Ever stopped to think about the health ‘facts’ you’ve just accepted as the truth since childhood? Let’s bust these health myths!
Eggs are bad for your heart.
When it was discovered that egg yolks contain cholesterol, there was a lot of debate around eggs and heart health, and many people stopped eating them altogether. One egg provides about two grams of saturated fat, but the truth is that the cholesterol from transfats (in hydrogenated fats and oils, usually found in cakes, pies and biscuits) is much more damaging to the heart. Eggs consumed in moderation can form part of a healthy diet – it also largely depends on how you prepare them, of course.
You can ‘catch up’ on missed sleep over weekends.
A long lie-in on a Saturday morning can’t repair the damage done by consistent sleep deprivation during the week. While it is recommended that you try to repay your ‘sleep debt’ as soon as possible after you have had some nights with less sleep, volunteers in a sleep study showed continued problems relating to attention tests, even after three nights of 10 hours of ‘catch-up’ sleep. They also displayed increased levels of stress hormones and inflammatory substances in their blood during their sleep-deprived time.
Going out with wet hair – or getting drenched and cold – will make you sick.
It’s not being cold or wet that gives you a cold or makes you more susceptible to the cold virus. The UK’s Common Cold Research Unit found that volunteers who were exposed to the cold virus and then asked to walk around in their bathing suits and wet socks after sitting in a hot bath reported low body temperatures, but they didn’t catch more colds than the similarly exposed control group who were kept in a warm room. It’s thought that colds are more prevalent in winter because people spend more time indoors in closer contact with people who are infected.
Swimming after eating is dangerous, as you may get a cramp and drown.
The thinking behind getting kids to wait at least half-an-hour after a meal before swimming is that your stomach needs blood to aid digestion. This is true, but the blood doesn’t get diverted from your legs. While it may be uncomfortable to swim, it does not increase the risk of your muscles getting cramps.
Eat less to lose weight.
If the simple idea of taking in fewer calories than you use up per day really worked in reducing weight, there would be no overweight people in the world. There are plenty of theories about weight loss, food groups and blood types, but eating too little has also been proven to provide the body with warning signals for starvation. This results in a slower metabolism, making it even more difficult to lose weight despite exercising to burn more calories. Try to eat a balanced diet, instead of depriving yourself of nutrition.