44 Health Myths (That Fool Even the Best of Us)

We've all been there. 

You hear something that sounds plausible. And you can't think of anything that contradicts it. So you take it as truth, and go on with your day. 🤷‍♂️

Here's a list of 44 of those things that sounded true, but actually aren't.  

1. Running is bad for your knees

Running is great for your knees. It strengthens and stabilizes the muscles around your the joint that keep your leg-elbows healthy!  

Running improperly is bad for your knees though. 🦵

Some healthy looking knees right there.

2. Sugar makes kids hyper

This myth continues to stick around even though the scientific community consistently says otherwise. Sugar won’t make your kidlets more hyper. But why does it seem like kids go ballistic whenever sugar is involved? This might be explained by correlation.

When do kids get most excited? Social events, parties, birthdays, holidays, etc. 🥳

When do we usually let our kids eat the most sugar? Social events, parties, birthdays, holidays, etc. 🥳

Kids probably look at adults and think alcohol makes us hyper because folks are usually more wild after some naughty juice. Even though alcohol is a depressant. 🍻

Is sugar to blame?

3. You can only get fibre from plants

Pretty much any authority on fibre will say the only edible source of fibre comes from plants. But fibre can ALSO come from eating insects. 

For instance, crickets are rich in chitin—an insoluble dietary fibre. 🦗

Just getting my fibre!

4. Dairy builds strong bones

You gotta hand it to the dairy industry. They know how to market their stuff.
One of their best positioning tactics was: “Milk builds strong bones.” 🦴
A number of studies have shown this isn’t true. In fact, just the opposite.
An infamous Harvard study followed nearly 78,000 women for 12 years and found zero evidence that supported milk prevented fractures or osteoporosis. 💀

Two other studies following over 100,000 boys and girls indicated that you’re more likely to suffer from fractures if you drink a lot of milk as a teenager.

Dairy =/= strong bones

5. Fruit juice is good for you

Lots of commercially available fruit juices aren’t healthy. They are loaded with added sugars and the pulp and skin are completely removed. 🧃

The pulp and skin are generally the healthiest part of the fruit. They have a substantial amount of vitamins and minerals, and contain the most fibre. 🍎

So you’re better off sticking with the fruit itself. 

6. Cellulite

Cellulite isn’t really a thing. It’s more of an observation that evolved into a wildly profitable industry.

The prevailing medical opinion is that it’s not a condition. Which might explain why the term “cellulite” isn’t medical. And why there’s no “cure”. 🤔

Even so, 90% of women “suffer” from cellulite. Which makes it a lucrative industry to be in. Think about it: there’s no known cure, and almost 50% of the world suffers from it. That's a pretty large grey area to profit from. 💰

The market for this "condition" (that’s not really a condition) and it's treatment (there’s no cure) is projected to reach $1.438 billion by 2026.

7. Cracking knuckles gives you arthritis

I’m pretty sure this yarn was spun by the international federation of moms. 🧶 

Cracking knuckles won’t give you arthritis. But it’s directly linked with aggravating people around you—especially moms! 

8. Bottled Water is better than tap

The opposite is true! Tap water is safer, better for the environment, and (depending on where you live) tastier than bottled water. Not to mention cheaper! 

Plus, 64% of bottled water is essentially tap water. Just go straight to the source. 🚰

Trump prefers bottled.

9. Carrots give you night vision

My mom told me this once as a kid. So I used to devour carrots with the hopes of someday achieving perfect night vision. 👀

Some 20 years later I still eat a fair amount of carrots. But sadly, no night vision. 😢

As it turns out this myth started during World War II. The British were trying to cover up their use of radar to intercept German night raids. So they issued a press release stating they fed their pilots carrots to augment their night vision. The ruse worked a little too well. Showing remarkable staying power some 80 years later. 

Forget 20/20, I'm going for carrot/carrot vision.

10. Turkey makes you sleepy

You know how you feel so tired after a big feast on Thanksgiving? 🦃

You've probably heard it’s because of tryptophan from the turkey. 

Pure mythology.

Lots of foods contain similar, if not more, tryptophan than turkey—like cheese. The real reason you feel sleepy is because you eat so much. 🤷‍♂️

This myth’s staying power can be attributed in part to an episode of Seinfeld. Jerry and George scheme a way to get Jerry’s girlfriend to fall asleep (so they can check out her vintage toy collection) that included wine, turkey, and 4 hours of George’s childhood home movies. 💤

"Too much turkey."

