Common Beliefs 2: Medical Myths

(adapted from

This is a selection of the ten most common medical myths, but do feel free to add your own to the comments section below.

10- Sugar Hyperactivity

Hyperactive1The Myth: Sugar makes kids hyperactive

After some scientists have examined how children react to diets containing different levels of sugar, it has been confirmed that there aren’t any differences in behavior between the children who had sugar and those who did not.” This includes artificial and natural sources of sugar. Interestingly, in the study, parents who were told their children had been given sugar when they hadn’t, noted that the child was more hyperactive. So it seems it is all in the parent’s mind.

9- Body Heat

Picture 1-71The Myth: You lose most of your body heat through your head

A military study many years ago tested the loss of temperature in soldiers when exposed to very cold temperatures. They found rapid heat loss in the head – and so the idea that we lose heat through our heads was born. But what they didn’t tell you was that the soldiers were fully clothed except for their heads. The fact is that, completely naked, you lose approximately 10% of your body heat through the head – the other 90% is lost via the other parts of your body.

8-Water Consumption

300 255365The Myth: You should drink at least eight glasses of water a day

The origins of this myth is most likely the fact that a 1945 government agency said that the human body needed around 8 glasses of fluid a day. This included the fluid from all of the foods we eat and drinks like tea and coffee. Somehow over time “fluid” turned to “water” and the modern water myth arose. So, in reality, if you are thirsty, drink some water. If you are not, don’t.

7-Gummed Up

800Px-Chewing Gum StickThe Myth: Chewing gum takes seven years to pass through your system

I am sure we have all been told at least once in our life by a concerned adult, not to swallow gum as it will take seven years to leave our bodies. This is right up there with the whole “fruit seed growing a tree in your stomach” silliness, but while most adults realize the tree story is a myth, they don’t realize that the gum one is too. It is true that gum is not digestible in the human body, but it simply passes whole through your system. It doesn’t stick to your insides, it just continues along with any food you have eaten and pops out the other end.

6 -Arthritic Knuckles

The Myth: Cracking your knuckles will cause arthritis in later life

The cracking sound in the knucCrucking Knucklekles is caused by the bones moving apart and forming a gas bubble – the sound is the bubble bursting. It is quite common to hear someone warning a knuckle-cracker that they will get arthritis, but the worst that can happen to a compulsive-cracker is that their finger joints may weaken over time.

5-Baby teeth

The Myth: Teething causes a feverBaby-Teething-715722

Scientific studies have been done in the area of teething which show no correlation at all between fever and teething. If your baby is suffering from a new tooth and they also have a fever, it is advisable to check for other causes of the fever. The same is true of diarrhea which is also often blamed on teething in infants. It is always better to be safe than sorry when dealing with the health of children.

4-Eating spinach can make you stronger

I am sure that most of us have seen Popeye getting stronger and more powerful with a tin of spinach. In fact, Popeye is the first word that comes to mind when we hear about spinach. The truth about this lovely myth is that spinach does not make you stronger. On the contrary, spinach is a vegetable that contains low levels of iron. There are other green vegetables that contain more iron than spinach.

The myth that spinach is a full iron vegetable emerged from a typo mistake made in a report many years ago. In the report spinach was noted to have 34mg of iron (per half tin) but in reality is has only 3.4mg. This typo let people believe that spinach is a full iron vegetable and in addition to the low price of spinach it became very popular. Another reason that this medical myth lasts for so many years, and will continue to exist for a number of years is, of course, Popeye!

3-Back Pain

Back-Pain-921The Myth: Back pain should be treated with bed rest

The opposite is actually true in this case. Bed rest can prevent the lower back from fully recovering – or at the very least, delay the recovery significantly. Patients who continue to engage in ordinary activities recover faster and usually have fewer problems with recurring pain and other back troubles. Interestingly, many studies have shown that this is not just true of back problems, but also many other medical problems.


2-Midnight Snacks

Snack-Nov26-08The Myth: Eating at night makes you fat

Secret snackers rejoice! This is a complete myth. It doesn’t matter what time of day you eat, as long as you eat only the total calories that you burn each day, you will not gain weight. It is as simple as that. Having said that, the routine of three meals a day at the same time each day can have other benefits in life (routine is good and it helps humans work more effectively), but snacks at night are no worse than snacks in the morning or afternoon.

1-Weight Gain

Picture 2-46The Myth: It is harder to lose weight than to gain weight

Actually – once you get your head around a new eating pattern, math and science are working in your favor. It is mathematically easier to lose than to gain. For example, if you eat 3,500 calories more than you burn, you will gain 0.3 pounds (0.14 kg), but if you burn 3,500 calories more than you eat, you will lose 1 pound (0.45 kg).

Have a fun session with these doctor, doctor…jokes, click below to start laughing!

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