Habits are hard to break. A lot of habits are caused by misguided information given to you by family or friends, like how drinking milk every day is good for you when in reality 75% of the population is actually lactose intolerant (24). It’s about time you start learning the facts from the myths and break these bad habits for a healthier mind and body.
Myths vs. Facts: Habits You’ll Want to Change
1. “You can catch up on lost sleep by sleeping longer”
Let’s say you work shifts, and last night you slept for only five hours, but that’s okay because tonight you’ll sleep for ten hours, adding an extra five hours of sleep from the night before, so you can catch up and be well rested.
This is a myth- Unfortunately, you cannot just catch up on sleep by sleeping longer. This has actually been proven to be unhealthy because you could start to lose your ability to focus. There is no way to recoup lost sleep but there are ways to get quality sleep such as keeping the exact same wake time and bedtime schedule, even on weekends to keep things consistent. Eliminate noise and light from your sleep environment by using earplugs and eye masks. The national sleep foundation recommends that adults should sleep anywhere from 7-9 hours a night. (1,2)
2. “The less you eat the more weight you’ll lose”
You already know the popular strategy which most diets are based on that if you eat less, or do not even eat at all you’ll lose weight because your body isn’t gaining any fat or calories.
This is a myth- starving yourself or skipping out on a meal is not a recommended solution to losing weight. In fact, this is actually very unhealthy for the body as your body needs energy and nutrients to function. Instead, try whole foods, such as whole grains or fruits and vegetables as they contain more vitamins and fibers. Not only will changing to whole foods help you in your process to lose weight, but they provide added benefits to keep you healthy. Check out this article for tips on healthy breakfast ideas to help burn belly fat. (22)
3. “You need dairy to get enough calcium”
Drinking milk at least once a day can provide you with strong, healthy bones!
This is a myth- Dairy isn’t as healthy as you may think it is. Contrary to popular belief, too much dairy does not lead to healthy bones and has also been associated with osteoporosis. It’s okay to consume calcium, but too much of it can raise the risk of cancer, especially prostate cancer. Try other sources of calcium such as canned wild-caught salmon, which contains about 181 mg of calcium. You could also try dark leafy greens such as collard greens or turnip greens. Collard greens contain about 267 mg of calcium. (3,4,20,21)
4. “Cardio is the best exercise for losing weight”
Running is not only good for the heart but it is the best way to lose weight and see effective results.
This is a myth- Yes, running is great for your heart, and it is one option for losing weight, but it is not the best or the only option. There are also better options if you’re looking to build lean muscle mass in particular. For example, after a weightlifting workout, your muscles need energy to repair their fibers, therefore they take the energy from your calories. Studies have shown that you burn twice as many calories in a weightlifting workout than in a cardio workout. Read this article for more information on the benefits of weightlifting. Check out this article for 5 workout tips, or watch the video below for a beginner’s tutorial on weight training. (5,6,11)
5. “Brushing your teeth after every meal is good for you”
After every meal, you should brush your teeth so you don’t stain or ruin your teeth.
This is a myth- You should not be brushing your teeth after every meal. In fact, this is actually bad for your teeth. After eating acidic food, your teeth are susceptible to damage, so when you brush your teeth in this weakened state, you are actually damaging your enamel (the substance protecting your teeth). Instead, wait an hour after eating to brush your teeth. Another option is to consume non-acidic food to finish off your meal such as cucumbers, lettuce or collard greens. (7,8)
6. “Working out every day is good for your body”
Working out every day is the only way to keep your mind and body healthy.
This is a myth- working out every single day isn’t as beneficial as you may think. Your muscles need to rest in order to grow. Exercising can help cope with depression and anxiety, but that being said, too much exercise can have the opposite effect such as having anxiety over workout schedules. The best routine looks different for everyone. Instead, research some guidelines for finding the right balance based on your goals and your abilities. (9)
7. “You should apply moisturizer while your skin is dry”
The best time to apply moisturizer on the skin is when it’s dry and flaky.
This is a myth- in fact, for optimal results, you should apply moisturizer while you’re skin is still damp as the moisturizer traps the moisture that is still on your skin. Check out this article for more information on when to apply moisturizer for maximum benefits. (10)
8. “Flossing isn’t as important as brushing your teeth”
Flossing is only beneficial if you have food stuck in your teeth, otherwise, it isn’t that important.
This is a myth- flossing your teeth is an important part of oral hygiene that most people seem to skip. In fact, if you’re skipping flossing, you are skipping approximately 33% of teeth cleaning and this can lead to gum disease, decay, and pain. Flossing is cheap and easy and does not take up a lot of your time. In the long run, your teeth will thank you. (23)
9. “Drinking diet soda is a better alternative to regular soda”
If you’re on a diet you should drink diet soda over regular soda because there are fewer calories.
This is a myth- drinking too much of these diet sodas can have the same effect as the regular sodas, ie. leading to weight gain as they contain aspartame, an artificial sweetener. Aspartame can cause birth defects, brain cancer, and diabetes. The best alternative is to stop drinking soda all together, as these carbonated drinks are doing you more harm than anything. in fact, drinking diet sodas sends a signal to the brain which makes it expect glucose. However, since there is no sugar, you experience more intense cravings after the fact, leading to overeating. (15, 16, 25)
10. “Daily showers are good for your body”
Showering every day and scrubbing your body is ideal and the best way to stay clean.
