5 Common Health Claims, Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths Debunked

There’s a lot of information out there about what it means to be healthy. And there are a lot of health myths, lies, and half-truths that have been accepted, by a large majority of us, as irrefutable fact.
I, for one, was pretty shocked when I actually dug deeper and learned about some of these things I just believed without questioning. My one key advice: don’t believe everything you read on the internet. 😉

Here’s the Scoop on 5 Health Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths:

This is a shortlist of the health claims I believed without questioning, and what I’ve since found out about them. Of course, do your own research and come to a conclusion that feels right for you!

1. The Claim: Organic Food is Better For You

Status: Half-Truth
Organic food is not inherently better for you just because the USDA slapped an “Organic” label on it. Food grown organically is produced without synthetic pesticides or fertilizers, but that doesn’t mean no pesticides or fertilizers.
Many organic farmers still spray crops with chemicals and powders, those chemicals are just derived from “natural sources.” According to a report by Berkeley, the long-term effects of these “natural chemicals” are still largely unknown because adequate research has not yet been performed.
Use your best judgement when it comes to organic food, knowing that “organic” doesn’t directly translate to “chemical-free,” and there are certainly many foods that are perfectly fine to eat non-organic. However, when it comes to produce, be sure that you avoid the “Dirty Dozen” – 12 produce items many experts agree that you should always buy organic.
There’s a “Dirty Dozen” of beauty products too. Learn more about the chemicals to avoid in your beauty products here.

2. The Claim: Eat Local Honey to Reduce Your Allergies

Status: Myth
I know you’ve heard this one. As soon as spring allergies start popping up, everyone is swearing up and down that if you eat a spoonful of local honey every day you can help to tame your allergies. Well, folks, this one is a straight-up myth.
This myth was scientifically debunked in 2002 when the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology conducted a study that showed eating local honey for allergy symptoms showed no benefit over the placebo group.
Consider it this way: when our allergies act up, it’s a reaction to the airborne pollen produced by flowering plants, trees, weeds, and more. Bees collect the nectar that is deep within the flower, not the airborne pollen, which does us no good medically when we ingest it as an allergy treatment.

3. The Claim: Milk Gives You Strong Bones

Status: Lie
The Dairy Council has been running ads about how milk gives you strong bones since World War I, when there was a surplus of dairy products and they needed to sell more of it. But, that doesn’t mean the claim is true!
In fact, studies show that drinking more milk does not prevent fractures, breaks, or osteoporosis. This is because calcium isn’t the only nutrient we need to build strong bones – we also need Vitamin D, Vitamin K, and Magnesium, which aren’t as prevalent in cow’s milk.
One study even shows an association between milk and higher mortality rates – and while it doesn’t propose there is a direct link, that’s certainly something I want to stay far away from.


4. The Claim: Vitamins Are Healthy For You

Status: Half-Truth
Vitamin supplements are everywhere, and the assumption is that we can all load up on vitamin supplements for every ailment and be all hunky-dory.
But the truth is, we don’t need as many vitamins as we think we do, and we typically get plenty from the food we consume. And, here’s the kicker, overdoing vitamin supplements can actually be harmful to us.
One last thing. Contrary to popular belief, Vitamin C does not cure the common cold, nor does it make you “healthier” for taking Vitamin C supplements. Just ask Airborne, that bubbly tonic of a bunch of vitamins. They learned their lesson the hard way – with a lawsuit.

5. The Claim: GMOs Are Bad For You

Status: Lie
GMOs stand for “Genetically Modified Organisms,” and yeah that sounds scary af . . . especially when it comes to what you’re eating. But the truth is, the hype around GMOs is scarier than what’s actually happening.
We’ve been lead to believe that a handful of powerful corporations with evil-genius-type scientists are working away in their secret labs to create “frankenfoods.” But what’s really happening is that humanitarian scientists are researching and modifying food to be cheaper and include more vital nutrients so we can feed some of the world’s poorest populations.
The primary mix-up here is that the public is generally misinformed (no thanks to fearful false reports from several media outlets) about the difference between genetic engineering and genetic modification. We don’t have enough time to fully dive into this topic here, but I urge you to read up on this and come to your own conclusion.

The Takeaway

It seems like everywhere we turn, we’re told something new about how to live a healthy life. But, naturally, some of these claims reveal themselves to be health myths, lies, or half-truths over time.
It is our responsibility to take our health into our own hands and research the claims that are made before we adopt them into our lifestyles. And . . . I’m speaking from experience here. I know it’s a lot of research and information to wade through but, trust me, it’s so worth it!

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Morgan Casavant

Morgan is a graphic designer and yoga instructor committed to inspiring compassion, balance, and centeredness - on and off the mat. She loves minimalism, the zero waste movement, and all the things working to protect the environment.

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