Something to Think About

"I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love."
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

Monday, February 25, 2013

5 Health Myths and Facts


A lot of people have advice on how to live a healthier life!

We've all received advice from our mothers and grandmothers, our friends, doctors, doctors on television shows, magazine articles, and heard results of studies that sometimes contradict each other.  Sometimes the advice we receive might not be based in fact.  We should always try to take advice with a grain of salt and investigate - especially if something sounds too good to be true or too ridiculous.  I'm not saying that you should disregard what your doctor tells you.  He or she is a good source of information*. You should always be wary of advice from other sources -especially if they are trying to sell you something.


  1. The average adult should drink 6 to 8 glasses of water a day.  No one knows for sure where this came from but the person who wrote this article seems to think it might have come from a book written in 1974 called Nutrition for Good Health by Dr. Frederick J. Stare.  The problem is, he is taken a bit out of context. His actual quote from the book reads, "How much water each day? This is usually well regulated by various physiological mechanisms but, for the average adult, somewhere around 6 to 8 glasses per 24 hours and this can be in the form of coffee, tea, milk, soft drinks, beer, etc. Fruits and vegetables are also good sources of water."  So it seems like the doctor is telling us that our bodies naturally will prompt us to take in the amount of liquid that is needed and that we can get the liquid from different sources.  We do not, in fact, need to drink all that water every day.
  2. Peptic ulcers are caused by stress.  I'm not sure if this is still a common belief but I remember hearing it a lot while I was growing up.  The thing is:  there is no basis in fact.  Ulcers are most often caused by a bacterial infection and but sometimes by the use of over-the-counter pain medications.  They can be exasperated by heavy alcohol use and smoking. They are not, however, caused by stress.
  3. Eating too much sugar will cause hyperactivity in young children. You know how it goes... You take your young child to a birthday party and when you arrive to pick her up, you are faced with an over-excited child who is practically bouncing off the walls!  It must be the sugar, you think.  You'd be wrong, however. There is no evidence that this is true.  Study after study has shown no connection between attention or hyperactivity and sugar. 
  4. You'll gain weight if you eat too late.  I'm sure most of us have heard this one!  The theory seems to be that you will not burn as many calories while you sleep as you do while awake so you don't want to fill your stomach before bedtime. Problem is, this appears to be incorrect!  Our bodies continue to burn calories while we sleep   The amount of calories consumed versus the amount of calories burned will indicate whether or not you gain weight.  It has nothing to do with when the food is eaten!  As long as you aren't going over the number of calories that you should eat each day, you shouldn't gain weight.
  5. Fish is brain food.  It seems like grandma got it right with this one!  Fish is, indeed, good for our brains! Studies seem to indicate that elderly people who ate fish at least once a week did better on memory test than their peers who didn't.  Other studies seem to suggest a reduced chance of developing dementia or Alzheimer's disease.  Additionally, eating fish at least twice a week may help to reduce your chances of having a stroke.  This is good news to me as I'm a fish and seafood lover!  One does have to try to avoid eating fish that might contain higher levels of mercury.  This chart and others like it will help you identify the fish that is safer to eat.
Have you heard any health myths that seem too good to be true?  How about ones that sound too ridiculous?  

* Contrary to popular belief, doctors are taught all about nutrition in medical school so don't believe the myth that they don't know anything about it!

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