Fact v fiction: The truth behind health myths
Does an apple a day keep the doctor away? Can carrots help you see better? Our experts bust some popular health and diet myths.
Medical, diet and wellness advice changes rapidly, and it can be hard to keep up.
So how do you know what’s true, and what’s not, when it comes to health and wellness?
Jo Stanley went straight to the source – our House of Wellness TV experts – to sort fact from fiction.
Diet myths – dietitian Susie Burrell
Eggs are bad for you
Definitely untrue, says Susie Burrell.
“Eggs are a fantastic whole food. They’re full of nutrition and just because they contain cholesterol, like all animal foods, it doesn’t mean they’re going to increase blood cholesterol. They’re a very healthy food,” she says.
Carbs are evil
Again, it’s a furphy.
“I’m often asked whether people should cut carbs but the truth is natural carbohydrates found in dairy and fruit are the body’s primary source of fuel,” says Susie.
“They’re the ones the body runs best on and it’s just about how much you have, and at what time.”
- Related story: Susie Burrell’s five-day detox plan
Late night snacks aren’t good for you
There is some truth that late-night eating can contribute to weight gain.
“We now know the body is programmed on a circadian rhythm,” Susie says.
“Calories we consume later the day are more likely to lead to weight gain because of the hormonal effects, and also we’re naturally less active and not burning those calories off.”
- Related story: A beginner’s guide to prescription nutrition
- Related story: Why you should consider an interval approach to weight loss
Sleep myths – sleep expert Dr Mark Levi
Napping is healthy
“It tends to be a flag something is wrong,” says Dr Mark Levi.
“Why do you need that nap? Are you getting enough sleep or are you watching TV all night?”
His consensus? Thirty minutes is as long as you need so make it a short, sharp power nap.
This one gets stamped a maybe.
If you’re only sleeping five hours, you’re 300 more times to have a car accident.
Five hours is enough sleep
“People think they can, but you’re taxing that body really, really badly,” says Dr Levi.
“If you’re only sleeping five hours, you’re 300 more times to have a car accident.”
OK, we’re convinced! This is a myth.
- Related story: How to get a better night’s sleep
- Related story: Is adrenal fatigue the reason you’re always tired?
Digestion myths – naturopath Dr David Jivan
Drink water with your food
Not true, says Dr David Jivan.
“When you drink water or alcohol or any liquid with your food, you actually dilute the enzymes and acids that are secreted to help digest that food in the first place,” Dr Jivan says.
“Chew your food 15 to 30 times and avoid water 30 minutes either side of your meal.”
- Related story: 5 easy ways to boost your gut health
Dental health myths – cosmetic dentist Dr Luke Cronin
Apples are good for your teeth
“Apples have actually got a lot of sugar in them,” warns Dr Luke Cronin.
“You’re looking at three or four teaspoons’ worth.”
So remember to brush after an apple!
Whitening damages teeth enamel
Another common myth, says Dr Cronin.
Whitening affects the inside of your teeth not the outside.
“The enamel on your teeth is translucent, and it’s the inside part that has the colour so it whitens the inside and the teeth look lighter,” he says.
- Related story: How to beat bad breath
Meanwhile, Jo says her grandmother told her one old wives’ tale she’ll always believe: “Never leave the house without clean underwear in case you get hit by a bus!”
Catch up on the full episode of The House of Wellness TV show to see more from Zoe, Ed, and the team.