You’re a smart person, right? You shake your head when you hear people spouting outrageous health claims like that cancer can be transmitted through kissing or that smoking is less dangerous if you only smoke filtered cigarettes. Good for you! However, science changes all the time, so here are some health lies you may still believe.
Gluten-free is the cure for most stomach problems
Unless you’re one of the small numbers of people who have Celiac Disease, your stomach problems may not be caused by gluten, the protein in wheat and other grains. Instead, stomach issues may be caused by a sensitivity to fructans, a carbohydrate in several foods. People with IBS may have trouble with these pesky carbs, which can ferment and cause unpleasant problems for the consumer. This means that people trying to improve their symptoms by eating gluten-free options may be making the problem even worse. Something to consider!
Obesity is caused by laziness
Although diet does play a role in obesity, few people have the willpower (yes, the willpower!) to repeatedly stuff themselves to the point where they experience health issues. Besides, we all know some very skinny people who can eat as much as they want without gaining an ounce. In almost all cases, issues besides diet are at work. Some of the most common causes are health conditions and injuries, both of which can make it impossible for someone to exercise. Additionally, drugs used to treat these conditions can often trigger intense hunger or weight gain, making it doubly hard for the patient to keep weight off.
Even in relatively healthy individuals, there are a number of factors that can contribute to the uphill battle with weight problems. Desk jobs make it harder than ever before to have an active lifestyle. Healthy foods like fruits and vegetable are at a premium, while meat and corn products are subsidized by the government. And more and more research is uncovering that viruses and bacteria in our guts may be responsible for our expanding size. Whatever the cause, it’s clear that the deck is stacked against some people and not others. The best thing everyone can do, regardless of size, is finding an exercise routine that works for them.
Vaccines cause autism
This myth is particularly baffling– and dangerous. The rumor got started when a doctor (who has since lost his medical license) published forged results in a medical journal. Even though every other study has found results contrary to the original study, and the CDC put out its own research pointing otherwise, people continue to rebuff their doctors’ advice to vaccinate their children. And this is all a decade and a half after vaccine manufacturers stopped using thimerosal, the preservative blamed for causing autism in children!
Although vaccines can cause some issues for a very small percentage of people, autism is not one of those issues. More importantly, not vaccinating yourself or your children can cause some pretty severe problems, most of which are worse than the side effects of vaccination. Autism is certainly no walk in the park, but there have been many highly successful people with autism. Autism is not a death sentence, but tetanus, meningitis, and measles frequently are.
What are some of the weirdest medical misconceptions you’ve ever heard?