Wellness Myths Debunked: Part II

By Holly Bieler
Updated on 02. Nov. 2020

The truth behind some of the top wellness myths.

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As the wellness world has exploded in recent years, so too have the myths it’s long peddled. To help combat some of these most common misconceptions surrounding health, we’ve launched our Wellness Myths Debunked series, where we’ll tackle some of the biggest health myths around. Welcome to the second part of this series! If there's anything you'd like us to check out for future installments, email holly@malibumag.com.

Addiction is a choice.

For many years, it was believed that addiction was an indication of someone’s lack of will-power, that they could choose any time they wanted when to not be addicted. Many people think that to this day. In fact, addiction is a very real chronic illness, with accompanying changes in people’s behavior, body functions and their brain. Indeed, in a November 2016 report, former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, M.D. confirmed that that addiction is a chronic illness, with sufferers seeing major changes in the brain that relate to decision making, memories, our ability to control our behaviors, and judgment.

Carbs make you gain weight.

Carbs have long been vilified by weight loss programs as one of the easiest ways to pack on the pounds. Turns out, that’s far from true. Weight loss happens when you consume more energy than your body utilizes. It doesn’t differentiate between what form that energy takes when it’s consumed. It’s true that empty carbs, such as white breads, sweets and even some fruits, can lead to weight gain, as they contain a lot of calories but won’t keep you full for a long time. However choosing carbs that are nutrient and particularly fiber-rich, such as whole grains, brown rice and certain vegetables, are actually a helpful addition to most diets.

Cracking your knuckles causes arthritis.

It’s one of the most common old wives tales children hear growing up: crack your knuckles when you’re young, and suffer arthritis when you’re older. But as it turns out, cracking your knuckles has no correlation to arthritis, or the weakening of bones in older age. See, the sound you hear when you crack your knuckles isn’t your bones or hands cracking at all. Instead, it’s the sound of bubbles bursting in your joint fluid. However that doesn’t mean cracking your knuckles isn’t without certain risks, albeit noting as serious as arthritis. If you crack your knuckles too much, it could eventaully lead to swollen hands or a looser grip.

Microwaves can cause cancer.

This is another thing we tend to hear as children: stay away from the microwave, because the waves can cause cancer. However the truth is there is no research that indicates that microwaves can cause cancer. Microwaves work utilizing electromagnetic energy, which heats up the water molecules found in food. However these electromagnetic waves never change the chemical structures of food. It’s higher forms of radiation, including X-rays and ultraviolet radiation, that are associated with causing cancer and other illnesses. In addition, the amount of radiation that federal laws in the  U.S. allow to leak from microwaves is way under levels which have been shown to cause harm.

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