I think it’s fair to say that we all want to be healthy. Or at least try to be, excluding weekend takeout nights of course, because they definitely don’t count towards your calorie intake. I, err, read it somewhere. With new studies coming out all of the time, it’s hard to choose which advice we mere mortals should follow, and the things that are supposedly good or bad for you seem to change more often than the X-Factor judging panel.
So what’s true and what’s not? And more importantly, can I lie on the sofa scoffing my face with chocolate for hours? Let’s uncover some of these health lies once and for all.
You now only need 6 hours of sleep, not 8
First up on our list of health lies this one. We were previously told that eight hours’ sleep is the optimum amount needed to function well in the day and remain healthy.
The University of California has now revealed findings from their study on sleep patterns of three groups of hunter-gatherers, who didn’t have the trappings of modern-day life. Using watch-sized devices that measured factors such as light exposure, and sleep and waking times, they monitored the patterns for 94 adults over 1000 days.
It was found that on average they slept for just 6 hours and 25 minutes, which is much lower than our Western recommended guidelines. What’s more, these people weren’t the coffee-grabbing zombies that we’d expect them to be from less sleep. In fact they were actually found to be fitter and all-round healthier, with lower obesity rates and better blood pressure.
Ghandi Yetish explained that:
“There’s this expectation that we should all be sleeping for eight or nine hours a night, and if you took away modern technology, people would be sleeping more. But now, for the first time, we are showing that’s not true.”
So there we go. Just think of all the extra activities you’ll be able to squeeze into your day with that extra time.
Sitting down is now okay for you
The NHS stated that ‘remaining seated too long is bad for your health, regardless of how much exercise you do’. They said that there was ‘increasing evidence’ linking obesity, some cancers and premature death with sitting. They also recommended people take breaks from sitting every 30 minutes.
Fast forward a year, and researchers at Exeter University and University College London have now found that it’s not any worse for people to sit down than stand. After studying 5,000 people over 16 years, they found that as long as you do engage in regular exercise, there was no connection between mortality rate and sitting down to watch TV, or at your work desk for extended periods of time. Netflix binge, anyone?
Melvyn Hillsdon from the Exeter sport and health sciences department added:
“Any stationary posture where energy expenditure is low may be detrimental to health, be it sitting or standing,” said Melvyn Hillsdon from Exeter’s sport and health sciences department.”
TO THE SOFA!
Drinking too much water is bad for you
The NHS states that ‘in climates such as the UK’s, we should drink about 1.2 litres (six to eight glasses) of fluid every day to stop us getting dehydrated. In hotter climates, the body needs more than this.’
Published in the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine, a panel of 17 experts have now reported that drinking too much water could be just as dangerous as drinking too little. They’ve advised just drinking water when you feel thirsty, to avoid over-hydration that can overwhelm the kidneys.
Milk chocolate is now good for you too, HURRAH!
Chocolate is generally unhealthy, but dark chocolate with a cocoa percentage of 70% can improve health and reduce the risk of heart disease.
This is 100% one of the health lies we could get behind. A study has now suggested that milk chocolate can also provide valuable nutrients. