Mental Health

10 Health Myths Debunked

Get ready to debunk these 10 health misconceptions so you can make healthier and informed choices for your life.

By URLife Team
05 Feb 2024

Ever heard your parents or an elderly telling you that sleeping with wet hair can lead to a cold? You’re not the only one.  Many pieces of wisdom passed down through generations often blur the line between myth and fact. 

Hence, we are here to throw some light on health myths and misconceptions that may be impacting the way you live. 


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Myth 1: Women can't get pregnant during their period 

While it's a common belief that you can't get pregnant during your period, it's not entirely true. Most menstrual cycles are around 28 days, with ovulation happening around day 14. However, this varies among women, and ovulation might occur earlier or later. One might ovulate on day 12 of a 28-day cycle, or day 21 of a 35-day cycle.

Also, it is important to note that sperm can live inside your body for upto 72 hours. So, even if you have sex during your period, there's a low chance, but not zero, of getting pregnant. To be safe, it's wise to practise safe sex unless you're actively trying to conceive.

Myth 2: Everyone must walk 10,000 steps a day

Contrary to the widespread belief that walking 10,000 steps a day is a golden rule for good health, this number is more of a myth than a universal truth. The 10,000-step guideline originated from a Japanese pedometer marketing campaign, and it's not necessarily the magic number for optimal well-being.

Research conducted by University of Massachusetts Amherst suggests that the 10,000-step target may be unnecessary for most people. The meta-analysis of 15 studies covering 50,000 participants revealed that better health doesn't require hitting the 10,000-step mark. Instead, achieving between 6,000 and 8,000 daily steps is sufficient for many individuals. 

The key takeaway is that any increase in daily movement can be beneficial, especially for those with sedentary lifestyles, and the health benefits plateau around 6,000 to 8,000 steps for older adults and 8,000 to 10,000 for younger adults.


Related story: The Diabetes Guide: How To Balance Your Blood Sugar


Myth 3: Eggs are not healthy for your heart 

For most individuals an egg a day does not increase their risk of developing heart diseases. We all know that cholesterol in eggs comes from the egg yolk. However, the cholesterol in our body is predominantly produced by the liver, influenced more by saturated and trans fats in our diet and doesn’t come from cholesterol we eat. Eggs, despite containing cholesterol, are low in saturated fat and hence safe for consumption from the viewpoint of heart health.

Moreover, eggs are a nutrient powerhouse. Packed with lutein and zeaxanthin for eye health, choline benefiting the brain and nerves, and a mix of essential vitamins (A, B, and D), eggs contribute to a well-rounded diet. A single large egg provides 270 international units (IU) of vitamin A, 41 IU of vitamin D, about 6 grams of protein, and only 72 calories, making them a wholesome addition to a balanced eating plan.


Myth 4: Natural sugars are better for you than refined sugar

Natural sugars like honey or maple syrup are considered healthier by many because they contain minerals lost in the refining of white sugar, like calcium and potassium. While it's true that white sugar loses these minerals during refining, it's important to know that the mineral content in natural sugars is still pretty low. They're not exactly a super source of minerals and hardly make any difference in their nutritional profile.

However, whether it's honey or white sugar, your body treats them similarly. They're all carbohydrates, and your body can't really tell if it's natural or refined. Our body metabolises all types of sugar in the same manner. While there might be trace amounts of minerals in natural sugars, the benefits are negligible and it's not a free pass to eat as much as you want. To keep your heart and overall health in check, it's best to enjoy all sugars, whether refined or not, but in moderation.


Related story: 7 Ways To Control High Blood Sugar In The Morning


Myth 5: Eating Garlic Keeps Mosquitoes Away

There is no scientific evidence to support that  consuming garlic keeps mosquitoes away. The strong odour may help keep others away, but the same can’t be said about mosquitos!

A study from 2005 conducted by researchers at the University of Connecticut Health Center involved participants consuming large amounts of garlic or a placebo on different days. Surprisingly, the number of mosquitoes that fed on them and the bites they endured didn't show a significant difference between garlic and placebo days.

