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10 Most Persistent Health Myths and Why They’re False

by Patricia West
fact checked by Rachel Jones

Like urban legends, health myths have a peculiar knack for sticking around. Whether it’s an old wives’ tale or misinterpreted advice, these myths often persist despite contrary evidence. In this article, we’ll embark on a myth-busting journey, debunking ten of the most persistent health myths. So, let’s roll up our sleeves and dive into the world of health misconceptions.

Related: Top 10 Failed Fad Diets

10 The Myth: “You Can’t ‘Sweat Out’ Toxins During Exercise”

Why You Can’t Really Sweat Out Toxins

The age-old belief is that a good workout can magically release toxins like a sweaty sponge. I hate to burst your detox bubble, but you can’t sweat out all those weekend indulgences. While sweating does help cool your body and shed a few pounds of water weight, it’s not a detox superhero.

Here’s the science: Sweat mainly consists of water, salt, and other minerals. Toxins? Not so much. Your liver and kidneys are the true MVPs for detoxification, breaking down and eliminating waste from your body.

So, while that hot yoga class might leave you feeling Zen, it’s not purging your system of toxins. If only life were that simple! Hydrating, eating well, and supporting your body’s natural detox processes with a balanced lifestyle are the real keys to a toxin-free existence.

Next time someone insists that a brutal spin class is a spa day for your insides, just smile and remember: your liver is the real star of the detox show. Cheers to keeping it real and letting the sweat do what it does best—cool you down and make you feel like a fitness champ!

9 The Myth: “Eating Carbs at Night Makes You Gain Weight”

Can Eating Carbs at Night Make You Gain Weight?

Forget the midnight snack guilt trip! The notion that eating carbs at night is a one-way ticket to packing on pounds is nothing more than a myth waiting to be debunked. So, dim the lights, grab your favorite comfort food, and let’s unravel this bedtime story.

Contrary to popular belief, your body doesn’t turn into a carb-hoarding gremlin after sunset. The key to weight management isn’t the clock but total caloric intake throughout the day. Your body doesn’t have a built-in sundial, signaling fat storage after 6 pm.

In fact, consuming carbs at night might actually be a smart move. Carbohydrates promote the release of serotonin, the “feel-good” neurotransmitter that could double as your sleep fairy godmother. A happy tummy equals a happy snooze. Sweet dreams, carb enthusiasts!

8 The Myth: “Cracking Your Knuckles Causes Arthritis”

Does Cracking Your Knuckles Cause Arthritis?

Oh, the sweet symphony of knuckle cracking—the urban legend that suggests it’s a one-way ticket to arthritis. Well, fear not, fellow knuckle enthusiasts, because this myth is as cracked as the joints themselves!

Contrary to popular belief, no scientific evidence links the delightful pop-pop-pop of knuckle cracking to the development of arthritis. In fact, studies have shown that the habit is more like a harmless percussion ensemble than a sinister precursor to joint doom.

When you crack your knuckles, you’re releasing gas bubbles that build up in the synovial fluid—a lubricant that helps your joints move smoothly. It’s like giving your fingers a tiny round of applause for a job well done, not a secret handshake with arthritis.

7 The Myth: “Eight Glasses of Water a Day for Everyone”

Why you don’t need 8 glasses of water a day | Body Stuff with Dr. Jen Gunter | TED

We’ve all heard the advice of guzzling down eight glasses of water a day. Some of us might even be carrying around a water jug the size of a small swimming pool to meet the quota. But let’s splash some truth on this hydration myth.

Firstly, our hydration needs are as unique as our taste in Netflix shows. The one-size-fits-all eight-glass rule is as accurate as predicting the weather with a crystal ball. Our bodies are smart—they tell us when they’re thirsty, and it’s not always a strict eight-glass memo.

Moreover, did our ancestors carry water bottles around as they roamed the savannah? Probably not. The idea that our bodies need a daily water chugathon has about as much scientific support as a conspiracy theory from a distant uncle.

So sip skeptically, my friends. Hydration is essential, but there’s no need to drown yourself in water like you’re auditioning for a mermaid role. Pay attention to your body’s signals, and remember, it’s okay to enjoy a cup of coffee or tea—they count toward your fluid intake, too!

6 The Myth: “Being Cold Gives You a Cold”

Myth: Being Cold Gives You A Cold

The belief that being cold gives you a cold is like blaming the rain for making your hair frizzy. But fear not, my chilly comrades, because this myth is as frosty as an ice cream cone in Antarctica.

Contrary to popular belief, catching a cold isn’t a game of tag with the winter breeze. Colds are caused by viruses, not by shivering in the cold like a penguin caught in a snowstorm. So, the next time someone insists that your runny nose is the direct result of that chilly wind, politely inform them that viruses, not temperature, are the real party crashers.

