There are plenty of ridiculous health claims around the internet, and many of them seem really believable. Some we’ve heard all our lives from family, friends, and people peddling products. How do we separate the truth from myth and misinformation? With help from some of the most reliable health, news, science websites and magazines, we’ve tracked down the answers for you!
April Fool’s Day is just around the corner … here’s a reminder not to be fooled by these top 10 health beliefs.
If the label says “natural,” it means it’s better for you. The word “natural” is not defined by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and can mean just about anything. Even products labeled “all natural” can be highly processed and contain high fructose corn syrup, a manufactured sugar that some researchers think is a contributor to the spike in obesity. The word “organic”? Now that’s regulated by the USDA and means the food is made without most conventional pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, growth hormones, and antibiotics. (Source: Health Magazine)
Gum Stays in Your Stomach for Seven Years. Your Little Leaguer’s wad of Big League Chew won’t (literally) stick around until high school graduation. “As with most nonfood objects that kids swallow, fluids carry gum through the intestinal tract, and within days it passes,” says David Pollack, a senior physician in the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Care Network. And even though gum isn’t easily broken down in the digestive system, it probably won’t cause a stomachache, either. (Source: Real Simple Magazine)
Going out with wet hair will make you sick. No matter what your Nana said, studies show that having your hair cold and damp doesn’t make you more susceptible to coming down with a case of the sniffles. “Researchers put cold viruses in the noses of two groups of people, and one group was then exposed to cold, wet conditions,” says Rachel Vreeman, MD, co-author of Don’t Cross Your Eyes…They”l Get Stuck That Way!: And 75 Other Health Myths Debunked. “People who were chilled were no more likely to get sick than those who weren’t,” she says. (Source: Prevention Magazine)
Eating eggs raises your cholesterol levels. Dietary cholesterol found in eggs has little to do with the amount of cholesterol in your body. The confusion can be boiled down to semantics: The same word, “cholesterol,” is used to describe two different things. Dietary cholesterol—the fat-like molecules in animal-based foods like eggs—doesn’t greatly affect the amount of cholesterol circulating in your bloodstream. Your body makes its own cholesterol, so it doesn’t need much of the kind you eat. Instead, what fuels your body’s cholesterol-making machine is certain saturated and trans fats. Eggs contain relatively small amounts of saturated fat. One large egg contains about 1.5 grams saturated fat, a fraction of the amount in the tablespoon of butter many cooks use to cook that egg in. So, cutting eggs out of your diet is a bad idea; they’re a rich source of 13 vitamins and minerals. (Source: Cooking Light Magazine)
Sitting too close to the TV is bad for the eyes. Although parents have been saying this ever since TVs first found their way into our homes, there’s no evidence that plunking down right in front of the TV set damages someone’s eyes. The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) says that kids can actually focus up close without eyestrain better than adults, so they often develop the habit of sitting right in front of the television or holding reading material close to their eyes. However, sitting close to a TV may be a sign of nearsightedness. (Source: KidsHealth)