We all have them: habits we think are healthy because we heard them somewhere on the news or from a health-conscious friend.
Take using BMI to tell whether you’re a healthy weight. Is it really the best measure of fitness?
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 : A recent long-term study looking at data on nearly 4,000 US adults found no benefit in terms of overall risk of dying from standing as opposed to sitting.
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: Viruses like HIV and herpes are fragile, meaning they don’t survive very well outside a nice, warm human body. By the time you sit down on a public toilet seat — even one that was recently used by someone else — most harmful pathogens probably won’t be able to infect you.
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.)
Eating only low-fat foods: Seeking to lose weight, you may opt for a low-fat, high-starch diet. You may choose margarine over butter and “fat-free” instead of “regular,” and curb your indulgence on rich, creamy foods. But it may not work.
A much recent study 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 BMI to tell whether you’re a healthy weight: Some time during your most recent doctor’s visit, your physician probably had you hop on a scale to determine whether you were a healthy weight. After weighing and measuring you, he or she might have shown you a colorful body-mass-index chart.
In reality, the BMI, is not a great measure of fitness when used on its own. Obesity experts say the BMI has several major problems, including the fact that it ignores two important factors: 1) how much body fat you’re carrying around, and 2) your waist circumference, which can be a good measure of your risk for certain diseases, including heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.
Avoiding gluten: Unless you suffer from celiac disease, gluten probably won’t have a negative effect on you.
In fact, numerous studies show that most people suffer from slight bloating and gas when they eat, whether they consume wheat or not. So go ahead and eat that bagel.
Swapping dairy for almond milk: Alternatives to dairy milk have been surging in popularity in the past few years, chief among them almond milk. Yet almond milk is practically devoid of nutrients.
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.
Juicing: When you juice fresh fruits and veggies, you remove all of their fiber, the key ingredient that keeps you feeling full and satisfied until your next meal.
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.
Slathering on hand sanitizer: If you wash your hands regularly throughout the day, hand sanitizer is almost entirely unnecessary. Furthermore, it can’t kill all the germs that plain old soap and water can.
Norovirus and C. difficile, for example, are known to be immune to sanitizing gels.