The Goods

The most common health myths, debunked

Still a believer in the five second rule? We're busting familiar myths (and half-truths) about health and wellness.
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In the age of WebMD, fad cleanses and self-diagnosed "gluten allergies", it's no surprise that there's a lot of misinformation out there when it comes to health and wellness. So, we're setting the record straight today by busting some of the most common health myths (and half-truths) around. 

Grab a pen and paper to guess along with us, and test your own health IQ!

1. The more you sweat during exercise, the more fat you are burning. True or false?

FALSE! Sweat has nothing to do with how much fat you lose, it's simply the body's way of regulating itself and staying at a consistent temperature. Sweat works as a coolant for the body as it is released on the skin. As the sweat evaporates, the body's temperature is lowered.

2. Having a pessimistic attitude can decrease your life expectancy. True or false?

TRUE! Optimistic people are less likely to suffer from heart disease. Studies also show that heart patients who were more optimistic about treatment lived longer than those who were not.

3. Honey isn't just good in your tea — it can also help disinfect a wound! True or false?

TRUE! Honey can be used to keep a cut or scrape from becoming infected, as it contains antimicrobial properties that eliminate the bacteria in and around the affected area. After clinical trials in New Zealand, doctors proved that honey helped wounds heal quicker than normal gauze and dressings that were commonly used to treat burns. If you're going to use honey on your cuts and scrapes, Manuka honey is best.

4. Beware of knuckle cracking — people who do this increase their risk of getting arthritis. True or false?

FALSE! Knuckle cracking loosens stiffness in fingers, but it doesn't cause arthritis. However, cracking can place minor stress on joints if you already have arthritis, and can make osteoarthritis worse.

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5. It's safe to eat food that has fallen on the floor as long as you pick it up within five seconds. True or false?

FALSE! Bacteria can contaminate food within milliseconds, and contact with tile or wood picks up large amounts of bacteria. Moist foods attract more bacteria than dry foods, but there's no "safe duration".

6. Public washrooms are dirtier than bank machines. True or false?

FALSE! They are equally dirty! Both spaces are filled with the same types and amount of bacteria, which are known to cause diarrhea and other illnesses.

7. Women are nine times more likely to suffer from a broken heart. True or false?

TRUE! The release of adrenaline caused by shock can lead to heart failure. So, Broken Heart Syndrome is REAL, and it does hit women harder than men. 

8. Sex increases your risk of heart attack. True or false?

FALSE! Researchers found that men who had sex at least twice a week were half as likely to die of heart disease. Sex also keeps your estrogen and testosterone levels in balance, and even lowers your chance of osteoporosis!

9. Chewing gum boosts your brain power. True or false?

TRUE! But flavour does matter! Researchers at Coventry University found that mint-flavoured gum increases alertness, and dramatically reduces fatigue. Studies also show chewing gum improves memory by about 35 percent!

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10. You should drink at least eight glasses of water a day. True or false?

FALSE! Canadian dietitians say drinking eight glasses a day to stay healthy is a myth. How much fluid your body needs every day depends on your age, sex and activity level. If you're thirsty or sweating remember to drink to replace what's lost.

11. If you go outside with wet hair you'll catch a cold. True or false?

FALSE! Colds are caused by viruses. There is no evidence that going out with wet hair will make you catch a cold.

12. It's healthier to eat egg whites rather than whole eggs. True or false?

FALSE! The yolk is where a lot of nutrition is. It contains over 40 percent of the protein and 90 percent of the calcium, iron, and B vitamins in a whole egg. Eating an egg or two also doesn't raise the risk of heart disease in healthy people.

13. Certain sex positions increase your chances of getting pregnant. True or false?

FALSE! A study in the journal Fertility & Sterility says 40 percent of women think lying on their back with their pelvis elevated increases chance of pregnancy. However, gravity doesn't work in your favour like that. As long as sperm is released into the vagina, they try to find their way into Fallopian tubes.