Wellness Wednesday: Health Myths that Just Aren't True

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Common Health Myths Debunked: Little Flecks of Gold

Sometimes, I hear some really bizarre things about diet and fitness. While some of these things are a one-time reason to shake my head, some of these myths seem to be commonly accepted as facts. Here are the health-myths I hear all the time:

Muscle can turn to fat and vice versa. 
I always have to shake my head when I hear people say this. By burning fat and building muscle, you swap out fat for muscle, but the actual fat does not turn into muscle. The opposite is also true: while you can lose lean muscle mass and gain weight, the actual muscle is not turning into fat.

You can spot-reduce your love handles, thighs, arms etc. through calisthenics and weight-lifting.
While crunches will strengthen your abs, they won't give you a flat stomach. It all goes back to what we previously talked about: fat cannot turn into muscle. However, by reducing fat and weight training all over, you can create a very toned look. (There is one caveat to this rule: some studies have shown that HIIT training may reduce belly fat.)

Fat and carbs will make you fat, but eat all the protein you want.
The truth is, each of these three groups is essential to the way your body functions. A steady lack of carbohydrates in your diet can cause ketosis and a number of other problems. A certain amount of fat is also necessary for your body to function properly. And, while protein helps build muscle, excess protein is still stored as fat, just like fat or carbohydates. An excess of protein is also linked to heart disease and osteoporosis.

Lifting weights will make you bulky. 
Fortunately, this myth has been getting a much-deserved bad rep lately. Since women produce less testosterone than men, gaining large amounts of muscle is usually a very intentional process, not something that will happen if you just hit the gym.

Animal products are bad for you.
While vegan diets can certainly be done in a healthy way, restricting meat, eggs and dairy from your diet can actually do more harm than good. It's difficult to find plant foods that provide as much protein, calcium, vitamin D and iron as these foods do, and vitamin B12 can only be found in animal products.

Anything you eat after 8 pm will go straight to your thighs.
While there is some science to the times you eat certain foods, there is nothing in your body that says, "Oh, these calories are coming in at 8:34: better send the to the thighs." The main problems with eating at night is that you're often hungriest later in the day and if you've already eaten enough for the day, you're at risk for exceeding your calorie limit.

Are there any myths (health-related or not) that you hear all the time that you wish would just go away?

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