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12 Health Myths We Shouldn't Believe

 We all know the excitement that we experience when we read about some wonderful health benefit we never knew about. And to be sure, many of these stories are true and genuinely important. But that doesn’t mean a few myths and lies haven’t slipped through the net over the years. Here is a list of 12 ‘health facts’ that for one reason of another are either misleading or downright false.
1. You can lose loads of weight doing yoga.
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Yoga can provide you with many rich benefits. It’s relaxing, strengthening and even empowering, however it is not very aerobic at all. Some have suggested trying the so called ‘power yoga’ as a more intense alternative, yet even this will only burn 300 calories per 90-minute session. Furthermore, these sessions do not increase your metabolic rate (the number of calories you burn while at rest), post workout.

If you do use yoga, or are thinking of doing so, remember to supplement this worthwhile activity with other cardiovascular exercises. Balance, as ever, is the key.
2. Running damages your knees.
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A study conducted by Stanford University has found that those who have run regularly for many years have knees as healthy as those who haven’t. The only time running might cause trouble for your knees is when there is a previously existing knee complaint that is aggravated by the sudden workout. If your knees are already fine, don’t let them put you off running.
3. Up to 90% of your body heat escapes through your head.
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The real amount of heat you lose from your head is much closer to 10% since the head only accounts for this amount of your body’s surface area. Therefore, if the rest of your body (90%) is covered up with clothing during winter, but your head is bare, this area is more greatly exposed to heat loss. However, this would still account for even less than 50% of the heat you emit. 

So, by all means, continue to wear a hat. But don’t fall for this 90% myth.
4. Bathroom scales show you much fat you’ve burned.
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You should bear in mind that scales only really give you a snapshot of your weight at a certain time. Your weight can be effected by the amount of water in your system, the size of your last meal, or the amount of bloating you have. Furthermore, many people are surprised to find that a new lifestyle designed to improve their health will actually see their weight increase. This is because muscle is denser and weightier than fat. 

So, if you have been exercising to lose weight, you should be prepared for a slight disappointment. However, even though you may gain weight, you will be getting slimmer, but your scale will not show this.
5. Microwaves give you cancer.
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Microwave ovens are certainly a little terrifying thanks to the magnetic field they generate. However, the amount of energy this produces is not nearly enough to make a dent on your genetic material. The type of radiation used is ‘non-ionizing’, which also doesn’t affect a change in your cells. If you think about it, a microwave also does not alter the food it cooks either. It just heats it up. There is, therefore, no evidence that microwaves cause cancer.
6. The 5-second rule.
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When we are talking about minute bacteria contamination, time is not very important. It only takes milliseconds for food to become contaminated once contact is made. Therefore, rather than fixating on the amount of time your food has spent on the floor, think instead of the environment it is in. Environment is a far greater factor than anything else. 
7. You can be detoxified by drinking a juice cleanse.
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Juice fasts are one of the latest health crazes that you’ve probably heard a good deal about. What they require is that you only consume the juices, cutting out all other foods for a certain time, in order to rid your body of toxins and induce other health benefits. However, the benefits that accrue have not been shown to go beyond the feel-good factor of the placebo effect. 

The reason it helps lose weight is because it’s a fast that eliminates protein from your diet. This reduces both fat and muscle from your body. The important thing to grasp is that your body already has a perfect detoxifying system, utilizing your kidneys, liver and digestive tract. Drinking fiber-free juices all day, in place of real food, may actually be contributing to a worsening of your health.
8. To stay healthy we should drink eight glasses of water every day.
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Although drinking too much water can lead to fatal water intoxication, eight glasses is not too much. The number though is quite strange, since no one can say where this recommendation came from. Among healthy people there is nothing to say that drinking eight glasses per day will have any positive effect at all. 

However, as with all such myths, there is a grain of truth, since if you drink plenty of water, you will not feel the need to drink much worse beverages instead. High sugar drinks boost our calorie intake to dangerous levels. 

When it comes to drinking water, the best advice is to drink when you feel thirsty – unless your doctor tells you otherwise.
9. Diabetes is caused by sugar.
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It’s commonly believed that consuming too much sugar leads to this disease, but the truth is much more complicated. Type 1 diabetes is entirely genetic, and is not caused by diet whatsoever. Type 2 diabetes is caused by both genetic factors and lifestyle factors. Though certain sugary drinks are said to be culprits when it comes to increasing the risk of diabetes, this is not just because of the sugar content, but because of the sugar content allied to the high-calorie count. 

Obesity and generally poor eating habits are a greater predictor of diabetes than sugar is.
10. High-fructose corn syrup is much more dangerous for you than natural sugars.
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It’s enough said that high-fructose corn syrup should be avoided like the plague. However, scientists agree that when it comes to processing, energy and byproducts, corn syrup has the same effects as any other natural sugar. The only reason that high-fructose corn syrup may be considered less healthy is that it contains more sugar per serving than natural sugars, such as honey. Therefore, if used in concentrated doses, there is no difference.
11. Echinacea fixes colds and reduces the symptoms.
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Most of the early promise that studies once showed about the effectiveness of this plant has been unfulfilled. There is, in fact, no evidence of any kind that Echinacea does anything at all to soothe or banish away your cold or its symptoms. Recent clinical trials have not found any reason for you to purchase medication with this ingredient.
12. Green tea is full of antioxidants, helps weight-loss, is safe and healthy.
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The grain of truth contained in this health myth is that fresh green tea leaves do have some health benefits, and contain plenty of antioxidants. The problem is not with these fresh leaves, instead it’s with powders and extracts. Incredibly, Consumer Reports magazine includes Green Tea Powder Extract as one of its 15 ingredients we should always avoid. They say it can cause dizzy spells, increased blood pressure, ringing in the ears, liver damage and even death.

This is all because the powder is more potent than the original leaves. The process of concentration and synthesis produces troubling effects in people with pre-existing conditions, particularly if they use the tea frequently. 

Furthermore, one should be aware that tea also contains a lot of caffeine, to which some people can be quite sensitive (remember that caffeine was not a part of many European people’s diets for thousands of years). 
Cover image courtesy of depositphotos.com
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