Health lies you might have been told

When it comes to your health sometimes its hard to know the fact from the fiction, what with old wives tales handed down from family to family and advertising material that gets thrust into your faces.

So Starts at 60 decided to shed a little light on five of the most common health myths you’ve been told about over time.

Your urine is sterile

While it might look pretty clear at times, your wee is not sterile. According to research conducted at Loyola University of Chicago your urine harbours quite a few different bacteria, even if you’re healthy.

The research team analysed urine samples collected from a group of healthy women and found at least 85 species of bacteria, so it’s probably not a good idea to wee on a wound.

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Read more: What your urine says about you — you might be surprised

Cracking your knuckles will lead to arthritis

You know your joints can make a variety of sounds, what with all the popping and cracking that goes on, but if you were told knuckle cracking would cause or exacerbate arthritis, it’s not true.

Recent studies conducted by the University of Health Sciences in the United States have found that a history of cracking your knuckles on a regular basis does little to contribute to osteoarthritis in your hands. The sound isn’t all that appealing, but it is merely gas being dissolved in fluid between joints.

Read more: Home remedies for osteoarthritis

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Skipping meals is a great way to lose weight

When it comes to losing weight, skipping meals is not the way to go. In fact, some studies have even found that when you skip a meal you could be increasing your appetite, which leads you to eat more than you need when you eventually get around to consuming food.

The other thing about skipping meals you might want to consider is that your body goes into ‘survival mode’ and your metabolism slows down in order to conserve energy (usually fat) instead of burning it.

What you’ll want to do if you are looking to lose weight is maintain a balanced, nutritious diet and ensure exercise forms part of your daily routine.

Read more: 5 easy steps for long-term weight loss

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Eating food that falls on the floor is fine if you get to it in 5 seconds

You may have heard that dropping food on the floor is still okay to eat so long as you rescue it within 5 seconds. However, the commonly called ‘5 second rule’ may well have been debunked by researchers at Aston University’s School of Life and Health Sciences.

What you need to consider is the type of food and the type of floor it falls on, in terms of how much bacteria will end up on your snack.

According to the research, different foods pick up different amounts of bacteria. The research found that moist and sticky foods for example are more likely to pick up bacteria than foods that were dry. Things like biscuits and chips don’t tend to ‘settle’ on a surface quickly, but that honey sandwich you dropped makes 20 per cent more contact with the surface of the floor. Result? More bacteria.

Read more: Signs you might have food poisoning

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On a hot day, any drink will do

As much as you’d like a cold beer or a chilled glass of white on a warm day, having one isn’t doing your body much good. The myth here is that ‘any drink will do’. You want to avoid having drinks that are high in sugar or alcohol because they will only dehydrate you further.

Research has also found that soft drinks can increase your risk of kidney injuries, compared to drinking plain water.

What things about health have you been told that you don’t quite believe? What do you think about these health lies?