Every year, the scientific community reveals exciting new information about what is and isn’t good for our health. But some of the most prevalent, obvious “facts” about how to live a fit lifestyle are actually myths, spread via misinterpretation or marketing departments until they become part of the vernacular. Below, we’ve traced the origins of five major health fallacies.
I’m highlighting this article because it points out a number of health myths that have been embraced by the techno-fetishists in their desire to quantify their lives. For example:
1. THE MYTH: YOU NEED EIGHT GLASSES OF WATER PER DAY, EVERY DAY.
It’s common knowledge that human beings require exactly eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day, lest they die of dehydration. But that knowledge is, in fact, a myth–one that nobody can determine the origins of, despite much research into the matter. […]
“You don’t have to consume all the water you need through drinks. You also don’t need to worry so much about never feeling thirsty. The human body is finely tuned to signal you to drink long before you are actually dehydrated.”
There are tons of apps on the App Store that help you count how much you drink, and that even discount things like tea and coffee because they, apparently, have a diuretic effect. Even Apple’s Health app can record water consumption. It’s foolish and useless, and it’s a waste of time. On top of that, it can be dangerous, even fatal, to drink too much water.
(An aside: in the US, the myth is that you need to drink 64 oz of water, or two quarts. In France, the myth says you should drink 1.5 liters of water, or about 1.5 quarts. Coincidentally, bottled water is sold in 1.5 liter bottles…)
2. THE MYTH: 10,000 STEPS PER DAY IS A MAGIC BENCHMARK FOR FITNESS.
Now that most of us carry smartphones with built-in step counters, walking 10,000 steps (about five miles) per day has become a de facto benchmark for living a fit lifestyle. But that’s not because 10,000 steps is a scientific gold standard for health; actually, the “10,000 steps” rule was invented by a 1965 Japanese marketing campaign for an early pedometer. Not that there’s anything wrong with 10,000 steps as a goal–in general, the more active you are, the better. But you’ll reap just as many health benefits by simply aiming to spend more time on your feet each day.
It’s true that a nice round number is an attractive goal. But the tyranny of the 10,000-step goal means that many people who can’t walk that much feel inadequate. To be honest, calorie counts are just as foolish, since the very concept and method of counting calories is wrong. It’s good to have a goal; find your normal activity, then increase the goal, a bit at a time, step by step. Don’t feel obliged to use a round number as your goal.
5. THE MYTH: AN ALL-JUICE DIET WILL CLEANSE YOUR BODY OF TOXINS.
If you want to rid your body of toxins, everything you need is already inside of you — in the form of a functional liver and kidneys, which work perfectly well on their own, at all times, to process and excrete anything that doesn’t belong. And if you’re trying to turn over a healthy new leaf after a period of overindulgence, there’s a good reason not to join the juice craze: Even fresh juices are usually loaded with sugar, which has a host of negative effects on the body. A whole fruit is much more nutritious (not to mention more satisfying to eat).
This one isn’t tech-related in any way; it’s just dumb. The idea that your body has “toxins” that need to be removed by some special procedure or treatment, and the idea that drinking juice – very high in sugar – is somehow healthy is just foolish. Yet tons of people believe, and spend a fortune on supplements and foods that will supposedly remove these evil “toxins” like an exorcist.