What even is healthy anymore? With all the advice circling around it’s hard to keep on top of your health and stay up to date on what’s in or out this week. To help you on your journey we’ve busted 8 health myths. Put them in the fake pile and move on to things that will actually benefit your wellbeing.
1) 8-hours is the perfect number for sleep
We may never know for sure who came up with this magic number but we do know it’s been common knowledge for some time now. However, throughout history there’s been evidence of people enjoying two separate sleeps in the one night, lasting around 3-4 hours each. With the advent of electrical lighting and a ruined natural routine we set ourselves a new routine of a single 8-hour block.
As discussed in our other blog, people’s sleep needs are entirely individual and quality is in fact the most important thing. If you can function happily and healthily on 6-7 hours sleep there’s nothing stopping you from doing so.
How do you get quality sleep? By going through all the sleep stages from light to deep and REM sleep. Reaching the more coveted deep and REM sleep is made easier by a comfortable sleeping setup. A supportive mattress will prevent muscle aches from waking you during the night. While a large bed is going to mean you have space to toss, turn and snuggle deeper into the covers without kicking your bed frame, disturbing your partner or falling off the edge.
2) Daily detoxing is good for you
Detoxifying your body is a fad that pops up time and time again. But does it really work? Dr Frank Farrelly is a Sydney-based dentist from Darlinghurst Dental practice. He says the evidence is shaky on the benefits of detoxing and you’re mostly just risking your teeth with excess acid in your day.
“It is a common myth that daily lemon in water, or daily apple cider vinegar is good for the health. There is no evidence of benefit to either. People claim that apple cider vinegar aids digestion and that lemon can help with detox, lose weight or other health benefits.
In reality, lemons do have a detox agent in them, but you would need to consume thousands of lemons at once to have an effect in a human. However, the acidic lemon, or vinegar is very damaging to tooth enamel and exposed dentine, causing dental erosion, which dissolves the teeth. It can also increase the risk of tooth decay.
I have no problem with doing something that may be beneficial, but does not have a lot of research, so long as it does not cause damage. These habits are taken up by people who are trying to be healthy and instead end up with long term dental problems.”
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3) Women who weight train build massive muscles
Most women’s fitness regimes focus heavy on the cardio and yoga, light on the lifting heavy things. This is often due to their concern that lifting weights will ruin their petite physique and result in bulky muscles. Women’s health and wellness coach, Cherie Rivas, wants to squash this myth once and for all.
“One myth that I wish would get lost, is that resistance workouts (weights) will make women build big and bulky muscles. This is such a misconception! Women simply do not have the testosterone levels to create big bulky 'masculine looking' muscles. It also takes many months (sometimes years) of very intensive and specific training and strict nutrition in order for women to build large muscles.
Although some elite sportswomen have been known to develop large muscles, this is through many, many hours of hard work and dedication. In days gone by, the use of anabolic steroids may have also contributed to the myth that resistance workouts result in big bulky 'masculine looking' muscles. This is simply NOT TRUE for the average woman who may do several resistance workouts each week.
This myth needs to be abolished as there are many benefits associated with resistance workouts that women are potentially missing out on. These benefits include improved strength and bone density, as well as increased metabolism.”
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4) Gluten-free is healthier
Somewhere in the past few years gluten-free has gone from health concern to healthy eating. We blame the celebs for making it trendy. Cutting things out of your diet is only healthier if they are doing you harm. If you have coeliacs disease or a gluten intolerance then sure, avoid the stuff. If you want to lose weight? Gluten is not the problem. Many technically gluten-free products are not healthy choices for your diet, soft drinks for example. Many gluten-free options also contain unhealthy substitutes such as refined starches.
5) Carbs make you fat
It’s time for the war on carbs to end. They’re the first thing many drop from their diets in order to lose weight but they may be the missing ingredient when it comes to sustainable weight loss. Complex carbs such as whole wheat pasta, brown bread and brown rice are diet staples that keep you fuller for longer and dish out a healthy dose of fiber. As such, they’re the perfect fuel for your body when embarking on a new fitness regime. A standard serve of pasta after a workout will satisfy your hunger and keep you from reaching for dessert. While a carb-free meal could have you succumbing to temptation and reaching for high fat, salt or sugary foods - so long as they aren’t carbs. Not all carbs were made the same though, so make sure your diet is full of the healthy kind like whole grains, lentils and oats.
6) Eating chocolate gives you acne
Anyone who has proper acne can confirm they don’t eat any more chocolate than their clear-skinned peers. And yet, we still think chocolate is to blame for our blemishes. This myth was put to rest many years ago when scientists studied the effect of excess chocolate consumption on two groups. One consumed candy bars with 10 times the usual amount of chocolate while the other were given fake candy bars. The results? No difference in the two groups which means chocolate is not the culprit. Your best defence against acne is a nourishing skincare routine.
7) Carrots help you see in the dark
There is a grain of truth to this myth; carrots can improve your eyesight. They contain plenty of Vitamin A which is good for your vision. But the night vision half is an old war propaganda story. Back in WW2 the British government didn’t want to reveal it’s new radar technology which allowed their bomber pilots to attack at night. The solution? Tell everyone they were eating so many carrots they could see in the dark.
8) Weight is an accurate measure of health
You would assume that increasing your fitness would decrease the number on the scales but this isn’t always the case. Fat is unhealthy while muscle is sign of fitness; but to the scales they weigh the same. If you’re in an unhealthy weight range for your body type then dropping numbers on the scales is to be expected. However, if you’re within a healthy range and focus on toning up your body you may be surprised to find the scales stay the same. If you feel fitter, stronger and can measure a lower body fat percentage than you had before then you should be proud of your achievements. Weight is only one measure in an overall picture of your health.
It’s high time we stripped these myths from our minds to make way for more accurate health information.