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Some Health Claims to Question...

Updated: Nov 8, 2023

In the March 2023 AARP Bulletin, a health-related article discusses 16 common beliefs about wellness that don't hold up. I've selected several critical claims where I have provided additional context and accuracy. Misinformation is potentially dangerous, so I felt compelled to help dispel some common health beliefs.

Coffee Dehydrates You

Caffeine is a mild diuretic; a study published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people urinate roughly the same amount whether they drink soda, coffee, water, or a sports drink.

***Writer's comment: This is very encouraging as I often enjoy a cup or two of one of my favorite beverages.

Some Health Claims to Question

Cranberry Juice Cures Urinary Tract Infections

Consuming a lot of cranberry juice won't help with a bladder infection. Antibiotics are typically used to address such an infection. Cranberry juice may help prevent but not treat bladder infections.

***Writer's comment: So cranberry juice can only be used proactively to help prevent bladder infections.

***According to this week's NY Times, contaminated meat can also cause UTIs.

You Need 10,000 Steps a Day to Boost Longevity

The latest research suggests that as few as 6,000 steps can do it. One 2022 study found that adults 60 and older who averaged between 6,000 and 8,000 steps daily had a 50 to 60 percent lower chance of early death.

***Writer's comment: This is reassuring as a person often reads you need at least 10,000 steps per day to maintain excellent health and boost longevity.

You Need to Consume Eight Glasses of Water a Day

Many people aim towards eight glasses of water a day. Still, according to Karyn Eilber, a professor of urology at Cedar-Sinai Medical Center, there needs to be more science behind this number. Urine color is a better indication; it should be light to medium yellow.

***Writer's comment: If it's hard to track how much water a person consumes daily, a person's urine color provides another option.

You Can Lose Weight and Toxins with a Juice Cleanse

Some nutritionists tout juice cleanses to lose weight, but research shows no proof of such a thing. In addition, some juice may put your health at risk.

If it's an Actual Heart Attack, You Will Have Chest Pain

According to a study published in the JAMA, about 31 percent of men and 42 percent of women don't have chest pain during a heart attack. The other symptoms to consider are light-headedness, nausea, and pain or discomfort in the back, neck, jaw or one or both arms.

Some Health Claims to Question

The Flu Shot Can Give You the Flu

This claim exasperates some doctors who say it's impossible – the vaccine comprises only inactive pieces of the virus. After the shot, people who got the flu may have picked up another respiratory infection. Just to be clear, it takes about two weeks for the flu shot to be effective.

Green or Yellow Mucus Means You Need an Antibiotic

If you experience green or yellow mucus, your body is fighting off an infection. Viruses and not bacteria cause most respiratory infections, and antibiotics don't work on viruses.

You Will Get Sick if You Go Out in the Cold With Wet Hair

Going out in winter may make you cold and shiver, but that alone won't give you a cold — viruses, not cold temperatures, cause colds. However, cold temperatures may suppress the immune response, so if you encounter a virus, you may be more likely to get sick.

*** Writer's comment: Unfortunately, this was contrary to what my mom had told me.

Some Health Claims to Question

Avoid Dairy if You Have a Cold

There's an old idea that dairy products increase mucus which is not the case. One American Review of Respiratory Disease study found that people with a common cold showed no phlegm or congestion when they drank milk. Another study found no difference in mucus production between daily and soy milk.

***Writer's comment: From my empirical observations, I've found that milk and other dairy products produce mucus in my body.

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1 Comment

Mar 29, 2023

So true on each point! Misinformation is a disease in our society, pointing out the truths is our main defense.

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