The healthy guidelines you live by can actually be ridiculous myths.
Last week, the rule that you should get 10,000 steps a day made the news when it was reported that the number was actually a Japanese marketing ploy with little scientific basis.
It’s not the only health fact that’s actually a fiction, said Dr. Donald Hensrud, an associate professor of medicine and nutrition at the Mayo Clinic.
“It’s important to look at what scientific evidence there is when evaluating the veracity of these myths,” Hensrud told The Post.
Here he walks us through six commonly accepted myths and tells us what is really true.
Drinking eight glasses of water a day is crucial
Swallowing 64 grams of pristine H2O every day isn’t as important as we’ve been told. And some people can achieve adequate hydration mainly through the foods they eat and other beverages. Coffee and even alcohol can also contribute to hydration if consumed in moderate amounts.
“There’s nothing magical about 8 glasses,” Hensrud said. “The amount of water a person needs can vary quite a bit depending on several factors: how hot it is outside, how much they exercise and their diet.”
Eating late at night caused weight gain
Many diets over the years have promised results by introducing a curfew on when food is consumed, but according to Hensrud, the most important thing is what — not when — you eat.
“In general, calories are calories,” he said. He does note, however, that restricting food to certain hours can be helpful, as it encourages you to eat less and not mindlessly snack before “The Late Show.”
Breakfast is the most important meal
It’s long been seen as the VIP of meals, but there’s little to justify that position.
“The evidence is contradictory,” Hensrud said. “When people eat breakfast, they are less likely to overeat later in the day [but] on the other hand, there is some evidence that it may not be as good as what we have learned in the past.”
Hensrud said some people have found that intermittent fasting and skipping breakfast works for them, and there’s no evidence that says not eating breakfast affects overall health. If you’d rather skip it and that works for you, you don’t need to change the habit.
“In general, the breakfast is good, but it’s not as clear as what we used to think,” he said.
Organic food is better for you
Biological food sounds like it should be better for you, but it might not make that much of a difference to your health overall.
Hensrud said that while it is widely believed that organic foods are healthier than non-organic foods, this is not necessarily true.
“It’s a good idea to wash fruits and vegetables [of pesticides] before eating, of course, but there don’t seem to be many adverse health effects [if pesticides are consumed]”The bottom line is that people should be eating more plant-based products, fruits and vegetables — whether they’re organic or not.”
Hensrud said organic food is “definitely better for the environment” because it has less soil, water and air pollution than food grown non-organically, but it is “more of an environmental problem than a health problem.”
Training at a certain time is the most effective
Hensrud said he doesn’t have any evidence to suggest that exercising at a particular time of day or weather burns more calories, adding that if it does, it’s “subtle” and other factors are involved.
“If you exercise when it’s hot (depending on how hot it is), you might burn a little more calories, but the problem would be that you can just keep exercising,” he said.
In general, you should exercise when you can fit it into your schedule.
“The best time to exercise is when it works for people,” he said.
Coffee is bad for you
Good news for caffeine drinkers: Your cup of joe won’t negatively affect your overall health.
“It’s one of the biggest health myths out there,” Hensrud said of Java’s bad reputation. In reality, “coffee has been associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, liver disease, liver cancer, improved mood and reduced risk of depression, better kidney function, reduced risk of possibly gout and possibly kidney stones and gallbladder stones.”
He said there are a few negative health effects (warning that it can sometimes be harmful to pregnant women or women trying it), but in general it depends on how an individual person metabolizes caffeine — which could explain why some are more susceptible to it. effects.
“The bottom line is that coffee is a healthy substance,” Hensrud said. “It has a lot of antioxidants and the side effects [if experienced] are what should limit consumption, not the fear that it would be bad.”