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Timothy Caulfield

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9 Health Myths Debunked

Posted: 04/30/2012 8:27 am

Our world is saturated with advice about health and fitness. It is hurled at us from every direction - from sources that are clearly suspect (infomercials, fashion magazines and my "stylist") to those that are meant to have more heft, legitimacy and influence (health care providers, scientists and even government). Given that about 60% of us are overweight and almost none of us workout regularly or eat a healthy diet, it is no surprise we - both individuals and society - are looking for simple answers.

But here is the reality: Most health advice is either total baloney or, from a bang-for-your-buck perspective, pretty useless. We have long known the key steps to a healthy lifestyle - real exercise, real food, cutting calories - and they have little in common with all the noise emanating from the health industry. Indeed, despite the emergence of more and more relevant and reliable research, health and fitness myths have remarkable staying power. And new ones are emerging all the time.

In the hope of getting to the basic truth about the best way to optimize health, I have spent several years immersed in the world of health and fitness. What I found was a sea of myths and misinformation. Here are a few of my favorites:

Timothy Caulfield is the author of The Cure for Everything [Beacon Press, $24.95]


You can tone a part of your body by working out that part of the body.
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Few myths are as pernicious and enduring as this one. Think of all the fitness equipment that has been sold based on this scientifically impossible premise. Indeed, useless toning gear undoubtedly makes up a measurable portion of the merchandise found at America's garage sales. Hey neighbor, want a vintage Thigh Master?
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