Debunking Health Misconceptions

There are a lot of well-known “facts” out there about health and wellness – but are they are accurate? Let’s break down three common health myths.

1. Being Overweight Makes You Unhealthy

Losing weight is one of the most touted ways to get healthy. But the number of pounds on the scale isn’t always representative of your overall health. A study by the Cooper Institute tracked thousands of men over years and found that men who were overweight but exercised on a regular basis had half the death rate of men who were at a normal weight but out of shape. The study found that being in poor physical condition led to more risk than being overweight. However, this doesn’t mean exercise gives you a pass to feast on a diet of fast food – having excess abdominal fat does increase the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Focusing on regular exercise rather than weight loss could help you in the long run.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a BMI under 25 means weight is normal, 25 to 25.9 is considered overweight, and 30 or higher means obesity.

2. Multigrain Equals Healthy

Seven-grain or enriched bread sounds healthy, right? But what you should really look for on a label is whole grain. Whole grain means all parts of the grain kernel are used — the kernel contains fiber, nutrients and other healthy compounds. The germ of the grain is rich in B vitamins and essential fatty acids, its bran is high in fiber, and the endosperm is mostly starch.

If a product uses whole grains, its first ingredient should be listed as whole wheat or whole oats.

Products labeled as “multi-grain” are likely using refined grains, where the germ and bran (AKA the healthy parts) have been removed. Don’t forget to check your labels!

3. Fats Are Bad for Your Body

When dieting, it’s a no-brainer to cut down on fats. But they aren’t all bad. Fat is necessary to your body. During exercise, calories are burned first, but after 20 minutes, your body burns fat to keep you going. It also keeps your hair and skin healthy, absorbs vitamins and insulates your body to keep it warm. It’s important to know which fats are good for you.

Healthy fats include those with omega-3s, such as fish, nuts and seeds.

Unsaturated fats such as avocados, olives and vegetable oils can improve blood cholesterol levels and decrease the risk of heart disease. Avoid trans fats, as these can increase risk of heart disease and cancers.

When you’re trying to get healthy, do your homework.

Content by Lockton Dunning Benefits with info from: https://www.healthywomen.org/content/blog-entry/top-3-common-health-misconceptions and https://www.rd.com/health/top-6-medical-misconceptions/