17 Healthy Habits That Don't Work
By Erin Brodwin / Business Insider
We all have them — habits we think are healthy because we heard them somewhere on the news or from a health-conscious friend. And no matter how much we hate them, we just keep doing them because we think they're good for us.
Take avoiding gluten, for example. Is it really healthy?
Or taking a daily multivitamin. Healthy habit or a little bit of nonsense?
The answers to these questions might surprise you.
Using a standing desk
In the short-term, however, standing does burn more calories per minute; so if losing weight is all you're worried about, stand on!
Using toilet seat liners
Plus, your skin is an effective block against any microbes. (Unless, of course, you have a cut or open wound there, which could allow the bacteria to get in.)
Swapping dairy for almond milk
By themselves, almonds are protein powerhouses. But a typical glass of almond milk, by volume, is just about 2% almonds and contains almost no protein. And all the vitamins inside are added. So if you're looking for a truly healthy alternative, opt for soy, skim, or low-fat milk.
What you keep is the sugar. In the short term, a high-sugar, low-protein diet means constant hunger pangs, mood swings, and low energy. In the long term, you can lose muscle mass since muscles rely on protein.
Taking tons of Vitamin C to ward off a cold
The upper limit for an adult is 2,000 milligrams a day. Any more than that will likely cause diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, heartburn, headaches, and other side effects.
Eating egg whites instead of whole eggs
But there's good news: A growing body of research shows that for the vast majority of people, dietary cholesterol (from foods you eat) doesn't really have much of an effect on your blood cholesterol. So unless you have high cholesterol, ditch those nasty egg-white-only alternatives. Good morning, eggs Benedict!
"Research shows," they write, "that ear candling is ineffective at removing earwax and is also not an effective treatment for any other conditions." Plus, the practice can end up pushing earwax deeper into your ear. Even worse, you can burn your face, hair, scalp, or ear. So don't.
Slathering on hand sanitizer
Norovirus and C. difficile, for example, are immune to sanitizing gels.
That isn't to say we don't need small amounts of vitamins to survive — without vitamins like A, C, and E, for example, we have a hard time turning food into energy and can develop conditions like rickets or scurvy. Here's the thing: Research shows we get more than enough of these substances from what we eat, so no need for a pill!
MSG is often associated with a series of symptoms, from numbness at the base of the neck to a general sense of fatigue, that are commonly lumped together and called "Chinese Restaurant Syndrome." Eating too much is the more likely culprit here, not eating MSG.
Holding your breath after someone sneezes or coughs
If you're nearby, holding your breath won't do much good in preventing them from landing on your mouth, nose, or eyes. It'll stop you from pulling in any bacteria hanging directly in front of your face, but that's about it.
Not cracking your knuckles
Commenting on a recent study in PLOS One, Greg Kawchuk, lead researcher and professor of rehabilitation medicine at the University of Alberta, said, "Although speculative, we wonder if being able to crack ones joints is a sign that the joint is actually healthy and that the inability to do so could be a sign of joint problems to come."
Going on a "detox" diet
While our kidneys filter our blood and remove any waste from our diet, our livers process medications and detoxify any chemicals we ingest. Paired together, these organs make our bodies natural cleansing powerhouses.
Eating only low-fat foods
An eight-year trial involving almost 50,000 women, roughly half of whom went on a low-fat diet, found that those on the low-fat plan didn't lower their risk of breast cancer, colorectal cancer, or heart disease. Plus, they didn't lose much weight, if any. New recommendations show that healthy fats, like those from nuts, fish, and avocados, are actually good for you in moderation! So add them back into your diet if you haven't already.
Using a recumbent bike instead of a regular one
Unless you have a specific injury, though, like a shoulder, knee, or hip injury, these types of bikes are wholly unnecessary.
Avoiding the microwave
Of course, some nutrients begin to disintegrate when heated, whether it's from a microwave, a stove, or something else. But since microwave-cooking times are typically much shorter than oven-cooking times, microwaving something often does a better job of keeping its vitamins intact than other cooking methods.
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