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8 of the Biggest Health Myths

Updated on June 5, 2016
Chuck Bluestein profile image

At age 16 I was a volunteer at a hospital bacteriology lab. I became a chemist for U.S. government. Then I studied health & related fields.

Lance Armstrong Promotes Myth

Lance Armstrong promoted the myth that he did not believe in sports enhancing drugs and never used them. He won 7 Tour de France races and then lost them.
Lance Armstrong promoted the myth that he did not believe in sports enhancing drugs and never used them. He won 7 Tour de France races and then lost them. | Source

8 Biggest Health Myths

The purpose of this article is to expand your mind and make you more conscious of things instead of being unconscious of things around you. Part of this is to explore present and previous myths. Many of these myths are ingrained in people and the society. This article was written February 16, 2013.

1. Why do People Say "God Bless You" when you sneeze?

This must be a very serious thing if the Almighty Lord God needs to bless you. People do it since their parents told them to do it. Also they see others doing it. The original reason for this is that when you sneeze, evil spirits are trying to possess you. Sneezing is the nose just trying to get rid of (eject) dust or debris. Wikipedia says:

Several possible origins are commonly given. The practice of blessing someone who sneezes, dating as far back as at least AD 77, however, is far older than most specific explanations can account for.[1]

Another explanation suggests that people used to believe that a person's soul could be thrown from their body when they sneezed,[1] that sneezing otherwise opened the body to invasion by the Devil[2] or evil spirits,[3] or that sneezing was the body's effort to force out an invading evil presence.[1] In these cases, "bless you" or "God bless you" is used as a sort of shield against evil.

2. What Causes the Flu?

Flu (also called grippe) is short for influenza since the flu is caused by influence of the stars. The Free Dictionary says:

[Italian, from Medieval Latin influentia, influence (so called apparently from the belief that epidemics were due to the influence of the stars); see influence.]

The present myth is that it is caused by a virus. But many never get the flu. So do these people live in a bubble and never come in contact with a virus? No. It is because they have a strong immune system. People who get the flu have a weak immune system at that time and this acute (temporary) disease improves their immune system helping them to avoid a chronic (permanent) disease. This also applies to a cold. See How to Avoid the Flu or Colds.

3. What Foods Contain Cholesterol or Fiber?

The myth about this is that there is no general rule to determine this or not. Sometimes I will see a vegetable saying that this has no cholesterol as if to imply that other vegetables do have cholesterol. All plant foods contain plenty of fiber unless it has been removed and contain no cholesterol. All animal foods contain cholesterol and contain no fiber. They should teach this in elementary school since it is that simple!

4. What Was the Most Popular Treatment of Medical Doctors in the Late 1800s?

This deals with the myth that medical doctors (MDs) help people to be healthier. The most popular treatment for people at this time was bleeding or bloodletting. George Washington had a very sore throat so the doctors bled 3 pints of blood from him and he died. Please note that if you die from a treatment from a disease, the cause of death is the disease. This is because the treatment would not be needed if the person did not have the disease.

5. The Amount of Calcium that you Consume has Something to do with Osteoporosis

I see this in many places that people should eat more foods with calcium of take a calcium supplement. Of course this advice helps some industries to make more money. Please note that these theories can be tested. U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Milk, dietary calcium, and bone fractures in women: a 12-year prospective study says:

RESULTS: We found no evidence that higher intakes of milk or calcium from food sources reduce fracture incidence.

CONCLUSIONS: These data do not support the hypothesis that higher consumption of milk or other food sources of calcium by adult women protects against hip or forearm fractures.

There are other things that do affect osteoporosis so you can find them at the article, The Real Cause of Osteoporosis. Then the very latest from the U.S. National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements says the following:

Serum calcium is very tightly regulated and does not fluctuate with changes in dietary intakes; the body uses bone tissue as a reservoir for, and source of calcium, to maintain constant concentrations of calcium in blood, muscle, and intercellular fluids. The remaining 99% of the body's calcium supply is stored in the bones and teeth where it supports their structure and function.

