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Common Sense Advice That Just Isn’t True

Posted by melagee on July 25, 2009

1) Milk is mucus forming.

Actually, it’s not.  A lot of people think that when you drink something milky (like milk!) or creamy, that it increases the amount of phlegm in your throat and nose.  There has never been a study that conclusively proved a link between the consumption of milk and the increase in mucus and there is absolutely zero scientific evidence to support the theory.  Milk is a creamy substance that coats the throat as it goes down, and this causes some people to confuse that coating with actual mucus production.  This is also one of those misnomers that people believe because they’ve been told to.  So you may think you have an increase in mucus when you drink milk, but that’s only because you’ve been told this happens.  More information on this can be found here.

2) Eating before bedtime slows down weight loss

The idea is that if you eat a bunch of foods and then go to sleep or lie down right away, your body doesn’t have the chance to burn up all of the calories you just took in and you will get fatter.  In fact it doesn’t matter if you get your exercise right after you eat, or if you get it the next morning.  What matters, as far as weight gain goes, is that you balance your calorie intake with your exercise, and it really doesn’t matter too much when you do one or the other.  Also, this is another situation where the way in which your brain works can come into play: sometimes people who eat late at night can gain weight because they take a relaxed approach to late-night dining and have a harder time denying themselves a second helping, larger portions, or foods that are generally bad for you.  This is not so much related to being still in bed as it is to the way many people feel more relaxed at night.  More info here.

3) Wait 1 hour after eating before swimming

I bet that most of the people who follow this advice don’t even really understand why.  The myth is that if you go swimming within an hour after eating, you will get stomach cramps and possibly curl up in pain and drown.  The idea behind the myth is that exercising causes the heart to pump blood to your skeletal muscles, however, having a bunch of food in your belly causes your heart to pump blood to your stomach instead, which causes a lack of oxygen to your skeletal muscles and results in cramping.  Most of us have hearts strong enough to pump blood to more than one place, so this really isn’t a concern.  A large meal might hinder your performance if you decide to exercise right away, but only because it might cause you to feel sluggish.  Generally speaking, if you’re going to be exercising for more than an hour, it’s a good idea to eat something first.  Need more?

4) Drink 8 glasses of water per day

Yeeeeeaaaah, no.  The 8 glasses of water rule is really arbitrary, and not even a good rule of thumb.  Water is good for you, and you should drink lots of it, but to say that everyone regardless of age, weight, activity level, environment, should be drinking the same amount of water is to oversimplify the importance of drinking a proper amount of water each day.  Most people do not need to drink as much as 8 cups a day (1 cup being 250 mil), either, so there could be a risk of over hydrating.  Oh, and guess what?  The other liquids you drink, including juice, pop, and even beer, all count towards your required daily intake.  A glass of cola won’t give you the same amount of water intake as a glass of water would, but it will give you some, and if you drink a lot of cola you can become tolerant to some of its dehydrating properties and get even more water value out of it.  I won’t go into how food also counts towards your daily intake, though, since that’s just getting freaky.  More info!

5) Shaving makes your hair grow back faster and coarser

This is my favourite one, because this is the one that people vehemently cling to and refuse to give up.  Practically every woman I know points to her own legs as proof that when you start shaving the hair will grow back so much faster and coarser.  If you want to know why it seems like your leg hair is growing back faster and coarser, here’s why:  first of all, don’t compare your current leg hair with the leg hair you had as a 12-year-old girl.  Hormones have a very distinct effect on your body hair, as far as the speed of growth and the roughness of the hair, and the fact that you had softer hair when you were prepubescent is really very normal.  We all had different hair when we were kids.  How many brunettes do you know who used to be blond?  Regardless of whether you had started shaving or not, you would still have the same kind of leg hair you have now, and you can thank your hormones for that, not your razor.

Coarseness can also seem amplified by the fact that when you shave your hair, you’re cutting your hair on an angle, and when the part of your leg hair that’s just under the skin starts to grow out again, it’s growing out on that same angle that gives the appearance of thickness.  Not to mention that when it’s first starting to poke out of your leg it tends to stand up straight until it’s long enough to flop over and lay flat, which again, makes it seem like your leg hair is pointy and rough.  Finally, there’s the fact that when you shave and the hair starts to grow in again, it’s really easy to make the comparison between hairless and hairy, and have it seem like it’s moving superfast.  Once the hair has started to grow, it becomes a lot harder to make the comparison between hairy and harrier.  People tend to make a correlation between the fact that they JUST shaved and the hair is growing out already, but that’s like when you’ve JUST cleaned the floor and you see the first muddy footprint.  The fact that you cleaned the floor doesn’t mean it’s going to get dirty faster than it would if you didn’t clean it, it’s just easier to notice the dirt immediately after you’ve done the cleaning.  Here’s a little bit more about this.  And here.


One Response to “Common Sense Advice That Just Isn’t True”

  1. *** Dave said

    Random Blogathonner wandering past to see how people are doing. Good work — you’re writing a lot. Keep it up — we’re close to half-way.

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