Debunking Health Myths

In the world of health, there are a lot of facts and figures, often overlapping, contradicting, and mismatching, so it can be tricky to know what’s real, and what’s just a myth.

The internet is a wonderful thing, but it can also be dangerous. There are a lot of inaccurate facts and figures that can be misleading, often leading to unnecessary panic, unhealthy life changes, or disappointment when things don’t turn out the way you expected.

Where to look for reliable health advice

The NHS is always a safe bet if you're looking for accurate and reliable health information, they offer advice and information on everything health-related in a simple and easy-to-understand manner.

Another place to find helpful health advice is your local pharmacy. If something concerns you, simply pop in and ask your pharmacist. They are well-qualified and will give you both reliable and tailored advice and guidance. Many pharmacies offer services and walk-in consultations, a handy alternative to your GP.

If you need immediate help, dialling 111 will connect you straight to a health expert who will help in any way they can.

Woman visiting her pharmacist

Healthy Eating Myths


All fats are bad for you

There is a negative connotation around the word fat that can make people believe that they need to cut down on all fats more than necessary when they’re trying to lose weight. Fats are part of a balanced diet; they provide energy and help us absorb vitamins.

However, we only need a very limited amount of fat in our diet. Consuming more fat than your body requires, especially saturated fats found in butter, cheese, and fatty meats, can cause fat to build up, leading to weight gain, higher cholesterol, increased blood pressure, and a higher risk of obesity, blood clots, and heart attacks. The average daily intake of saturated fats is 30g for men and 20g for women.

Swapping saturated fats for unsaturated fats, which can be found in olive oil, avocados, fatty fish and nuts, can help lower your cholesterol, and also means that you can enjoy the rich flavour of your foods, without the consequences.

Related Article: Food to avoid with high blood pressure

You need to cut out carbs to be healthy

There’s always been a bit of a debate around carbs and whether you should or shouldn’t include them in your diet. The truth is, just like every food type, carbs are part of a balanced diet. They give your body energy, vitamins, and fibre, which helps your digestive system. Without carbs, you’re more likely to suffer from constipation, feel tired, and feel weaker, due to the lack of iron and calcium.

The problem with carbs is many of them also contain saturated fats, which leads people to avoid them completely. You can still enjoy carbs like potatoes, whole-wheat pasta, and wholegrain bread and rice, without the concern of higher saturated fat intake.

You need to cut out snacks completely

One of life’s simple pleasures is a little snack, so when people tell you that you need to cut them out to be healthy, it can be demotivating, and make eating healthy much less appealing.

The reality is a snack here and there is fine if you’re looking to maintain a healthy weight on a balanced diet by keeping you fuller for longer. Healthy snacks such as fruit, nuts, hard-boiled eggs, and veg with dip, can help prevent cravings for sugary snacks – which you can save for more special occasions!


Exercise Myths


Exercise is more important than dieting

If we make the brave decision to lose weight, build muscle, or get leaner, many people will put all of their efforts into getting more active, and when things don’t seem to be changing the way they expect, they give up. This is because they are prioritising exercise over their diet. What you eat and how you exercise and equally as important when it comes to reaching your health goals. Regular exercise and a balanced diet are both important for a healthy lifestyle.

No pain, no gain 

We’ve all heard this saying. It implies that you won’t get to your goal without suffering first. Bit brutal, right? This is a very misleading phrase. If you feel pain, stop! No exercise should hurt, if it hurts, you’re doing more damage than good. Effective exercise pushes you to your limits, if you feel like it’s pushing past that line, you need to find another strategy before something breaks, tears, or pops!

Two ladies running

You should exercise in the morning

A large debate when it comes to exercise is what time is best and most beneficial for your body. Most people tend to lean towards the morning as being the optimal time to get a sweat on, and whilst this may help you start the day well and get the chore of working out over and done with, it may also be good to work out later in the day, when your body has woken and warmed up, you’ve eaten more nutrients, and you have more energy.

The truth is when you work out is up to you. If you exercise at all, then you’re doing something right!


Vaccination Myths

The flu vaccine gives you the flu

Many people believe that the flu vaccine works by giving you the flu so that when you recover, you’re immune. This is a myth. The flu vaccination contains inactive pathogens that cannot give you the flu but do make your body react the same way it would if it were protecting you against the virus. This is why some of us feel flu-like symptoms when shortly after receiving the vaccination.

Your pharmacist may offer a flu vaccination service to keep you and your family protected during the winter!

Pregnant women should not get the flu vaccine

There are no safety risks when it comes to pregnant women getting vaccinated. In fact, it is encouraged that pregnant women should be vaccinated, as their immune system is weaker than usual, which means that they’re more likely to experience more severe symptoms, and also risk harming their baby.

Pregnancy and vaccination can be a delicate subject, you can learn more about vaccinations in pregnancy from the NHS.

Someone receiving a plaster following their flu vaccination

The MMR vaccine causes autism

We’re not sure where this myth even came from, but we can assure you, it is 100% false. Studies have found no evidence between giving your child the MMR vaccines, and autism. The MMR vaccine is incredibly safe, protects your child from three serious diseases, and also protects those around you.

We hope that this article has cleared up a few loose ends for you. There are so many bold statements on the World Wide Web, so finding reassurance can be tricky. Remember, only use reliable sources for your health queries, such as the NHS, or trustworthy charities such as the British Heart Foundation.

There are a lot more myths that we’ve not covered in this article, so why not take a look at some of our other health advice pages for more insight?