It then discusses what causes the body to lose calcium through urination and this is what is important to read. For the above and more see Do You Get Enough Protein and Calcium.

6. The Healthiest Animal Milk for Humans is Cow's Milk

Of course the healthiest milk for humans is human mother's milk but there is no industry to get this. So according to the U.S.D.A. (United States Department of Agriculture), the healthiest milk for humans is goat's milk not cow's milk. More people in the world drink goat's milk than cow's milk. Please note that I am not saying that it is healthy for humans, that are not babies, to drink any animal milk.

Most non-white humans cannot digest cow's milk. Please note that many or most of the black people in America are partly white like President Obama. He is half black but is also half white Irish since his mother is Irish. You could say that he is black Irish☺.

7. People Can Sleep Too Much

This belief probably came about from the following. Someone would sleep over 7 hours and wake up and they felt fine. But they were still tired and they went back to sleep and slept some more. Then they woke up and felt horrible so they figured they must have slept too long.

But if a smoker or heroin addict goes too long without smoking or heroin, they will feel awful. Sleeping is not under conscious control. If a person does not need sleep, he would not be able to fall asleep. That is why you cannot sleep too much. It would be like killing yourself by holding your breath. Breathing is only partly under your control.

So what is this sick feeling from that is mentioned above? When people fast the body goes into a fasting mode where it is getting rid of toxins at an accelerated rate. People can feel awful when this happens. When someone stops fasting, it is said that they broke their fast or to break a fast. This is why the first meal of the day is break-fast.

So when some people sleep more, they go longer without eating and can go into the fasting mode and feel terrible. The same thing can happen when people go too long without eating. Real hypoglycemia is rare. Is there a fake hypoglycemia? Yes, it is described above. The symptoms of the cleansing from the fasting is similar to the symptoms of real hypoglycemia.

8. Salt is Not Bad for Health

If you go to any of the definitive and authoritative websites, they all say that salt is bad for you. But then there are people trying to sell sea salt and they say that salt is bad for you but sea salt is not. The people who really know about this are the medical doctors and the chemists, like me. It is simple chemistry.

[DEFINITIVE-- Done or reached decisively and with authority. AUTHORITATIVE-- 1.Able to be trusted as being accurate or true; reliable: "clear, authoritative information". 2.(of a text) Considered to be the best of its kind and unlikely to be improved upon.]

But first here is a webpage saying that salt is good for you called The Truth About Salt. Actually it does not say that the salt that most people use is good for you, but that sea salt is good for you. This webpage says the quotes in the bible are mostly positive. So I checked. Most of the quotes about salt are about the Salt Sea. Then there were people changed into pillars of salt.

Of course a medical doctor will tell you that that rarely happens. Just kidding! It never happens. The chemistry of it is that salt is not a food. In chemistry (this is not the simple part) there is organic and inorganic substances. This has nothing to do with organically grown. Organic substances are alive or were alive like petroleum. Like all life on this planet, it is carbon based. The molecules are made up of carbon atoms forming chains.

Organic things burn due to the carbon in it. So salt is not organic. It is not a food. It is inorganic like rocks. Here is the simple part. All minerals in the body that are dissolved in blood or lymph fluid (called electrolytes) need to be kept within a certain range. If the concentration goes out of this range then the person dies. It is similar with blood sugar.

The article says that people need salt that is a rock. This is false. People need sodium and it is in almost all foods. But in foods the levels of all minerals are less than 2%. In fact unprocessed foods contain a lot more potassium than sodium. Salt is 40% sodium so the amount of sodium that it puts into the body is way too high.

Joel Fuhrman M.D. has a video below where he says that sea salt is also just as bad as salt. The analogy he gives is that if you add some minerals to heroin, it is still heroin. As far as unprocessed foods the amount of sodium they have in them is at the most double digits like 15 mg. But due to added salt a pizza can contain over 5,000 mg of sodium.

