Health-Related Myths and Truths

Road sign that says Reality Check Ahead Re: Myths
Reality Check Ahead sign on desert road

Health issues and myths have a long history together. Half-cooked information paddled by some often becomes a universal truth for the masses. In the age of the internet, when many such long-existing myths have already been busted, there are still some misconceptions in connection to the medical sciences and health that persist.

In this article, we will outline some of these health-related myths as well as those that are true.

We Can Get More Ill in Colder Weather vs Warmer Weather – True

Girl sneezing in a tissue in the living room
Photo: iStock

There is a case (one of many) in November, 2022 where a 67 year-old man who hardly ever gets sick and never got Covid got pneumonia. The nurses and doctors said that there is a n abundance of respiratory illnesses going around, but no one could determine why this healthy man came down with this disease. Fortunately, with his case, a string of antibiotics successfully brought him back to health, but that is not always the case with other people.

The bottom line is this: Your body’s immune system does not work as well in cold weather. When cold air enters  our nose and upper airways, our body does not work as effectively at fighting illnesses.  That’s why more people tend to get colds, the flu and yes, even Covid too.

In winters, particularly during freezing outdoor temperatures, we prefer to remain indoors. But with limited ventilation, no sunlight and more close human interaction, the chances of bacteria and viruses thrive amplify, resulting in more illnesses.

So cold weather itself doesn’t cause sickness or disease, but the effects of it do. Of course, if you stay go outside in 10-degree weather wearing a short sleeve shirt and summer pants, don’t blame us if you start sneezing (or worse)! 

You Can’t Get Covid If You Have Been Vaccinated – False

Not only through studies, but also through fact. If you have been vaccinated for the disease, you can still get Covid again. The vaccinations are beneficial in that your symptoms will be much less severe than if you were not vaccinated.

So with that said, you should still take precautions as if you never had it!

Humans Use Only a Fragment of Their Cognitive Ability – False


Illustration of the human brain
Photo by Natasha Connell on Unsplash

From motivational speakers to ‘psychiatrists’, many professionals have fed this myth to the masses that we don’t use our brain to its full capacity. One can say that it’s a way to persuade people to push themselves more, but there is no scientific evidence for this piece of information and advice.

In contrast, for some, this myth has become more of an excuse of consolation that they are not realizing their true potential because they are not using their full mental prowess.

EEGs (electroencephalogram) has been here for a long time and more modernized techniques have been developed to scan brain activity. So, if you still believe that you are only using a percentage of your brain, a neurologist can help you in busting this myth.

Dim Light Reading Affects Your Eyesight – False

Boy reading in low lit conditions
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

This is one of the oldest health falsehoods. Reading in insufficient lighting surely makes it harder for the eyes to do their work, but no far-reaching consequences have been proven by science regarding reading in dim light.

Similar is the case of a misconception that sitting too close to the television can affect your eyesight. Of course, too much of anything is not good for you, so if you are a TV couch potato or your job involves constant work on a computer screen, you should take a break every 15-20 minutes and rest your eyes. With that said, you could experience a momentary soreness, but this should not be considered as dangerous.

Nevertheless, a good practice is to read in good light and watch the TV from a distance at regular intervals, because there is no good reason to push your eyes to overwork.

The 5-Second Rule Says Your Food is Safe to It – False!

Uh oh! You dropped your open candy bar on the floor. Quick – pick it up before 5 seconds and you can still eat it. Nope. This is entirely false. According to Kids Health, “Bacteria can attach itself to your food even if you pick it up super-fast.

Bottom line – You drop food on the floor, throw it away!

Ulcers are Caused by Spicy Food – False

Peppers and spicy foods
Photo by Timothy L Brock on Unsplash

This is another misconception. Spicy foods can certainly can aggravate the symptoms of existing ulcers, but the onset of the disease is not caused by spicy foods.

For many years, healthcare experts also believed that spicy foods are the main reason for developing ulcers. However, science has disapproved this principle when researchers found out that a bacterium called H. Pylori is the real culprit for damaging the inner lining of the stomach.

This bacterium is also present in many prescription medicines. For that reason, patients who take a greater administration of drugs for a long time period often develop ulcers as a side effect.

Turkey Meat Causes Drowsiness – Possibly True

Curving a turkey
Photo by Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash

Blaming feasting on turkey for long naps of Thanksgiving is common because there is a widespread misapprehension that turkey meat causes drowsiness.

However, there is no truth to that excuse of dozing off on turkey meals. The amino acid tryptophan is present in turkey meat which is known to cause drowsiness, but it’s in the similar amount as in beef or chicken; however, as per WebMd:

Consuming large meals stimulates the production of insulin, and insulin clears the bloodstream of all amino acids except for tryptophan. In effect, insulin clears a path that can flood the brain with tryptophan.” However, it is still unknown if tryptophan is the actual cause of drowsiness.

Some nutritional experts think that the overall festivity of the day might lead to those long siestas where average carbs and alcohol consumption is increased.

Pediatric ADHD Gets Worse by Sugar Consumption – Potentially True

Hyperactivity in children is sometimes linked to high consumption of sugar in the form of candies and chocolates in what is called a ‘sugar high’. There are studies that show that this could possibility be true.

With that said, parents should be vigilant on the amount of sugar they give their children regardless of whether it accelerates those with ADHD or not.

Excessive and reckless consumption of sugary items can harm oral health, add to obesity and be a potential risk for diabetes.

Brown Sugar is a Healthier Substitute for White Sugar – False


Spoon spilling sugar onto a cup
Photo by Mathilde Langevin on Unsplash

Many people who want to eat healthy replace their staple food items. For instance, they replace fine grains with whole grains, red meat with white meat. In the same manner, they substitute white sugar with brown sugar because it is less processed.

Brown sugar indeed is less processed and contains a few more micronutrients, but it causes the same physiological effects of regular table sugar. This means you can’t control your blood sugar levels by substituting white sugar with brown.