6 Common Health Myths and Facts You Need to Know About

July 30, 2022

Have you ever wondered about the truth behind common health myths and facts?

"Drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day."

"Eat a low-fat diet to lose weight."

"If your mucus is green, you have a bacterial infection."

There are many common health beliefs, but which are true and which are only health myths?

Today, I'm covering common health myths and facts and lifting the veil on the truth behind each of them. So, if you want to get the real deal on your health, keep reading and discover which “old wives’ tales” are true—and which aren’t!


6 Common Health Myths and Facts

Here are some of the most common health beliefs. Let’s dive in and discuss which are health myths and which are facts.

Common health myths and facts - Dr. Pingel

1. The best way to lose weight is to eat a low-fat diet.

Myth. Despite popular belief, research has repeatedly shown that following the Mediterranean diet, which is high in fat, is the healthiest way to reach and maintain a healthy weight. And because this is commonly misunderstood, I knew it was important to include this myth in the list of common health myths and facts.

In fact, studies have shown that the Mediterranean diet features key nutritional elements that are recommended to treat certain risk factors of diabetes and metabolic syndrome. It’s even been linked to preventing diabetes—by as much as 83 percent! [1]

Additionally, other studies have shown that the Mediterranean diet was more effective than low-fat diets at lowering fasting glucose levels in diabetics and promoted greater weight loss. [23]

Common health myths and facts - Dr. Pingel

2. Honey works for a cough just as well as cough medicine.

Fact. Numerous studies have confirmed that honey is incredibly effective at relieving coughs. It’s so effective, in fact, that it deserves one of the top spots in this list of common healthy myths and facts.

According to a 2021 meta-analysis of 14 studies, honey was found to be more effective at reducing both cough frequency and severity in comparison to many other methods. [4]

And one study on 105 children with upper respiratory infections found that the children who consumed honey found as much relief as those who took honey-flavored dextromethorphan. As a result, honey was the preferred treatment by parents. [5]

I recommend taking a spoonful of manuka honey as needed or trying my homemade cough drops, which feature honey. Just remember not to give honey to children under the age of 1.

3. You need to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day to stay hydrated.

Myth. I know—it’s shocking, right? Here’s the deal: Drinking 64 ounces of water isn’t enough for most people.

Why? Because you need to drink half your bodyweight in ounces of water each day in order to stay hydrated. So unless you weight 128 pounds, 64 ounces simply isn’t enough. Take your bodyweight and divide it in half; that’s your ideal amount of daily water consumption.

4. Feed a cold; starve a fever.

Myth. When you have a fever, you don’t feel like doing much of anything. But, if at all possible, avoid this old saying. It’s so important, that no list of common health myths and facts would be complete without discussing it.

The simple fact is that in order to properly support your immune system, you need to consume nutrients as much as possible when you’re sick. The stronger your immune system is, the faster you’ll bounce back.

Depriving your body of vital nutrients can actually prolong your illness, which is the last thing you want!

5. Eating carrots can improve your vision.

Fact. Perhaps one of the most well-known of all the common health myths and facts is this tidbit about carrots and eye health. And it’s absolutely true.

Here’s why: Of all fruits and vegetables, carrots actually contain the highest amount of beta-carotene, which your body converts into the powerhouse vitamin A.

Believe it or not, vitamin A is known to help fight dry eyes and even slow the progression of macular degeneration. [678, 9] But that’s not all.

Vitamin A is so critical for proper vision and eye health that night blindness is actually one of the first signs of being deficient in vitamin A! Why is this the case? Vitamin A is a fundamental component of rhodopsin—a pigment found in the retina that’s extremely sensitive to bright light. [10]

6. If your mucus is green, you have a bacterial infection and need an antibiotic.

Myth. Despite popular belief, the color of your mucus isn’t a direct indication of infection, which is why this myth had to be dispelled in my list of common health myths and facts.

The truth is that the color of your mucus is a direct indication of how much oxidation has occurred.

This means that a bacterial infection could contain clear or while mucus while a viral infection could present with yellow or green mucus. When trying to determine the type of illness you’re facing, it’s best to go off of your other symptoms, such as whether or not a fever is present or how long your symptoms have persisted more so than the color of your mucus.

I hope this list of common health myths and facts has helped you to navigate your health journey going forward. Remember, you can't trust everything you hear, and if you ever have questions about your health, you can reach out to your physician or schedule a consultation with me.

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