8 Common Health Myths That You Shouldn’t Believe

health mythsThe Internet is full of fake information that can lead you astray on almost any topic, but when it comes to your health, you want to know the difference between fact and fiction. The fitness and nutrition experts at Plunkett Fitness want you to know everything you can about health so that you can make informed decisions about your personal health.

Myth #1: Being Out in the Cold Makes You Sick

Because people tend to get sick more often during the winter, many have come to believe that the cold weather causes illness. In addition, the myth has been taken a step further by people saying that wet hair in cold weather causes colds.

In reality, the reason that people get sick more often during the winter is that they are more likely to spend time indoors and cold-causing viruses spread more quickly and easily from person-to-person in this close-quarters environment. Avoid getting sick by washing your hands frequently with soap and warm water.

Myth #2: You Need to Drink 8 Glasses of Water a Day

For some reason, millions of people have been led to believe that eight glasses of water is the magical amount needed every day for proper hydration. In reality, if you drink when you feel thirsty, you are likely to get the proper amount of water each day. However, if you notice that your urine is a dark yellow or that you haven’t urinated in a long time, then you might consider drinking more water.

Since everything you drink contains water and a lot of foods contain significant amounts of water, it is unlikely that counting glasses of water would even be useful to track proper hydration. If you are out in the heat or very active, you may need more water than normal, but just listen to your body.

Drinking too much water is actually bad for you. Water intoxication is caused by an electrolyte imbalance that occurs when your cells swell with excess fluid caused by drinking too much water or other fluids.

Myth #3: You Should Wait a Half Hour After You Eat to Swim

The theory behind this myth seems to be that during digestion your stomach will pull blood to your stomach making it unavailable for your muscles and causing cramps, which could prevent you from swimming. However, there are no reported cases of people drowning from muscle cramps after swimming with a full stomach. If you happen to cramp up while in the pool, you should float or get out of the pool until it subsides. You may be uncomfortable trying to swim with a full stomach, however.

Myth #4: Sugar is as Addictive as Heroin

Sugar has been called the most addictive substance on the planet. Fortunately for all of us, this isn’t a true statement. This statement probably came to be after people read about the effects of sugar on the brain in “Fat Chance,” by Dr. Robert Lustig. While sugar does activate certain parts of the brain, that doesn’t mean it is an addictive substance.

Myth #5: Drinking Alcohol Kills Brain Cells

The death of brain cells has long been attributed to drinking alcohol. While excessive drinking can damage the connections between brain cells, it doesn’t actually kill brain cells. However, in the case of children with fetal alcohol syndrome, it appears that the alcohol causes a reduced number of brain cells. Plus, excessive drinking for extended periods of time can cause damage to the brain.

Myth #6: Carrots are Good for Your Eyes

This myth has been making the rounds for decades. While carrots contain vitamin A, which turns into beta-carotene, your body can’t convert all vitamin A to beta-carotene. Plus, no matter what you eat, you can’t change vision problems in the eyes. Eating a lot of carrots won’t give you better vision or allow you to see in the dark as many other myths suggest.

Myth #7: You Can Eat Whatever You Want If You Workout

Diet and exercise are an important part of a healthy lifestyle, but some people believe that it doesn’t matter what you eat as long as you work out. Unfortunately, exercise doesn’t provide your body with the nutrients it needs to be healthy, so eating only junk will always be unhealthy.

Many people also overestimate how many calories they work off at the gym, and often, people gain weight when they aren’t following a healthy diet.

Since both diet and exercise are important to your overall health, let an Overland Park personal trainer from Plunkett Fitness provide you with a nutrition and workout plan. To get started, contact Plunkett Fitness today at 913-390-3360.