The Internet is a fantastic tool for getting so many things done, but sometimes it just cannot be trusted. When it comes to your health, everybody online has an opinion, but that opinion is very rarely rooted in scientific fact. Below are some of the most popular health myths floating around, and the facts behind them.
- Juice Cleanses Detox Your Body
There are thousands of webpages and companies online claiming that juice cleanses can cure a variety of ills. Lots of vague claims are made, such as cleanses flushing out your system or removing toxins from the body. In fact, they’re sold as a miracle pill for almost everything. They’re said to help you lose weight, take in more nutrients from fruits and vegetables, and can even help cure some diseases.
In truth, juice cleanses are just another fad diet. Juicing your vegetables actually removes some of the nutrients from them, and they can be dangerous for some people. For example, diabetics need to careful of the high sugar content.
- Celery Has Negative Calories
A popular urban legend claims celery has negative calories, so if you eat a stick, you’re actually creating a calorie deficit within your body. Sadly, though, this just isn’t true. The theory around celery came about because of the thermic effect of food, which is the amount of energy used by the body to digest food. This uses roughly 10 to 20 percent of the calories contained in the food, so if you ate a 7 calorie stick of celery, you’re still left with at least five calories.
- Diet Soda Makes You Gain Weight
You may have heard that drinking diet soda makes you gain weight, but recent studies have proven that this isn’t the case. In a 12-week study, people who drank diet soda lost an average of 13 pounds; 44 percent more than those who drank water only. They also reported feeling more satisfied. This has helped confirm that artificial sweeteners can help you lose weight, when used as part of a healthy diet.
- MSG Is Bad For You
Monosodium glutamate, or MSG, has a bad reputation in food circles. It’s been blamed for all manner of things, from headaches to causing brain damage. While we certainly don’t know enough yet about the flavor enhancer, there’s not enough evidence to support claims of its poisonous effects. The issue seems to come from the fact it is often found in highly processed foods. Avoiding foods that contain MSG because of their processed nature may be a good idea, but MSG itself, in small doses, shouldn’t do most people any harm.
- Gluten-Free Foods Are Better For You
Gluten free foods have rocketed in popularity in recent years, mostly due to their healthy image. People with celiac disease or sensitivities have reported feeling much healthier since cutting gluten from their diets, so naturally we feel that doing the same will benefit everyone.
In fact, people without these medical issues can tolerate gluten just fine. Cutting it from your diet won’t harm your health, but it probably won’t improve it either. Some gluten-free foods aren’t as healthy as we think they are, either. For example, soda is technically gluten-free, and some gluten-free breads use a lot of refined starch.
- Carbs Make You Gain Weight
Carbs have become the evil of the food world in recent years, with many fad diets recommending you cut them from your diet as they will make you gain weight. However, when examined more closely, it becomes clear this simply isn’t true. In order for carbs to create fat in the body, they would have to work in conjunction with poor diet and lack of exercise.
The theory is often far too oversimplified to be useful. A Pop Tart and a pear are both carbohydrate-rich, but only one is unhealthy. The key is to eat your carbs in healthy foods, such as fruits and vegetables, rather than in refined and unhealthy foods.
Health myths seem to come about as people are looking for quick ways to become healthy and lose weight. The problem is, it’s clear that the only way to become healthy is to eat nutritious foods and get plenty of exercise. It’s no quick fix, but it’s much better for you in the long run.