In today’s health-obsessed society, everyone seems to be sprouting aphorisms relating to health. We go through 7 of the most common health “facts” and why they’re actually myths:
THIS IS SO INTERESTING BECAUSE IT’S ALL THE THINGS YOU WERE TOLD WHEN YOU WERE A KID… ESPECIALLY #1
1. Sugar makes you hyper
The majority of studies done show sugar and hyperactivity have no connection. Double-blind studies have shown that children with different amounts of sugar in their diet do not behave differently. Even children who have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder remain unaffected.
Interestingly, parents who were falsely told their children had ingested sugar believed the children to be more hyperactive. It would appear that this perception is from the parents’ mind.
2. Cracking your knuckles gives you arthritis
Knuckles cracking is the sound of bones moving apart, forming a gas bubble that is burst.Studies found no increase in hand arthritis for people who cracked their knuckles regularly. Arthritis is not caused by gas bubbles in joints, but many other causes–e.g. age, genetics, trauma.
That’s not to say cracking your knuckles is good for you–knuckle cracking is related to lower grip strength, tissue injuries and hand swelling.
3. You need 8 glasses of water a day
The origins of this myth is from a government study done in the 1940s, although it was misquoted. The study says that a human being needs 8 glasses of fluids from all sources–that is, including all the water in the foods we consume. Despite this, many organizations today still promote this mistaken medical myth.
Studies show that drinking increased amounts of water does not have any substantial health benefits–too much water can actually have unintended negative consequences!
4. Gum takes 7 years to be digested
This was the reason parents told children not to swallow their gum. Gum takes seven years to be digested, so if you swallow too much gum, it’ll stop your digestive systems. While it is true that gum cannot be digested by humans, it does not remain in our bodies. Gum does not stick to any of the digestive organs; it is simply passed through the human body.
5. Most body heat escapes from your head
This myth started from a military study done on heat loss. The study showed that when soldiers were standing in cold environments, the majority of heat escaped from their head. While their findings were true, the study neglected to mention that the soldiers were clothed everywhere except their heads. It is thus natural that the heat would be escaping from the one area not covered.
In reality, when you’re naked, you only lose about 10% of your body heat from your head. That is, after all, about approximately proportionate to your body size.
6. Teething causes a fever
Studies done have shown no correlation between teething and fever in babies. Teething does actually cause a slight elevation in body temperature, but not nearly at a fever level.
The origins of this myth may lie in the fact that infants are most susceptible to infections (such as the herpes virus) during their teething stage, which causes fevers.
7. Turkey makes you sleepy
The myth is that turkey contains tryptophan, which makes human beings sleepy. While turkey does contain that chemical, so do chickens and beef, in identical quantities.
A possible explanation for why turkey makes you sleepy is that turkey is most often consumed during a large Thanksgiving meal. Larger meals slows blood flow, which causes drowsiness.