Interestingly, the only food or drink that seems to affect mosquitoes when ingested by humans is alcohol. A study from 2002 published in the The Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association, found that drinking beer increased the percentage of mosquitoes landing on individuals, though the exact reason for this attraction remains unclear. So, while garlic might be a tasty addition to your meals, it may not be the ultimate mosquito repellent some people believe it to be.


Myth 6: Cracking joints causes arthritis 

A common misconception suggests that cracking your joints, like your knuckles, might lead to arthritis. However, there is no substantial evidence to support this claim. The sound you hear when you crack your joints is due to the release of gas bubbles in the synovial fluid, a lubricant that helps joints move smoothly. This phenomenon, known as cavitation, doesn't harm your joints or contribute to arthritis development.

Arthritis is a condition characterised by inflammation of the joints, and it has various causes, such as genetics, age, and joint injuries, but cracking your knuckles isn't one of them. Numerous studies have failed to establish a connection between joint cracking and an increased risk of arthritis. However, chronic knuckles cracking might lead to reduced grip strength.


Related Post: Walk For 15-Minutes Thrice A Day To Prevent Knee Pain: This Just In


Myth 7: Antiperspirant Causes Breast Cancer

There is a persistent myth suggesting a link between antiperspirants and breast cancer, but scientific evidence does not support this claim. The myth often revolves around the idea that the aluminum compounds in antiperspirants, which help reduce sweating, may be absorbed by the skin and contribute to the development of breast cancer. 

However, numerous studies and health organisations, including the American Cancer Society and National Institute of Cancer have found no credible evidence establishing a connection between the use of antiperspirants and an increased risk of breast cancer.


Myth 8: All carbohydrates are bad for you

Carbohydrates are a crucial macronutrient that provides energy for the body. However, not all carbs are created equal. There are two main types: simple carbohydrates, often found in sugary snacks and candies, and complex carbohydrates, present in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.

Complex carbohydrates are generally considered healthier as they provide essential nutrients, fiber, and a more sustained release of energy. Therefore, it's essential to distinguish between refined and processed carbs, which may lack nutritional value, and whole, unprocessed carbs that offer important vitamins and minerals. Moderation and choosing the right sources of carbohydrates are key for maintaining a healthy and balanced diet.


Myth 9: Microwaving your food is bad for your health 

There's a common misconception that microwaving your food might be harmful to your health due to the electromagnetic radiation it produces. However, it's crucial to understand that the radiation from microwave ovens is not the same as the harmful types associated with nuclear energy. The electromagnetic radiation used in microwaves doesn't increase the risk of cancer or pose health hazards.

Microwave ovens are designed with safety features like shields and screens to contain the radiation within the appliance. If the microwave door is broken or doesn't close properly, it's recommended to replace it to maintain safety standards. 

Additionally, there is no scientific evidence supporting the idea that microwaving food reduces nutrient levels. In fact, all cooking methods result in some nutrient loss, influenced by factors like temperature, cooking time, and method. Microwave cooking takes less time and lower temperatures to cook, which minimises nutrient loss, and the limited liquid used helps retain valuable nutrients. Therefore, microwaving food is a safe and efficient way to prepare meals without significant nutrient degradation.


Related story: Sugar Substitute: Healthy Sweetener Alternative For People With Diabetes


Myth 10: Chocolate causes acne

There is no substantial evidence supporting the idea that chocolate directly causes acne. Acne is a complex skin condition influenced by various factors such as genetics, hormones, and skin care habits. While diet can play a role in overall skin health, singling out chocolate as a direct culprit for acne is not accurate.

Studies examining the link between chocolate consumption and acne have not provided consistent evidence to establish a clear connection.
According to many doctors, the impact of chocolate on acne varies from person to person. If you tend to experience acne, it could be beneficial to reduce your chocolate intake and observe any changes. Opting for dark chocolate, which has lower sugar content, might be a better choice than milk or white chocolate. However, there's no need to completely eliminate chocolate from your diet.


Need all your wellness solutions in one place? A whole new world awaits just a click away.



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