6 Health Myths Busted

Julie Shenkman
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When it comes to your health, there is a wealth of information out there. Unfortunately, many health myths disproved by research continue to be passed around. Check out the following six fallacies that could be standing between you and a healthier lifestyle.

1. Eating Fat Makes You Fat

Not all fatty foods cause weight gain. In fact, consuming enough dietary fat is crucial for several bodily functions, according to the Mayo Clinic. The healthiest types of fat are monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and Omega-3 fatty acids. These fats are found in fish, nuts and seeds, as well as in both canola and olive oils. Try to avoid consuming saturated and trans fats, which are found in a number of fried, processed foods.

2. You Can't Be Overweight and Healthy

It's a common belief that carrying extra weight automatically implies that your body is unhealthy. The European Heart Journal published a study in 2010 that found up to 10 percent of Americans are considered "normal weight obese." This means that despite being at comfortable, healthy weight based on their body type, they still fall under the "obese" column of the body mass index chart. Many health experts agree that diet, activity level and lifestyle are more reliable factors than the BMI chart in determining a person's health.

3. You Must Take a Multivitamin

For most people, a daily multivitamin isn't necessary. Many medical professionals recommend people get their nutrients from a healthy, balanced diet rather than a pill. Always check with your doctor before taking any vitamin or supplement, and pay special attention to dosage instructions.

4. Crunches Give You Flat Abs

You can do all the crunches in the world, but you still won't see a six-pack if your stomach is covered in a layer of fat. To reap the visual rewards of hours spent crunching, focus on burning fat, says Wayne Wescott, Ph.D., a professor at Quincy College. For optimal fat burning, combine cardiovascular exercise and core training.

5. Hour-Long Workouts Are a Must

It can be difficult finding time to squeeze in a decent workout. Fortunately, mini workouts count big. Even a little bit of exercise results in a 20 percent lower risk of premature death. A study from Arizona State University finds that shorter, more frequent workouts may actually be better than longer ones. Participants who took three 10-minute walks a day reported lower blood pressure than those who took a single 30-minute walk.

6. Lifting Weights Will Make You Bulky

Strength training is important for building and maintaining healthy muscle and bone mass, but many people — particularly women — shy away from it due to the common belief that it builds bulk. Lifting weights actually helps you get slimmer, according to a research study from Boston University. The more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism is. Therefore, you burn more calories when at rest, leading to greater fat loss in the long run.

It can be frustrating to sift through loads of misinformation in an effort to live healthier. The health myths will come and go, but if you move more and focus on eating wholesome, natural foods, you'll be doing your body a big favor.

Photo courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net



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