11. Chocolate is an aphrodisiac

Is anyone surprised this is a myth? I mean, how many times has munching down a chocolate bar put you in the mood? 🍫

Evidence suggests that feelings outside of taste, smell, and feel are purely emotionally-driven. You can really enjoy chocolate. But it doesn't have aphrodisiac properties.

Does this do it for ya? (Via Reddit)

12. You need 8 glasses of water a day

Even though this isn’t really true, it’s not the worst thing in the world to believe. 🚰

Standardized recommendations aren’t possible to make for humans. There’s just too much variation going on.

Your genes are different from your neighbour's. And you experience different levels of strain, activity, and weather then someone on the other side of the world. Things like age, weight, and diet all come into play as well. 

A better North Star than “cups per day” is the colour of your pee. If it’s light you’re alright. If it’s dark and yellow then drink up my fellow! 💦

13. You need 8 hours of sleep each night

Another recommendation that falls short of the truth because of variation from person to person. 😴

The truth isn’t too far off though. Experts recommend 7-9 hours of sleep. Which probably has something to do with the nice, round 8 we hear about so often.

Quality of sleep is also important. Things like room temperature, mattress, and screens can rob you of some quality Zs. 💤

There’s a tiny demographic with a genetic variant that allows them to function on fewer than 6 hours of sleep. But there’s a good chance your friend who keeps bragging about only needing 4-5hours is chronically sleep deprived. 🛌

14. Being cold gives you a cold

This myth was debunked in the late 1970s in a study published by the New England Journal of Medicine.

That said, being cold can still lead to colds. Indirectly. 🥶

When it’s cold outside folks are more likely to congregate indoors and take transit (as opposed to walking or biking). And of course, you’re more likely to touch your face.

No colds to be had here.

15. Vegans/Vegetarians struggle to get enough protein

Protein deficiency is such a low priority in North America that you can’t even find the daily recommendation on food and beverage nutritional labels. 

And the same holds true for vegetarians and vegans. Protein abounds outside of animal products. It’s fairly straightforward to get enough from legumes, nuts, seeds, and even plants.

And—depending on the person—crickets are always a great option for getting protein. 🌱

16. Soy will give you "manboobs"

Studies have shown there's no relationship between eating soy and developing manboobs (that's the medical term, right?). 🍈🍈

Folks are skittish of soy because it’s relatively high in phytoestrogens, which can mimic estrogen’s effects in human cells. But there's insufficient proof that this is harmful for humans. 

Everything in moderation though. A lot of soy products, like meat, are heavily processed. 

17. Honey is better for you than sugar

Ok so honey is a little bit better, but not much. 🍯

There’s a misconception that honey is better for you than generic white sugar. Honey is still added sugar. There’s about 15 grams of sugar in a tablespoon of honey.

That said, honey has quite a lot more going for it than sugar does. It contains amino acids, vitamins, and minerals like thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin A, phyllochinon, etc. 🐝

So it is technically better than sugar, but don’t take that as a license to go wild with it come tea time. 

18. Coconut oil

Sometime around 2010, coconut oil became hugely popular. Someone down the line slapped the “superfood” label on it, and consumers suddenly went (coco)nuts. 🥥

Despite its long history of being demonized by health authorities because of its massively high saturated fat content. 😈

FYI coconut oil is 82% saturated fat and lard is 39%.

Today 7/10 people think coconut oil is healthy, when it’s really not. You’re much better off using olive oil because coconut oil has such a huge amount of saturated fat. 

The one caveat to add here is that vegetarians and (especially) vegans get a bit of a free pass when it comes to coconut oil. It’s a rare plant-based source of saturated fat, which is important for human cell function.

Again, everything in moderation.

*Moderation intensifies*

19. Beer before liquor never been sicker

"Beer before liquor, never been sicker. Liquor before beer you’re in the clear."

"Beer before wine, you’ll be fine. Wine before beer, you’ll feel queer."

Ok. So.. If you drink a glass of wine, then some beer, then wash it down with some shots you'll feel great!

🍷 > 🍺 > 🥃 > 😁

This feels like it should be true. I mean it rhymes. One of the hallmarks of the truth, right?