As far as the use of salt in the past, we have refrigeration (including freezing) now that can stop the growth of bacteria. But before this they needed to use salt to control the bacterial growth in the food. I read a whole book on salt that was 500 pages called Salt: A World History. It is a matter of distinguishing science from myth. Here is much more recent article about salt. Note that above the U.S. government above says that it is the main cause of osteoporosis.

This article has more plus a 5 minute video by Michael Greger M.D. that shows the studies prove that people that do not consume salt never get high blood pressure. It proves that salt is the only cause of high blood pressure. So he concludes that salt causes over 1,000 Americans to die per day. Did you know that webMD says consuming salt is worse for health than smoking cigarettes? See How to Live 30 Years Longer.

Pickle and Cucumber Example

A cucumber has no salt and very little sodium. Cut a slice of it (try this experiment yourself to be a scientist) and leave it out for a few hours. You will see it goes bad. Now take a slice of a pickle that is a fermented cucumber and has a lot of sodium from salt. Leave that slice of a pickle out for a week and it is still fine. Then you can eat it. So before refrigeration man learned to use salt and ferment foods. The salt kept the bacterial growth in check until the fermentation could take over.

Please note from the above that people had a lot of strange ideas about health in the past. I have an article about the Cause of High Blood Pressure. In the U.S. 40% of the people above 40 have high blood pressure (hypertension). In the areas where they consume a ratio of 5:1 or higher of potassium to sodium less than 1% of the people have high blood pressure. Wikipedia says:

The sodium-potassium pump was discovered in the 1950s by a Danish scientist, Jens Christian Skou, who was awarded a Nobel Prize in 1997.

In order to maintain the cell membrane potential, cells must keep a low concentration of sodium ions and high levels of potassium ions within the cell (intracellular).

More science. Scientists use experiments to learn things. So the above can be proven with a simple experiment. In fact you can ask your medical or chemistry professors what they think will happen with the following experiment. If someone puts 4 ounces of salt into a pint of water and drinks it, they will be dead within an hour. This was the result of someone who tried it after making a bet. Talk about dead wrong. 4 ounces is a quarter of a pound. Some places sell a buffet of foods by the pound like Whole Foods. The food that I eat usually weighs more than a pound. This will even happen with sea salt since it is all about the amount of sodium.

If you read the labels you will see that they are now adding potassium chloride, a salt, to some foods. 'Salt' is short for one salt known as common table salt or sodium chloride. Potassium chloride has no sodium and increases the potassium to sodium ratio. I have seen it in soups, popcorn and frozen pizzas-- that are very high sodium foods. It is not required by the FDA to list the amount of potassium but many items do to brag about how much they have. For example orange juice usually lists the amount of potassium it has since it has a lot and people need to consume more potassium and less sodium.

Most Americans Should Consume Less Sodium (this article on salt is from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention- It says:

Most of the sodium we consume is in the form of salt, and the vast majority of sodium we consume is in processed and restaurant foods [not from the salt shaker]. Too much sodium is bad for your health. It can increase your blood pressure and your risk for a heart attack and stroke. Heart disease and stroke are the leading causes of death in the United States.

Inadequate Intake of Potassium, Fruits, and Vegetables. Adequate consumption of naturally low sodium foods such as fruits and vegetables provide nutrients such as potassium and fiber. [Fiber is important but not really a nutrient since it is not digested]. In addition to eating low-sodium foods, eating high-potassium foods such as potatoes, beans, bananas, and yogurt can help reduce blood pressure.

Due to the above reasons medical doctors have been trying to get the FDA to make salt a regulated substance. Also most people in the United States are overweight and one third of them are obese. For people concerned about being overweight read the 2 ways that salt makes you overweight on this article, Can Salt Make You Overweight?

Joel Fuhrman on Sea Salt


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    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 

      6 years ago from California

      Nice idea.

    • Chuck Bluestein profile imageAUTHOR

      Chuck Bluestein 

      6 years ago from Morristown, AZ, USA

      I added more about this myth about sneezing from Wikipedia.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 

      6 years ago from California

      Interesting hub. I believe the habit of blessing sneezes comes from suspertition. There is a reason doctors are practicing medicine.


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