Each year a million new myths are made and busted and 2015 was no exception. However, in a big win for science, we did manage to break away from a few of them. Here are few myths that were proven false this year, all for the betterment of humanity. Viva science!
Low-fat food is low calorie: False
A majority of low-fat foods don’t cut as many calories as you’d expect, reports a new study published in Appetite. Researchers at the University of Toronto analysed more than 5,700 packaged foods from grocery stores to find that about 61% of products billed as low-fat did not have significantly fewer calories than their full-fat counterparts. In this study, a “significant” drop in calories was defined as a 25% decrease.
How’s this possible? Because when companies take fat out of foods, they add in other calorie-dense ingredients like sugar to make up for lost flavor. In fact, many low-fat foods are higher in sugar than the full-fat versions.
Sea salt is healthy: False
Sea salt and other natural salts are just as bad for you as common table salt, warns a new study. Typically people opt for natural versus processed to avoid preservatives such as sodium, but in this case, all salt is sodium. Sea salt and table salt have equal sodium content despite sea salt being deemed less processed than table salt due to the way it is produced. Lowering sodium intake along with other positive dietary and lifestyle factors can be a proactive measure to prevent or delay the onset of certain conditions and improve management of such conditions long term.
Exercising makes up for a sedentary lifestyle: False
The benefits of exercise are blunted if you also spend most of the rest of your day sitting, reports a new report published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Dr David Alter, a heart expert from the University of Toronto and senior scientist at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, and his colleagues found that sitting too much—even among people who exercise regularly—led to higher rates of hospitalization, heart disease and cancer, as well as early death.
Vaping is safer than smoking: False
Electronic cigarettes, also known as personal vaporisers, are increasingly being used by people who want to quit smoking, are not a safer nicotine-delivery device than standard cigarettes. New research shows that e-cigarettes vapours are made of small particles containing chemicals that trigger and worsen acute respiratory diseases, including asthma and bronchitis. In a cellular model, the study found some e-cigarette emissions cause acute toxicity, or lung damage, similar to that caused by conventional tobacco smoke.
The study found up to 40% of particles emitted by an e-cigarette can deposit in the deepest area of lungs. The chemicals contained in these small particles irritate airways and worsen pre-existing respiratory conditions.
Premature babies have weak lungs as adults: False
Babies born prematurely are more likely to develop asthma, but they grow out of it, reported a study published in the medical journal PLOS ONE. Children do better and better as they grow, and as adults they suffer no more lung conditions than others. There are a lot of half stories, myths even, about the health implications of prematurity, and they can be a source of worry for parents of premature babies. It is, therefore, good to know that as adults, premature babies are no more susceptible to lung conditions than other people.