From flu shots to big breakfasts, here are the top 9 myths about staying healthy

Composite image. Mother medicine photo by FPG/Retrofile RF/Getty Images. Doctor photo by George Marks/Retrofile RF/Getty Images, St. George News

FEATURE – Whether it’s “drink lots of water,” “don’t crack your knuckles” or “don’t forget to take your vitamins,” some pieces of healthy living advice are best left in the history books, because they simply are not true no matter who told you so or how many times you’ve heard them.

Read on for nine myths to bust out of your mindset – and to share with your friends or family next time they bring them up.

 1. Drinking lots of water is healthy — the more the better.

This is a myth. You can tell how much water you need to drink by looking at your own urine. If it is clear like water, you are drinking too much. If it is dark yellow, not enough. You are shooting for a lighter yellow color. How much water you need will vary by the season in St. George given extreme variables in temperatures. So use color as your gauge.

 2. Taking a multivitamin is healthy and something everyone should do.

This is a myth. Vitamins are necessary, but you only need a very tiny amount of any given vitamin and the rest are discarded by the body. If you are eating a well-balanced diet, you don’t need supplements. That includes things such as co-enzymes, metabolism boosters and antioxidants, none of which have been definitively shown to reduce mortality (see the National Institutes of Health website). The public is literally bombarded with ads for supplements and vitamins from a multibillion-dollar industry. Just be aware that there is no solid data to back up any claims. It’s your money. Caveat emptor.

 3. A big breakfast is healthy.

This is a myth. It is really a remnant from the 1950s marketing of meat and milk. Data now shows  those who eat breakfast almost always consume more calories on a daily basis than those who skip it. And Western breakfast foods are very high in fat and sugar, which leads to midmorning lethargy. A small plate with some protein, a complex carbohydrate and some fruit is ample to energize you until lunch without causing you to crash at 10:30 a.m.

 4. You can’t lose weight if you don’t exercise. No pain, no gain.

This is a myth. Studies actually show that exercise alone is a poor method to lose weight. Dietary changes are clearly the most important thing, with or without the exercise.

Read more: Women and weight loss: 9 things you need to know

Now, for long-term weight stabilization, an active lifestyle is clearly better than one that is sedentary. This may be why those who make New Year’s resolutions give up going to the gym by February or March. They just aren’t seeing any progress.

 5. Hormones cause cancer.

This isn’t exactly a myth, because it is a complicated issue. In regard to taking birth control pills, the death-risk from cancer has been shown to be (at worst) equal in women who do take birth control pills to those who don’t use birth control pills. Women who take postmenopausal hormone therapy have the same long-term risk of dying from cancer (all types included) as those who don’t use hormones. So while progesterone has been tied to breast cancer, and estrogen to uterine cancer, the data just doesn’t show an increased long-term risk of cancer mortality in women using hormones.

 6. Eggs increase your cholesterol and your risk of heart disease.

This is a myth. They don’t. They are a great source of protein. Bon appétit.

 7. The flu shot can give you the flu.

This is a myth. It can make you sore for a couple of days. It is not necessarily 100 percent effective even in the best of years. But it won’t give you the flu. Influenza is nasty, I mean really nasty.

 8. Cracking your knuckles can give you arthritis.

This is a myth. I remember hearing that one in grade school. It turns out it is just a gas bubble that pops from one side of the joint capsule to the other.

9. Detoxification is healthy.

This is a myth. I honestly don’t have a clue, though, what sort of “toxins” we need to get rid of. We have this amazing thing called a liver. It works every day of our lives to protect us from toxins, along with our gut and kidneys. There is absolutely no evidence that any detoxification, given orally or rectally or any other way, in any way benefits you.


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  • Craig July 16, 2018 at 8:23 am

    Very nice, though egg yolks are less healthy.

  • comments July 16, 2018 at 11:56 am

    yep, the best way to lose weight is to stop eating. Easier said than done.

    • John July 17, 2018 at 7:12 am

      That’s not at all what he said! Change your diet from junk and harmful foods to healthy for the greatest difference. From my readings his points are all right on the mark.

      • comments July 17, 2018 at 9:45 am

        is this sewer scum john or a new john? My guess is it’s a new one since he’s not attacking anyone like a rabid…

    • RadRabbit July 17, 2018 at 3:38 pm

      But Apollo Burger is so good!

  • DB July 16, 2018 at 2:32 pm

    How about ‘everything in moderation’ and leave it at that? (and don’t smoke) Every ‘study’ you read about will be refuted in a few years, anyway.

    • John July 17, 2018 at 7:17 am

      No. There are good (= healthy) foods and bad (= unhealthy) foods, and eating the bad stuff in moderation is an excuse but not the best strategy. Our food industry is spending billions to push you toward food they want to sell you but that is not good for you and you need to learn what is and what isn’t good and not throw up your hands and give up. The studies are converging toward a consensus.

      • DB July 17, 2018 at 3:34 pm

        So I can’t have a steak and/or lasagna once a month? Not buying your premise but it depends on the individual, I suppose. I just spent two weeks in Japan and had quite a lot of good, healthy food. Once (only once) during the trip, a few of us sneaked out to McDonalds. The line of customers went out to the sidewalk and beyond.

  • Mike P July 17, 2018 at 10:41 am

    Well, the “source” for this article was one local Doctor. So……. there may be a few other unsubstantiated opinions out there. I (personally) go by the old saying ” If it tastes good, and you like it, it’s probably bad for you”.

    • comments July 17, 2018 at 6:34 pm

      speaking of “unsubstantiated opinions”… tell us more about all your action adventures, mike p. After all, you were there 😉 hahahaha

      • Mike P July 18, 2018 at 9:42 am

        comments, I have no idea what your talking about. Where was I this time? You don’t believe a thing I say anyway so why would you want me to share anything personally with you or any of your other screen names? You’re still stuck on something weeks old that YOU can’t prove wrong and it’s just eating at ya. Please grow up and move on, this is really childish.

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