● By Nadia Syafiq
We checked in with Eng Seow Wei, Head Dietitian at Naluri, for the facts.
You must drink eight glasses of water a day! Or do you? Guess what – it’s the biggest health myth that has been circling around for a while. The fact instead? The amount of water a person needs actually depends on body size, physical activity levels, climate, and the types of food they are eating.
So how do you avoid misleading health information such as the above, especially when there are a ton of sites circulating “the truth”? According to Naluri’s Head Dietitian Eng Seow Wei, “When searching for health information, it is important to check the date of publication, prioritise established or trusted institutions, and verify if the reference site has relevant credentials. Avoid commercial sites which may be biased in promoting certain products or services.” A digital therapeutics solution, Naluri combines behaviour science, data science, and digital design all into one app. The platform provides professional health and life coaching services by connecting users to health professionals such as health psychologists, dieticians, and fitness coaches.
What are the other health myths? Seow Wei gets straight to the fact:
Myth #1: Eating breakfast helps you lose weight.
What determines our weight is the outcome of overall energy balance between energy input from food intake and output from physical activities. Eating a nutritious and low-calorie breakfast helps reduce overall calorie input compared to a calorie-dense breakfast.
Myth #2: Drink eight glasses of water a day
How much fluid we need a day is dependent on our body weight, health status, and how active we are. Generally, a healthy adult needs 33ml/kg of body weight of fluid a day. People who are more active physically may need more, and people who suffer from chronic diseases such as heart failure or chronic kidney disease may need to restrict their fluid intake.
Myth #3: Antiperspirants and deodorants can cause cancer
There are rumours of aluminium in deodorants and sprays that will influence cancer risk. However, there is insufficient evidence to prove the link. People who plan to go for breast cancer screening are not advised to spray deodorants to reduce the chances of inaccurate screening results, not that it is harmful. Read more about it here.
Myth #4: If you exercise, you can eat what you want
Regular exercise is important for overall weight management and health maintenance, similar to having a healthy diet. Both exercise and diet work hand in hand to ensure optimal body function. A good exercise routine doesn’t help to compensate for a poor dietary habit, and vice versa.
Myth #5: MSG can cause cancer and other health issues
To date, no human research has linked MSG consumption with any type of cancer. The FDA has categorised MSG as “generally recognised as safe” since 1959, with frequent reviews of its safety in succeeding years. The European Food Safety Authority defines tolerable daily intake as 30mg/kg of body weight.
Myth #6: It's good to go on a detox to cleanse your body of toxins
We need to bear in mind that the best natural detoxing always comes from our liver and kidneys that work 24/7 for us. What we need to do is to make sure we get enough hydration and fibre every day to enhance the natural detoxification process in the body.
Myth #7: Showering at night causes “water in the lungs”
Our lung is a tightly regulated organ whose internal condition is not easily affected by external temperature or environment. “Water in the lungs” is a serious medical condition (called pulmonary edema) that is usually caused by chronic diseases e.g., heart failure, kidney failure or extreme external factors e.g., high altitude exposure, drug overdose, or toxin inhalation.
Myth #8: Using a microwave or an oven can cause cancer
When food absorbs microwaves in the microwave or in the oven, it causes the water molecules in the food to vibrate, which produces heat. Microwaves and ovens do not use x-rays or gamma rays, and they do not make food radioactive. If used according to instructions, there is no evidence that they pose health risk to people. More info here from the American Cancer Society.
Myth #9: Cold weather causes colds The weather is not directly responsible for making people sick. It is clear that viruses and bacteria are the true culprits of colds and infections. Viruses and bacteria are often transmitted from person-to-person by inhaling them in the form of air droplets (from a sneeze or cough) or touching contaminated skin or surfaces and then touching the eyes or nose. (source: Winchester Hospital)
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