Here are ten health myths and what is wrong with them.
Myth #1: Saturated Fat is Bad
The fact is that saturated fats are a necessary part of a healthy diet. The issue is the ratio of saturated fats to omega three fats. People eat too much saturated fats and not enough fish, the main source of omega three fatty acids.
Myth #2: You Can Get Omega Three Fats From Plant Sources
Strictly speaking, this is true. However, the omega threes that come from plants aren’t the right kind. Alpha-linolenic acid is the primary omega-3 found in plant sources like flax seeds. Most of it is burned for energy. Fish oils have EPA and DHA. DHA is very important for developing fetuses and the eyes. It is also essential for brain structure and health — it has been shown to protect against Alzheimer’s and other brain issues associated with aging. You just don’t get EPA and DHA from plant source omega-3s, or at best very little.
Myth #3: Coconut Oil is Bad for You
Coconut oil contains medium chain fatty acids that are antimicrobial. That is, it kills off viruses, bacteria and fungus. It is a saturated fatty acid, so you do need to have enough omega three fats for the right balance.
Myth #4: There is a “Good” Cholesterol and a “Bad” Cholesterol
Ah, the big “cholesterol is bad” myth. Cholesterol has many purposes. It is a transporter of fats, it helps in the digestion of fats, it makes up hormones especially sex hormones — you wouldn’t be interested in sex if it weren’t for cholesterol!
One of cholesterol’s jobs is as a transporter of fats. Low density lipoproteins, the “bad” cholesterol moves fats from the liver to the tissues which need the fats — where it can make those wonderful sex hormones. High density lipoproteins, the “good” cholesterol transports fats to the liver for processing.
The most famous study ever done on cholesterol, the Framingham Heart Study study, found absolutely no one-to-one relationship of cholesterol levels to coronary heart disease. The real culprit was found to be homocysteine which causes cholesterol to deposit on artery walls.
Myth #5: Menopause Symptoms are Normal
While menopause symptoms are common, they are not normal. Most women experience these symptoms because of a diet rich in sugar and other refined carbohydrates which weakens the adrenals and their ability to produce hormones. See my article “30 symptoms of adrenal fatigue” for details.
Myth #6: PMS Symptoms are Normal
Same issue as menopause symptoms. More information in “30 symptoms of adrenal fatigue.”
Myth #7: Honey is Okay
Sorry, sugar is sugar whatever form it comes in. It metabolizes the same way in the body as white sugar. This includes maple syrup, fruit juice, dried fruit, sweet fruits like oranges and red apples and just about anything else you can think of. The only sweeteners that aren’t so bad are alcohol sugars like xylotol though too much can cause gastrointestinal issues. Stevia is the only one that one hundred percent OK.
Note: all artificial sweeteners are chemicals. All have been shown to cause serious problems. And, the latest research shows that artificial sweeteners actually cause you to eat more and thus gain weight.
Myth #8: Whole Wheat Bread is Good for You
Whole wheat bread has a glycemic index of 80. That means that is causes a spike in blood sugar to which the body responds with a spike in insulin. High insulin levels is the main cause of the major conditions that we see all to much of today. Ground up grains quickly convert to sugar too fast.
Myth #9: Germs are to be Completely Avoided
More and more reports are coming out saying that the antimicrobial soaps we are using are causing many problems. Not only environmental, but in that we are too clean. The immune system needs to be exposed to microbes in order to be activated. Children that are kept too clean have been found to develop serious conditions later in life. And, it turns out that regular soap kills germs just as well as antimicrobial soaps.
Myth #10: Exercise is Essential to Weight Loss
Got your attention on this one didn’t I? Exercise makes you eat more. Just like sweating makes you thirsty, burning off calories will make you hungry. And, there are many undesirable biochemical reactions that happen with strenuous exercise. After a workout the body wants to replenish what was burned off.
There was a great study done by Danish researchers where they trained non-athletes to run a marathon. At the end of eighteen months the eighteen men in the study lost an average of five pounds of body fat. The nine women had no change.
Also consider that a 250 pound man climbing a flight of stairs expends three calories. That’s a quarter teaspoon of sugar, or a hundredth of an ounce of butter. He would have to climb twenty flights of stairs to rid himself of one slice of bread!
Weight gain and weight loss involves a complex of diverse biochemical reactions. The action of insulin is one of the main ones. Hormones like estrogen and lipoprotein lipase contribute significantly. There is also toxicity, heredity, what foods are being consumed and more to consider.
Note: Exercise is good for you, the evidence is undeniable. By itself though, it just won’t do much to help you lose weight. The benefits of exercise are undeniable, just don’t expect it to help you lose weight, unless you restrict calories.
Science has cleared up these and many other myths, but people continue to believe in them and live their lives as though they were true. Many come about because of poor science, that is, scientists often only looked at part of the story. Some heath myths were even started by politicians! Consequently, there are plenty more health related myths out there ready to be to debunked.