10 Health Rumors That Aren’t True

10 Health Rumors That Aren’t True

Rumors circulate online at an unfathomable speed, and like many urban legends, some can pick up so much attention that we start to assume they are true. Let’s take a look at some common health rumors that may have worried us for no reason.

#1. Don’t drink cold water after eating – it will cause cancer.

I encountered this myth personally when my niece returned from an extended trip to Hong Kong. She had stayed with a few families who convinced her that cold water would lead to certain death, and insisted we all enjoy room-temperature water with our meals. Luckily for those of us who enjoy a cold glass of water, this rumor has never been supported by medical evidence.

#2. Muscle can turn into fat if you stop working out.

This rumor has kept a few people away from weight training, with the misconception that muscles can turn into fat if you stop working out. Muscles and fat are different tissues and cannot transform from one to the other.

#3. The 5-Second Rule.

Most of us are guilty of believing this, or maybe we just want it to be true. The 5-second rule has given us permission to drop food on the floor or another surface and declare that it’s still safe to eat. Unfortunately, this is not true. Any contact can be unsafe - a second is all it takes for that piece of food to pick up bacteria.    

#4. Exercising at night can result in trouble sleeping.

For those of us who may use this as an excuse to skip our workout after a long day, it’s time to embrace fitness in the evening. Exercising at night can actually help you sleep better, and regular exercise at any time of day has been proven to help improve sleeping habits.

#5. Pluck a gray hair and two will grow back.

Many of us have avoided taking a tweezer to a stray gray hair in the fear that more will regenerate. Although this rumor might help hair-color sales, it’s simply untrue. Genetics will likely cause more gray hair to appear once you have spotted one or two, but you won’t cause it to grow if you pull out a strand.

#6. Gluten-free foods are healthier for you.

Unless you have a sensitivity or allergy to gluten, or have celiac disease, gluten-free foods will likely not have any benefit to your health.

#7. Being in cold weather can make you catch a cold.

Many moms have used this claim to get a child to put on their scarf and gloves before playing outside with their friends, but cold weather doesn’t actually make you more susceptible to catching a cold.  Germs are the cause of a cold, so being outside can probably help you avoid being in close contact with someone passing their cold to you.

#8. Cracking your knuckles will give you arthritis.

This rumor probably started with someone who was getting irritated by the sound of someone cracking their knuckles repeatedly, but there is no evidence to suggest that arthritis is more likely to occur in those who have this habit.

#9. Drinking diet soda will help you lose weight.

Many people struggle to cut calories and hope that embracing diet soda will help them achieve their weight loss goals. Unfortunately, artificial sweeteners have been shown to make you crave sugar, which will defeat the purpose.

#10. Feed a cold and starve a fever.

This is a popular myth, but the truth is that you should eat and drink in either case.  If you are sick with either a cold or fever, drinking lots of fluids is important to avoid dehydration.