We haven’t published these for a while, but this season is ripe with myth busters! Some myths have been well-known for years yet persist, even in the health and wellness professions.

Researchers combed through current advised health practices and found 400 common ones that are in direct contradiction to published research – 400! Sorry to burst any bubbles, but here are a few plus others:

  • Fish Oil does NOT prevent heart disease,
  • Carrying around a life-size baby doll by teenage girls does NOT deter pregnancy (doing so actually increased pregnancies!).
  • The one that many have ignored for a long time now: Step Counters and calorie trackers do NOT help promote weight loss. In fact, those who wear the devices actually ingested more calories and gained weight.

As to this last bullet, here’s another myth buster –

  • Accomplishing 10,000 steps a day is not based on any scientific evidence or health benefits – zero, zip, none! The legend began in 1964 Japan during the Tokyo Olympics. A local company created a pedometer called the manpokei. “Man” stands for “10,000,” “po” stands for “step,” and “kei” stands for “meter” or “gauge.” 10,000 is a very auspicious number in Japanese culture! As it turns out, it was a marketing ploy to get people moving more and to sell pedometers.The number of steps – or physical activity – for health and well-being really depends on health conditions, nutritional intake, what one likes to do, etc. Great if the 10,000 steps message works to get your employees moving more, but incremental measures for employees to increase their activity based on their current level of activity and personal goals is more sustainable, and well, more beneficial.

Want A Few More?

  • HDL – high density lipoprotein or ‘good’ cholesterol – has a cap. Yep. Low level of HDL is a known risk factor for heart disease, but too much (especially over 80), also increases risks. Health is complex and breaking health down into parts doesn’t create health! Reductionism doesn’t make sense. We’re complex beings and health is far more complex than a cholesterol factor.
  • A detox diet does NOT promote or jump-start weight loss. Any initial weight loss resulting from restricting intake is mostly due to water. Unfortunately, yo-yo dieting often results because detox diets are too restrictive. PSSSSSST: Detoxing does not improve energy or cure disease, either.

Okay, now for little good news!

  • It’s never too late to be more physically active. And exercise IS beneficial. People of all ages benefit from sitting less including preventing cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance, Alzheimer’s, and much more!

Here’s the  Myth Buster NY Times article based on this research article