Myths and rumors circulate in a very similar way with microbes. They are contagious. One person hears something, they pass it to another person and then to another. And before you know it, a rumor becomes a well-established belief.
But just because you believe an idea to be true doesn’t stop you from getting the repercussions if it isn’t. In fact, the effect is much worse. Why? We are less likely to revisit beliefs that are already well-established with us. And what kind of beliefs are more likely to cause the biggest damages than those regarding your health?
The things we assume are good or bad for our health have a direct impact on our everyday life and the way we eventually turn out to become at old age. This is why it’s extremely important to look through these myths and see the reasons why you should rethink them today.
1. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.”
Growing up, almost everyone was told over and over that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. You were probably told that when you get up in the morning, you need to have a high-carb breakfast with cereals, fruit juices, oatmeal, etc. But it turns out that this couldn’t be farther from the truth.
In fact, there are some great and metabolic fat-burning benefits of postponing breakfast to later in the day. Why? According to Dr. Anthony Balduzzi, a naturopathic doctor, your body’s fat-burning hormones rise in the morning, and if you eat high carb breakfast foods like fruits, fruit juices, cereals, or oath meal, bread, or bagels, the effectivity of your fat-burning hormones get decreased.
Hence, what you want to do, first of all, is to pick some days in a week and push breakfast forward till later in the day. As Dr. Anthony, who is the founder of the Fit Father Project advised,
“Pushing breakfast forward is one of the major things they advocate in our feet father program. And one way they go about it is to push breakfast forward till 10:30 am. But if you must have breakfast, make it a low-carb breakfast.”
2. Cardio is the best way to lose belly fat.”
Dr. Kevin Hall at The National Institute Of Health has done some of the most important studies on exercise and weight loss. In Dr. Kevin’s words,
“We need to rebrand exercise. Exercise isn’t weight loss tool persay. It’s excellent for health, it’s probably the best single thing you can do, other than stopping smoking, to improve your health . But don’t look at it as a weight loss tool.”
Indeed, exercising will help you to live a healthy and longer life. But it’s not just the best way to lose weight. And the reason has to do with how our body uses energy. You may not realize it, but physical activity is a tiny component of your daily energy or calorie burn.
For most people, physical activity only accounts for 10–30% of their total energy use. So the vast majority of energy you consume every day comes from basal or resting metabolism, over which you have little control.
Though low-intensity cardio like walking or jogging on a treadmill, using the elliptical machine, going for a light jog, or a walk, burns calories, you cannot lose fat effectively if you don’t have your diet fixed. Why?
Well, one vital thing about weight loss is that you need to consume fewer calories than you burn. And the thing about exercise is that it tends to make people hungry. Imagine you go for a spinning class in the morning and the time you want to eat breakfast you’re so hungry you end up eating twice the size of the portion of oatmeal you normally eat. You’ll gain weight, not lose them.
It’s not impossible to lose weight through exercise, it’s just a lot harder. The idea is this:
Without your diet in control, if you go to the gym and you burn a lot of calories, it takes you a longer time and a great amount of effort. You can erase all that stress and lose weight much more effectively by fixing your diet.
3. Weight lifting is for young guys who want to build muscle.”
Muscles are a metabolic engine. Meaning the number of calories you burn every day is largely based on how much muscle mass you have. After age 35, a man’s testosterone levels start to decrease rapidly. And what happens at this point is that men start to lose their muscles.
Hence, if you don’t regularly strength train (which is the key to building muscles well into your 40s, 50s, and beyond), you will lose your muscle and your metabolism with it. And this may lead to low energy, weight gain, low libido, etc. Meaning ― as studies have confirmed ― one of the best ways to prevent this drop in metabolism is to stay active.
Of course, older men cannot do the same workout that young guys do. Full body strength training three times a week might do the work for you, depending on your age. This usually involves motions for legs (like squatting), motions for chest (like push-ups), motions for the back (like pull-ups), and motions for arm (like some triceps and shoulder presses). All in one workout, about three times per week.
4. Organic = healthy.”
Organic food is grown without synthetic fertilizer, antibiotics, or hormones. Today it accounts for more than $50 billion in sales a year in the United States. More than 4% of all food sold is considered organic, and several industries and companies have grown up in its production and marketing.
Many of us are organic food fans because we think it’s healthier than non-organic foods. Some think it’s nutrition, others think it’s safer, as pesticides and other chemicals used in conventional farming are “dangerous,” so we are willing to pay more for organic foods. But does organic always equal healthy? According to Dr. Eric Berg, a keto consultant,
“The composition of organic grass-fed beef is so much different from the fat composition of conventional corn-fed beef. The grass-fed beef has a lot more vitamin A, and a lot more vitamin E (two to four times more).
Corn-fed beef and grass-fed beef are even better examples. There are so many companies that are slapping organic on all sorts of things. There is organic sugar, organic ice cream, organic fruit snacks, most of which are still not healthy to consume. Eating too many “organic cookies” or “organic ice creams” is still going to make you fat.
5. Age increase = decline in health.”
This is a myth that is subconsciously grounded in the minds of so many of us. We have assumed that we have to lose our health, get old and sick as we age. And looking around, it’s not a surprise that most people strongly believe in this myth.
Non the less, age resulting in health decline is the old paradigm. There are several studies, most led by David Synclair, Harvard Medical School Genetics Professor, on the lifestyle that reverses aging and even delays the onset of age-related diseases like dementia.
There are so many people, well into their 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s who are maintaining lean athletic bodies, staying strong and healthy. People like these used to be exceptions we look up to as special. But today, science has done a lot of research to better understand aging, and we can conclude that with the right lifestyle, age could be just a number for you healthwise.
Even though you look around and so many people are losing their health because they’re not doing the right thing with sleep, diet, and exercise, that doesn’t have to be you. Our bodies are built to maintain health for lots of years.
With the internet and social media, the scale and scope with which information ― false, true, modified, or exaggerated ― can spread is really amped up. This is how the myth of drinking 8 glasses every day was able to circulate so widely for so long (and some probably still believe it).
As great as it is to have the internet, there’s rarely anything that doesn’t come with its downsides. Today, just about anybody can start a YouTube channel or a blog and begin to give expert advice on a topic they know little about. And before you know it, information gets modified or amplified and then they become myths.
Be slow to conclude. It’s always wise to take the information on the web not as prescriptions, but as suggestions to inspire further learning.