Some medical myths endure no matter how many times they’ve been disproved.

When making the choices needed to optimize health, it is critical to have accurate information. Otherwise, our diet and lifestyle sacrifices, for which we sometimes give up things we enjoy, may harm instead of help.

Because of this, I would like to look at common, and simply wrong, medical myths about things we avoid for our health, and then let’s look at what the science really shows. Along the way, you may find you get to enjoy your pleasures again — guilt-free!

Medical Myth 1: Skinny People Live Longer

Being overweight won’t kill you — it may even help you live longer. That’s the latest from a study that analyzed data on 11,326 Canadian adults ages 25 and older who were followed over a 12-year period. The report, published online last week in the journal Obesity, found that, overall, people who were overweight but not obese were actually less likely to die than people of normal weight.

By contrast, people who were underweight were more likely to die than those of average weight. Their risk of dying was 73 percent higher than that of normal weight people, while the risk of dying for those who were overweight was 17 percent lower than for people of normal weight. The finding adds to a simmering scientific controversy over the optimal weight for adults.

Medical Myth 2: Salt Is Bad For You

In 1996, the Journal of the American Medical Association published a meta-analysis of 56 clinical trials done since 1980 in people with normal blood pressure, and found that extreme salt reduction had little effect on lowering blood pressure.

In another recent study, the investigators found that the less salt people ate, the more likely they were to die of heart disease. And another article shows that eating less salt increases triglycerides and other hormones in the blood, which increases blood pressure and heart attack risk.

And in a review of another meta-analysis in 2011, an article in Scientific American stated:

“This week a meta-analysis of seven studies involving a total of 6,250 subjects in the American Journal of Hypertension found no strong evidence that cutting salt intake reduces the risk for heart attacks, strokes or death in people with normal or high blood pressure.”

Medical Myth 3: Oily Food Is Bad For You

This depends on the kind of fat. Trans fats (added to many processed foods — especially margarine, which was touted as more “heart healthy” than butter) is a major killer. Butter is much healthier.

Fish oil is especially healthy. Fish oil deficiency is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.

Omega-3 deficiency is the sixth biggest killer of Americans and more deadly than excess trans fat intake, according to a 2010 Harvard University study. Researchers looked at 12 dietary, lifestyle and metabolic risk factors such as tobacco smoking and high blood pressure and used a mathematical model to determine how many fatalities could have been prevented if better practices had been observed. The study, jointly funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through the Association of Schools of Public Health, drew on 2005 data from the U.S. National Health Center for Health Statistics. They determined that there were 72,000 to 96,000 preventable deaths each year due to omega-3 deficiency, compared to 63,000 to 97,000 for high trans fat intake.

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Medical Myth 4: Eggs Raise Cholesterol

Several studies (six studies at my last count) showed that eating six eggs a day for six weeks had no significant effect on cholesterol levels. Meanwhile, eggs are the best (most complete) protein source available — short of being a cannibal and eating other people!

Medical Myth 5: Chocolate Is Bad

Dark chocolate has been shown to be high in antioxidants and offers numerous health benefits. Simply enjoy it in moderation.

Medical Myth 6 (The Most Deadly Myth): Avoid Sunshine

This especially dangerous piece of medical mal-advice is causing an epidemic of vitamin D deficiency, and is estimated to be causing 85,000 excess cancer deaths a year in the United States. Vitamin D deficiency also contributes to obesity and numerous other medical problems. The proper advice? Avoid sunburn, not sunshine!

The Overriding Fallacy

The great fallacy is that things that make you feel good are bad for you. I suspect it is quite the opposite, and that these are the things that are good for you! Listen to your body, and see how you feel overall with different pleasures. If they leave you feeling better overall long term, I suspect that odds are they are beneficial. I trust what our body and feelings tell us much more than the busted myths put out by our usually well-meaning, but our often wrong, medical system.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. From our free i Phone and Android app Cures A-Z

    Hypertension

    Background

    Hypertension, which occurs when the blood pressure in your arteries is too high, can lead to blood vessel diseases such as strokes, heart attacks, and leg pain caused during walking. As hypertension does not cause any symptoms until the damage is already done, it is important to occasionally have your blood pressure checked.

