the facts speak louder; not only will lifting heavy not make you bulky, it will probably slim you down. According to a study done by Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, women who lift a heavier and more challenging weight for eight reps burn twice as many calories as women who do 15 reps with a lighter weight. While your scale might not always drop because muscle weighs more, your body fat and inches will, and you will probably see more results when looking in the mirror.
For the most accurate information, evaluate the articles that you find on the Internet by learning how current the information is, who runs the Web site and where the original source of the information comes from. Be sure to review your health questions and concerns with a medical professional for advice specifically tailored for you. In a world full of health myths, keep seeking the truth to become the best version of yourself.