Just one sip

Is alcohol good for you? 7 health myths debunked

Health misconceptions are all too common.

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When it comes to health, it’s easy to fall back on advice and myths that rely on incomplete or outdated science.

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Take the case of alcohol.

You’ve probably heard that, in some instances, drinking wine or beer moderately can be good for your health and longevity.

But a new study casts further doubt on that idea.

Writing November 2 in the journal PLOS Medicine, researchers in Germany found that there was no evidence of longer life expectancy in people who drank in moderation.

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It’s one of many recent studies suggesting that, even in moderation, alcohol does more harm than good — and this harm outweighs any observed benefits.

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But that’s just how the scientific process works — new evidence can arise and change our view on how to approach health.

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Other myths and old wives' tales, some dating back centuries, are phasing out thanks to recent research as well.

Here are 6 other prevalent health myths, debunked:

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6. Myth: Antiperspirants cause breast cancer

Fact: While some brands use compounds that may influence hormones, no substantial research has uncovered a link between deodorants and cancer.

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Aluminum-based compounds and parabens in deodorant may have weak, estrogen-like effects on the body.

But more evidence would be needed to establish a connection — if any — between these compounds and breast cancer.

5. Myth: Soy makes men grow boobs

Fact: There’s no consistent scientific evidence to prove that men who consume soy products grow extra breast tissue.

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That myth can be traced back to an extreme case of soy milk consumption where a man was drinking a daily 3 quarts of the stuff and started to see his breasts become swollen and painful.

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Soy also contains phytoestrogens or plant estrogens.

Exactly what phytoestrogens do to the human body is debated — but what’s known is that it doesn’t cause breasts to grow.

4. Myth: Eggs yolks are unhealthy

Fact: They have higher cholesterol than some foods, but eating eggs doesn’t contribute to higher rates of heart disease or mortality.

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The more detrimental foods for cholesterol levels are ones high in saturated fatty acids — often found in animal products like meat, cheese, and butter.

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Those types of foods can contribute to a higher risk of heart disease over time.

3. Myth: Cracking knuckles causes arthritis

Fact: Several studies on frequent finger poppers found that it did not raise their likelihood of developing arthritis.

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Arthritis is a condition where your joints become inflamed.

Cracking your knuckles simply releases air bubbles in the lubricating fluid between your joints.

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While cracking your fingers may not put you at increased risk for developing the chronic condition, it can lead to decreased grip strength or even accidental injury.

2. Myth: Starve a cold, feed a fever

Fact: This phrase, sometimes rearranged as “feed a cold, starve a fever,” doesn’t have much truth to it today.

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The idea likely dates back to the Middle Ages, but science does not support the notion that fasting can fix either illness.

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You can usually kick a cold or fever with the help of two things in abundance: fluids and rest.

1. Myth: Going out with wet hair makes you sick

Fact: It might feel unpleasant on a cold day, but leaving your house freshly showered doesn’t make you more susceptible to illness.

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Exposure to germs is what makes you sick, not temperature.

But some viruses do survive better in dry, cold, conditions, such as Influenza A.

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So while you’re not going to catch a cold or the flu from shivering alone, the season you’re in might make a difference — as well as your hygiene habits.