health

"Detoxing is completely unnecessary": 9 health myths doctors want you to stop believing.

There's so much health advice floating round. Tonnes of it. And while most of what you know probably comes from your parents (ahem... "Don't wear your hair wet outside or you'll get a cold!"), now more than ever, you can't believe everything you see or read. Especially when it comes from that nutrition student you follow on Instagram.

Watch: Here are seven health myths debunked. Post continues below.


Video via Mamamia

To sort out what's total BS and what's not, we speak to Dr Stephen Massey at Bondi Doctors and ask him to tell us some of the most common health myths that doctors hate.

1. The flu vaccine can give you the flu.

This is one myth that's been circulating round for yonks, and it stops a helluva lot of people from getting immunised. 

But the simple fact is that the flu vaccine doesn't give you the flu. "The flu vaccine doesn't contain the flu virus so cannot make you sick," said Dr Massey.

"The vaccine is normally given at the start of winter when colds and flus are starting to circulate, so getting sick after the vaccine is not uncommon - but this is purely a coincidence."

2. Carbs are bad.

How many times have you sworn off bread because it'll make you 'gain weight'? Yeah?

Don't... do this. 

"Carbohydrates along with fat and protein are the chemical compounds which give us energy from food. None of them are good or bad - it’s the balance that matters," explains Dr Massey.

Eat the bread.

3. Exercise is the key to weight loss.

The verdict is in, friends: When your goal is weight loss, changing your diet is what makes all the difference - not how many hours you spend slogging it out in the gym.

Image: Getty

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"While exercise has many physical and mental health benefits, if weight loss is the goal then diet is the key," said Dr Massey. "The amount of exercise required to burn off excess consumed calories is almost impossible unless you live in a gym."

4. Teething causes fever.

While it's a super common belief, Dr Massey said these two things are not linked. Meaning? You just have a baby that is teething AND has a fever. What fun!

"Young children are often teething and are often sick. The two may occur at the same time, however one does not cause the other," he said.

5. You need to take supplements. 

Anyone else just chug down a few vitamins every morning because they're supposed to? Same. But turns out there's actually a lot of confusing information out there. 

Listen: Speaking of supplements... what does collagen actually do for your skin?

Do we all really need to take supplements, Dr M?

"This is true in a rare number of cases (e.g. pregnancy), however most people can get everything they need naturally. Adding surplus to your body's needs is of no benefit and will only create expensive vitamin-rich urine," he said.

Fancy!

6. Detoxes are good for you.

Popularised by celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow and the likes, detoxes have become all the rage in recent years. But are they actually a thing we need to do?

According to Dr Massey, the concept of detox diets is irrational and unscientific. "Detoxing is completely unnecessary as our bodies are performing this task for us every day," said Dr Massey. 

Read: Massive waste of time (and money).  

As long as you have a healthy liver and kidneys, your body can detoxify itself just fine. "If someone has concerns about the 'toxins' they are putting into their body, I would advise they assess their lifestyle and look at long term sustainable changes to support good health," said Dr Massey.

7. Juice cleanses can help you lose weight.

Heard of juice cleanses? A form of 'detox diets', juice cleanses involve only consuming fruit and vegetable juices and can last from a few days to several weeks. And they're also totally ineffective.

"Juice diets will result in weight loss, however as the diet cannot be sustained the weight loss will not be sustained," said Dr Massey. 

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Image: Getty

Put simply, this is not a long-term thing.

"Like most diets, this results in 'yo-yo-ing' which is of little health benefit. The only diet that works is the one you can do forever. A permanent change to eating habits is the key to achieving sustained weight loss. Simple, but not easy."

8. Wearing too much sunscreen will make you vitamin D deficient.

You guys. Don't not wear sunscreen because you think it'll make you vitamin D deficient. This is utter BS and really freaking dangerous - cause, you know, skin cancer.

According to Dr Massey, there is no evidence behind this whole myth. "Most likely enough UV still penetrates to give us the vitamin D we need. People who wear sunscreen have the same levels of vitamin D as those who don’t, but lower rates of skin cancer."

Touché .

9. The more water you drink the better.

While drinking water when you're thirsty is a thing you should definitely do, don't feel like you need to down eleventy million litres of water a day to meet some arbitrary number. Not only will you be peeing every 30 minutes, but there is such thing as overdoing it. 

"Drinking too much water creates electrolyte imbalances which can be fatal," said Dr Massey. Sheesh.

"We get some water from food so around two litres is probably about right. On the other hand, some doctors think it’s OK to be guided by thirst - so the truth is probably somewhere in between."

So, yeah - there's no need to count glasses.

Feature image: Getty

Are you guilty of believing any of the above myths? Share with us in the comment section below.