This is a myth- in fact, showering every day in hot water and scrubbing your body is actually bad for your skin as it dries it out. If the idea of not showering every day bothers you, try showering in colder water and scrubbing the body less frequently so that you aren’t irritating the skin. (11,12)
11. “You should eat a protein bar after you exercise”
Eating protein bars after you exercise is a great way to give your body the energy it needs after a workout.
This is a myth- consuming protein bars may not be as healthy as you may think. Many of them contain lots of sugar and sugar substitutes, preservatives and artificial flavors. Instead, try drinking a plant-based or organic whey protein shake, you can check out this article for healthy protein shake recipes. It’s also important to add electrolytes and minerals to help rehydration after a workout, so why not make your own electrolyte drink at home, check out this article for recipe ideas. (11,13,17,19)
- You can’t “catch up on sleep”. (n.d.). Retrieved April 10, 2017, from https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-news/you-cant-catch-sleep
- National Sleep Foundation Recommends New Sleep Times. (n.d.). Retrieved April 10, 2017, from https://sleepfoundation.org/press-release/national-sleep-foundation-recommends-new-sleep-times
- What is Osteoporosis and What Causes It? (n.d.). Retrieved April 10, 2017, from https://www.nof.org/patients/what-is-osteoporosis/
- Dairy: 6 Reasons You Should Avoid It at all Costs. (2017, January 03). Retrieved April 10, 2017, from http://drhyman.com/blog/2010/06/24/dairy-6-reasons-you-should-avoid-it-at-all-costs-2/
- Fetters, A. (2013, November 22). What’s Best for Weight Loss: Cardio or Strength Training? Retrieved April 10, 2017, from http://www.womenshealthmag.com/weight-loss/cardio-vs-weight-training
- The 5 Best Strength Moves for Weight Loss. (n.d.). Retrieved April 10, 2017, from http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20366277,00.html#squat-to-overhead-press-0
- Don’t brush after EVERY meal! (n.d.). Retrieved April 10, 2017, from http://www.hamiltonsmiles.com/blog/2016/04/dont-brush-after-every-meal
- Callison, T. (2013, January 01). What Is Tooth Enamel? Retrieved April 10, 2017, from http://www.colgate.com/en/us/oc/oral-health/basics/mouth-and-teeth-anatomy/article/what-is-tooth-enamel-0113
- 9 Benefits of Skipping Your Workout. (2015, December 10). Retrieved April 10, 2017, from http://www.shape.com/fitness/workouts/9-reasons-skip-your-workout-sometimes
- Miller, %. (2015, November 14). These Are The Exact Times To Apply Lotion For Maximum Benefits. Retrieved April 10, 2017, from http://www.self.com/story/the-best-time-to-moisturize
- Schwecherl, L. (2017, March 02). 26 Healthy Habits That Really Aren’t So Healthy. Retrieved April 10, 2017, from http://greatist.com/health/26-healthy-habits-really-arent-so-healthy
- Barbour, M. (2011, April 27). Seven daily sins: Shower every day? Rinse after brushing teeth? These ‘healthy’ habits could be devilishly bad for you. Retrieved April 10, 2017, from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1380504/Seven-daily-sins-Shower-day-Rinse-brushing-teeth-These-healthy-habits-devilishly-bad-you.html
- 10 Food You Thought Were Healthy But Are Actually Not – Page 3 of 11. (2017, January 25). Retrieved April 10, 2017, from http://healthsfitness.com/nutrition/10-food-thought-healthy-actually-not/3
- Chakraborty, R. (n.d.). 6 Everyday Habits That Seem Healthy But Do More Harm Than Good. Retrieved April 10, 2017, from http://www.mensxp.com/health/healthy-habits/30991-6-everyday-habits-that-seem-healthy-but-do-more-harm-than-good.html
- Aspartame’s Hidden Dangers. (n.d.). Retrieved April 10, 2017, from http://www.mercola.com/article/aspartame/hidden_dangers.htm
- Aspartame. (n.d.). Retrieved April 10, 2017, from https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-causes/aspartame.html
- 3 Post-Workout Protein Shakes You’ll Actually Want to Drink. (2015, November 18). Retrieved April 10, 2017, from http://www.womenshealthmag.com/food/post-workout-protein-shakes
- 15 Foods That Help You Stay Hydrated. (n.d.). Retrieved April 10, 2017, from http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20709014,00.html
- Mama, W. (n.d.). Natural Electrolyte Sports Drink Recipe | Wellness Mama. Retrieved April 10, 2017, from https://wellnessmama.com/2575/natural-sports-drink/
- Collard greens. (n.d.). Retrieved April 10, 2017, from http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=138
- Calcium Sources in Food. (2013, July 24). Retrieved April 10, 2017, from https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/calcium-sources/
- The foods you need to be putting in your breakfast to help you burn belly fat all day long. (2016, August 04). Retrieved April 10, 2017, from http://theheartysoul.com/5-breakfast-tips/
- Borreli, L. (2015, April 17). 6 Dental Care Myths To Sink Your Teeth Into. Retrieved April 10, 2017, from http://www.medicaldaily.com/oral-hygiene-6-dental-care-myths-may-be-killing-your-pearly-whites-306697
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