Sadly, the rhyme is a lie. The order of drinks doesn’t play a part in the hangover. Sorry, you can't rhyme your way out of a hangover.

20. Mixing drinks makes you sicker

The order of drinks doesn’t impact your hangover...but does mixing drinks in general make you feel worse the next day? 

The answer is still no. 👎

But there are lots of reasons why mixing drinks might indirectly lead to a worse hangover. 

For one, mixing means you’re drinking multiple drinks. Total volume of alcohol is definitely linked with more intense hangovers. 🤕

Also, if you’re moving between drinks, it means you’re more likely to down a type of alcohol that produces worse hangovers. Dark spirts for example are considerably higher than light spirits in congeners, which make hangovers hit harder

"If we stick to wine, we'll be fine."

21. Eating insects is weird

Eating insects is already a 'thing' in 80% of the world's countries. This just so happens to be something North Americans have been slower to pick up on. 🌎

If you’re curious about trying insects, grab our Curious Snacker Bundle here. And if you don’t like how it tastes, we’ll refund you your whole order.

22. An apple a day keeps the doctor away 

Another rhyme proves to be false! Darn! Is there nothing we can trust in this world anymore??

In a study of 8400 men and women, researchers showed that consumption of an apple a day does, in fact, NOT keep the doctor away. 🍎

That said, perhaps we can remain a little skeptical, as nowhere in the study does it talk about how hard the participants could throw the apple at physicians.

"Stay away Doc!" (Via Giphy)

23. Too much protein is bad for your kidneys

There’s no evidence that lends to the idea that protein is bad for your kidneys. While there are diminishing returns to eating huge amounts of protein, it’s not going to jeopardize your precious kidneys

"Mhmm delicious kidney-pain-free protein!"

24. Fat from Fat

“Fat on my body is fat. Fat in foods is fat. Therefore, if I eat foods with fat, I will get fat.”

I feel like this myth got wheels under it because it seems so intuitive. But eating fat is more nuanced that!

There are good fats like monounsaturated fats found in olive oil, peanut butter, and avocados; and polyunsaturated fats found in flax seeds, walnuts, and fish. 🐟

There are bad 'trans fats' that are commonly found in cake, frozen pizza, doughnuts, etc. 🍩

And middle of the road saturated fats that are alright if consumed in moderation.

"Will this make me fat?"

25. You only need sunscreen when it’s sunny

The sun doesn’t need to be shining in order to feel the harmful effects of its UV rays. The sun can still strike even on cloudy days. ⛅️

Which is why the recommendation is to wear sunscreen anytime you expect to be exposed to the sun. So lather up! 

Hope she's got sunscreen on that hand!

26. It takes 7 years to digest gum

Even though we can’t ‘digest’ gum, it doesn’t just chill around your colon for 7 years before making a grand exit. 

Like anything else that can't be digested—like fibre—gum usually passes through you in 24+ hours or so. 🌈

27. Most heat is lost through the head

“Wear a hat because you lose 90% of your body heat through your head!”

Just ain’t the truth. 

This myth is based on flawed research conducted by the US military in the 1950s. Where they observed significant heat loss through subjects’ heads when exposed to freezing temperatures. The issue was their bodies were bundled up and their heads weren't. 

There’s nothing special about your head, you just lose body heat through parts of the body that aren’t covered.

Should have worn a hat!

28. Don't swim within 45 minutes of eating

Hankering for a quick dip after a big meal? Fear not. Your body won't sink you because all your blood flow is diverted to digestion or punish you with a crippling cramp. 🏊‍♂️

You might get a minor cramp, like you would while running. But other than that eating and swimming is harmless

29. Exercising at night messes with sleep

Exercising at night won’t ruin your beauty sleep. In fact it can actually improve your ability to fall asleep and your quality of sleep. 

30. Coffee stunts growth

This isn’t even a little bit true. Drinking coffee won't stunt your kids' growth. 

But do kids really need coffee in the first place? 

"Sorry Honey! Gave the kids a sip of my coffee."

31. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day

Studies have shown that a better saying would be: "Breakfast is an optional meal of the day."

This is another great example of suspicious lobbying and marketing. The long and the short of it is the idea that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” was largely popularized in an effort to sell more bacon. 🥓

32. The Perfect Diet

There is no perfect diet. There are way too many factors that come into play to say with certainty what humans should or should not eat. Your genetics and lifestyle play a huge role in what’s optimal for you.

