The Truth About 12 Health Myths
Learn which adages—about nutrition, home remedies, and more—need an update.
You’ve Always Heard That…
You Shouldn’t Cut Off the Bread’s Crust. It’s Full of Vitamins.
The truth is: In a 2002 German study, researchers found that the baking process produces a novel type of cancer-fighting antioxidant in bread that is eight times more abundant in the crust than in the crumb. That said, it’s more important to serve whole-wheat bread, with or without the crust, because it’s all around higher in nutrients, such as fiber, says New York City nutritionist Keri Glassman, author of The O2 Diet ($25, amazon.com). Make sure the ingredients list “100% whole-wheat flour.” Breads simply labeled “wheat” are usually made with a mixture of enriched white flour and whole-wheat flour and have less fiber.
If You Go Out With Wet Hair, You’ll Catch a Cold.
The truth is: You will feel cold but will be just fine healthwise, says Jim Sears, a board-certified pediatrician in San Clemente, California, and a cohost of the daytime-TV show The Doctors. He cites a study done at the Common Cold Research Unit, in Salisbury, England, in which a group of volunteers was inoculated with a cold virus up their noses. Half the group stayed in a warm room while the rest took a bath and stood dripping wet in a hallway for half an hour, then got dressed but wore wet socks for a few more hours. The wet group didn’t catch any more colds than the dry. Sears’s conclusion: “Feeling cold doesn’t affect your immune system.”
If You Cross Your Eyes, They’ll Stay That Way.
The truth is: “There’s no harm in voluntary eye crossing,” says W. Walker Motley, an assistant professor of ophthalmology at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. But if you notice your child doing this a lot (when he’s not mimicking a cartoon character), he might have other vision problems.
You Should Feed a Cold and Starve a Fever.
The truth is: In both cases, eat and drink, then drink some more. “Staying hydrated is the most impor-tant thing to do, because you lose a lot of fluids when you’re ill,” says Sears, who adds that there’s no need for special beverages containing electrolytes (like Gatorade) unless you’re severely dehydrated from vomiting or diarrhea.