Sure, being cold might make you uncomfortable, but it won’t summon the common cold virus like a frosty magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat. So, bundle up in that cozy sweater, embrace the winter wonderland, and let the viruses know they’re not invited to your cold-weather fiesta.

5 The Myth: “No Pain, No Gain”

Muscle Myth – “No Pain, No Gain”

This one’s a classic gym mantra that has been taken a bit too literally: “No Pain, No Gain.” It sounds like the battle cry of the fitness gods, urging you to push through the burn and embrace the agony for the sake of those gains. But let’s debunk this myth with a sprinkle of wisdom and a dash of humor.

First off, pain is your body’s way of saying, “Hey, buddy, something might be wrong here!” It’s not a VIP pass to the gain train. It’s more like a red flag waving in the breeze. While a little discomfort is expected in any workout, treating pain as a badge of honor is like saying you enjoy stubbing your toe just for the thrill.

Contrary to popular belief, gains don’t exclusively come from punishing your body into submission. The key is finding the sweet spot between challenge and self-care. Think of it as a spa day for your muscles, minus the soothing music and fluffy robes.

4 The Myth: “Eggs Raise Your Cholesterol and Are Bad for Your Heart”

The SHOCKING Truth About Eating Eggs Daily [Heart & Artery Disease]

The myth that eggs are little cholesterol grenades ready to explode your heart health has been cracked wide open! Contrary to popular belief, eggs are not the villain in the heart health saga. In fact, they’re the heroes of breakfast.

Let’s scramble the facts: Eggs do contain cholesterol, but they also boast high-quality protein and essential nutrients that make them “eggstraordinary” for your overall well-being. Studies have shown that the cholesterol in eggs doesn’t necessarily translate to an increase in blood cholesterol levels for most people.

The incredible edible egg is a powerhouse of nutrients, from brain-boosting choline to eye-loving lutein. In the grand breakfast buffet of life, eggs have rightfully earned their spot. So crack open those shells, embrace the yolks, and let the cholesterol myth be a sunny-side-down story of the past.

3 The Myth: “Detox Diets Cleanse Your Body”

Why Detoxes Don’t Work

Detox diets promising to cleanse your body like a superhero fighting off toxins might sound tempting, but let’s unravel the truth behind this health myth. Contrary to popular belief, your liver and kidneys aren’t slacking off on the job—they’re the real deal for detoxifying your system.

Detox diets often boast about magical elixirs and exclusive blends that claim to purge your body of impurities. However, science doesn’t quite sing the same tune. The human body is a well-oiled detox machine, breaking down and eliminating waste products without needing a trendy juice to cleanse.

Instead of sipping on pricey concoctions that promise miracles in a bottle, focus on giving your body what it craves: a balanced diet rich in fruits, veggies, and water. Your organs will thank you for nourishing them with the good stuff.

2 The Myth: “More Sweat Equals More Calories Burned”

Does #sweating mean I’m burning fat?

Have you ever looked at someone drenched in sweat at the gym and thought they must be torching calories like a furnace? Well, sorry to burst your sweaty bubble, but this notion is as false as claiming chocolate makes for a nutritious breakfast.

Sure, sweating feels like a workout victory lap, but it’s not a reliable measure of calorie-burning prowess. Sweating is your body’s way of cooling down, not a sign that you’ve turned into a human calorie-burning furnace.

Think about it this way: A summer stroll in the scorching heat might leave you drenched, but it won’t magically transform your walk into an Olympic-level calorie burn. It’s the exercise itself—not the sweat—that makes the real difference.

So the next time you see someone sweating buckets on the treadmill, give them a nod for their commitment. Remember, the effort they’re putting in, not the amount of sweat, torches those calories. Keep calm, carry a water bottle, and let the sweat flow naturally without expecting it to be a calorie-burning magic potion.

1 The Myth: “Fat-Free Means Healthy”

Adam Ruins Everything – Low-Fat Foods Are Making You Fatter | truTV

The notorious “Fat-Free Means Healthy” myth—it’s like the unicorn of dieting, too good to be true. In reality, the absence of fat doesn’t automatically transform a snack into a nutritional superhero.

Sure, fat has a bad rap, but not all fats are created equal. Some fats, like the ones hanging out in avocados and nuts, are part of a balanced diet. The problem with the fat-free frenzy is that it often leads to a sneak attack of added sugars and mysterious chemicals that sound like they belong in a science lab, not your snack drawer.

Think about it: When they take the fat out, something’s gotta give in the taste department. And that something is usually replaced with sugar or artificial flavorings, doing a tap dance on your health goals. So you’re left with a snack like a sugar-coated mirage of healthiness.

The truth? Embrace the good fats, avoid the sugar-loaded impostors, and remember, balance is the real name of the game. Because let’s face it, life’s too short to deprive yourself of the delightfully creamy wonders that healthy fats bring to the table.

fact checked by Rachel Jones