Some cultures ate nothing but nuts and seeds and have no ability to digest milk, whereas some cultures used to get 99% of their calories from meat. 

Certain foods are definitely better than others though. Like crickets! 🦗

33. Humans have 5 senses

What about sense of balance, sense of temperature, sense of space, sense of the dead? (Ok maybe not that last one)

We don’t just hear, smell, feel, taste, and see the world around us. 

We have lots of other senses. Balance, pain, temperature, light, space, colour, gravity, pressure, air, motion, hunger, thirst, breath, emotions, etc. 

"There are more than 5 senses..."

34. Shaving makes your hair grow back thicker

Clinical data has said otherwise for nearly 100 years. And yet this is still pretty commonly believed.. 🧔

35. Alcohol warms you up

Alcohol doesn't warm you up. But it does redistribute the heat in your body from your core to your flesh as blood vessels dilate in the skin. 🍾

36. You only use 10% of your brain

Nope. You use all of your brain. 🧠

But whoever came up with this idea might have only been using 10% of their brain.

And it remains a popular idea because of Hollywood. Films like Phenomenon, Lucy, and Limitless, are all about people who can suddenly access the other 90% of their brain. Becoming unstoppable forces of nature who can predict earthquakes, instantly learn martial arts, and write books overnight. 

If only you could use all 100%!

37. If you cross your eyes they can stay that way

Getting stuck cross eyed from crossing your eyes too much is like getting stuck stiff-legged because you flexed your quads to much. 👀 

Your muscles can hold your eyes in that position if you concentrate, but sooner or later you'll stop.  

38. You eat 8 spiders a year when you sleep

The truth is, you probably eat way more than 8 spiders in a year. But you don’t swallow them while you sleep.

The average person eats 1-3 pounds of bugs per year in jams, vegetables, fruits, etc. Including some spiders! 🕷 

39. No Pain, no gain

No, Mr. The Rock, there is much gain to be had without pain. 🙅‍♂️

You’re more likely to harm your gains if you always push through "pain" because of injury and fatigue.

Progressive overload, specificity, and recovery will serve you better than pain for gains in the gym. 💪

"But what if we tried to gain without pain?"

40. Sitting is the new smoking

Sitting is just sitting. And smoking is still smoking. 🚬

Sitting isn’t really the problem. Low to no movement for prolonged periods is. 

Age 35, Jerry loves to sit and smoke.

41. Coffee is bad for you

Coffee got a bad rap circa 1991. When it was added to a list of possible carcinogens by the World Health Organization.

People continued to drink it anyways, because carcinogen or not, you can’t wake up and go to work everyday without some hot brown morning juice. ☕️

Thankfully though, in the past few years coffee’s rep did a 180. Because moderate amounts of coffee is linked with lowering your risk of stroke and heart disease.

42. Activated charcoal

Activated charcoal is real, but its benefits are wildly exaggerated. You can find it in toothpaste, drinks, baked goods and skin care products. 

Activated charcoal is commonly used as an alternative to stomach pumping when dealing with overdoses. It acts like a sponge and pulls in toxins that would otherwise be absorbed by the body. 🧽

At some point though, someone extrapolated this to mean charcoal will being to any and all toxins to help flush out the body. Which isn’t the case.

Aside from mitigating overdoses, activated charcoal doesn’t have any proven benefits. It won't help your hangover, can't help you lose weight, and has detox effects. And it might actually set your health kick back a step because it can bind to essential vitamins and mess with uptake of prescriptions. 

Aesthetic? Yes. Healthy? No. Harmful? Probably.

43. Vegetarian and vegan diets are healthier

While going plant based can improve your diet, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will.

Getting rid of meat isn’t going to do you much good if you substitute it with cheese, bread, and unhealthy snacks. 🌱

44. Breaking the seal (drinking)

"Just hold it in. Because once you pee, you’ll have to pee a lot!" 💦

This makes so much sense after a few beers. And it seems to always play out true. You go pee once and it’s like you bust open the floodgates.

But there's no such thing as "breaking the seal."

Alcohol is a diuretic, so you’re going to make extra trips to the bathroom regardless of how long you hold it in the first time. 

"Just wait or you'll have to keep going."

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