    Although it is sometimes necessary to use medications to keep your blood pressure under control, this can often also be done naturally. In my experience, the best approach is to use medications to initially bring your blood pressure under control. Once it is normalized, natural therapies can often keep your blood pressure at a healthy level and allow your physician to wean you off the medications.

    Unlike cholesterol medicines, which may be more harmful than helpful for most people, blood pressure medications actually do save a lot of lives. If you have elevated blood pressure, add (or continue) the medications to lower the pressure, and then use the natural treatments. After three months, you’ll often find that your doctor can taper you off your blood pressure medications and still maintain a healthy pressure.

    Treatment

    Diet and Exercise
    Don’t be overweight
    To lose the weight, see Weight Loss. Be sure to also begin an exercise program as this helps lower high blood pressure. Best to do a walking program outdoors, as the vitamin D from sunshine can actually help lower high blood pressure.

    Limit alcohol and caffeine
    Try leaving these off for two weeks and then recheck your blood pressure.

    Recommended Supplements
    Correcting nutritional deficiencies can also be very helpful in lowering high blood pressure. Take the following:

    Multi-nutrient powder
    To get optimal levels of vitamins A, C, D, and magnesium, take a good multi-nutrient powder.

    Calcium
    Calcium 500-1,000 mg (take it at bed time and consider taking part of the dose at dinner).

    Potassium
    The amount of potassium found in one banana and 1 cup of coconut water (at Safeway and most health food stores), tomato or V8 juice a day can also help normalize blood pressure.

    Coenzyme Q10
    Coenzyme Q10 200 milligrams a day can also be very effective. I have seen it lower blood pressure as much as 30 to 40 points in some severe cases. Coenzyme Q10 deficiency is especially common in people taking cholesterol lowering medications. Be sure to use the Enzymatic Therapy or Integrative Therapeutics chewable brands, as quality control is a problem for many brands of Coenzyme Q10. This is mostly needed in hard to treat cases.

    Dark chocolate
    Although it only lowers blood pressure by 3-4 mm, it tastes good and is high in healthy antioxidants!

    Other Therapies & Advice
    Check for metabolic syndrome
    If you are male, overweight, have high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol, and perhaps even have insulin resistance or diabetes, you probably have metabolic syndrome. This is often caused by a low testosterone level (even if it is in the low normal range, for example a total testosterone level of 450), and simply taking natural testosterone (by prescription) can reverse all of the above problems while leaving you feeling much better!

    Check for sleep apnea
    Consider this if you’re overweight and snore.

    Check for Allergies
    Food allergies can also trigger high blood pressure. If your pulse or temperature regularly go up after you eat, consider allergy desensitization using NAET (see http://www.NAET.com). To see if food allergies are causing your high blood pressure, consider a Multiple Food Elimination Diet to see if your pressure goes down. (See online references below.)

    White coat hypertension
    Make sure you don’t only have “white coat hypertension.” Some people’s blood pressure shoots up whenever they see a doctor. For many people, this is the only time their blood pressure goes up, so they end up being treated for high blood pressure when they don’t have it. Many grocery store and drugstore pharmacies have a blood pressure machine for the public which you can use (you actually sit in it). Check three readings each visit (one right after the other) to make sure that they are consistent. After you get used to the blood pressure machines, you may find that your blood pressures are lower.

    Blow off some steam
    Don’t forget the mind/body component. Some of us are like pressure cookers, and when we close down our “steam release valve” the pressure builds up inside of us. We may look calm on the outside but actually have high blood pressure on the inside. Give yourself permission to have a good hissy fit once in awhile to blow off steam. It can help your elevated blood pressure to come down

  2. Great article! I’d like to know more about healthy Blood Pressure remedies and foods to have/make for loved one with high BP.

  3. Been saying these statements for years. Nice to see the medical community figuring it out !!

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