3 common health myths that show you shouldn't believe everything you read

The so-called medical experts have been conning us. No, I’m not referring to your doctor. I am referring to the medical and scientific establishment that promotes certain foods, products or behaviours in the name of health. Whether this has been by intent or accident is open to question. The problem is that if you stick around long enough – 10 or 20 years – you find out that what you were previously told is wrong. There are many examples of this but here I will focus on three.

  1. Cholesterol and saturated fat is bad for you

Dr George Mann, in the New England Journal of Medicine, described the cholesterol myth as ‘the greatest scam in the history of medicine’. In 1997, a massive trial of 350,000 men at high risk of heart disease found that drastically cutting down their cholesterol and saturated fat consumption did not improve their survival prospects.

The most common medical treatment for reducing cholesterol has been drugs called statins. These are not harmless. Many develop symptoms such as joint pains from these medications. Cholesterol is produced by the body – and for good reason – particularly for the proper function of the nervous system. What we have done is replaced fats with corn syrup and refined sugars for flavour that scientists now say is the real culprit in causing heart disease.

 

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  1. Chiropractic is quackery

From the day that I entered chiropractic college, it became apparent that the medical profession was maligning chiropractic, calling it quackery with no scientific basis. The attacks at times were quite vicious. In 1978, the chiropractic profession had enough. They took the American Medical Association to court and won an anti-trust lawsuit.

I used to hear derogatory comments even from some so-called friends. It made me more determined to prove them wrong and over the years my patients got results with many having their health restored where others had given up. Chiropractic is not only a philosophy and art, but also has a scientific basis, and the bottom line is that it works.

As they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. In the past few decades the medical and physiotherapy professions have tried to do what we as chiropractors have been doing for over 100 years.

 

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  1. Being overweight is bad for you

This is another case of boxing people into a category and assuming that they will be healthy. It is interesting when I go swimming, how many seniors I see who are overweight and yet, they are still going strong in their 70s and 80s.

The craze over the past 20 years has been BMI (Body Mass Index). This is your weight in kilos divided by your height in metres squared – “normal” range is considered to be a BMI of 20 to 25. The interesting thing is that in the past few years research has demonstrated people in the 25 to 30 BMI range (overweight) live longer. So the obsession with losing weight that has been pushed the past few decades is now being totally challenged.

 

The solution

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About 25 years ago, someone we know was told she needed coronary bypass surgery. She decided not to go through with it and is still going in her 90s. I had a patient who was told 20 years prior to seeing me that unless she had spinal surgery she would be in a wheelchair within two years. Needless to say, when she walked into my practice she was living a normal life without the need for a wheelchair.

 

Whenever you consider making a health choice, don’t assume everything you are being told is correct. Do some research, get another opinion and look at the benefits and drawbacks of what you are considering. Don’t take anything you hear as gospel. Make sure that you discuss your options with your health professional.

 

What do you think? Do you believe these myths? Tell us below.