By Kennedy Shelley
You have to wait 30 minutes after eating before swimming.
How many have heard this one growing up?
Most of know now that is wrong.
The idea was your body was using all the blood to digest the food, so if you swam you would cramp up and drown.
This despite the fact there was no evidence of any kid drowning after eating.
The only source was a small reference in the 1908 Boy Scout Manual.
What about “breakfast is the most important meal of the day?” Again, there is no scientific proof for this.
The advice actually goes back to 1800’s when Kellogg wanted to sell breakfast cereal.
He was a 7th Day Adventist, and others of that religion picked it up and the myth has persisted.
Actually, the rise in intermittent fasting has debunked this idea where some people who only eat one meal a day (OMAD) or only eat during a specific feeding window have shown that there are health benefits in skipping breakfast.
But one of the biggest myths is salt causes high blood pressure.
Our own government has been pushing this one and as recently as 2013 where the CDC recommended only 1 teaspoon of salt a day.
What is that based on? Well, the “test” of this hypothesis was called the DASH diet. DASH was an attempt to lower blood pressure of middle-aged men back in the 1970’s.
They didn’t get them to quit smoking, just lower their salt intake and eat a diet with less fat.
They slightly reduced blood pressure in a small group of middle-aged male smokers. That is the whole basis of the idea that salt causes high blood pressure.
But the anti-salt message took on a life of its own.
Like the swimming and eating myth this kind of intuitively makes sense. Salt causes fluid retention, which increases blood volume, and more volume increases pressure.
But in practice it doesn’t work that way.
The largest study was performed by a Canadian university and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
They found that if you wanted to die early, eat the amount of salt the CDC recommends. (See this article in Freedom Health News)
There is absolutely no evidence that a low salt diet provides any health benefits and ample evidence that too little causes serious problems.
So why do these myths continue to circulate?
Part of the problem is we heard something as a child, and we believed those in authority over us and we keep passing it on.
And our doctors learned something in medical school, and unless they are very diligent in following all the literature, they won’t unlearn myths they were taught decades ago.
Unless your doctor is reading up to an estimated 6,000 articles a day, he is falling behind on his reading.
That’s why it is often up to you to do your own research on your concerns.
One of my doctor friends told me that at the first day of medical school he was told “the bad news is that half of what you are about to be taught is wrong.
The worse news is that we don’t know which half.”
Or as another scientist said, “medical science advances one funeral at a time.” The idea is that we often take many ideas with us all our lives and never check why we have certain beliefs.
Thankfully we live in the age of the internet and we can check on these so-called truths if we have the courage to do so.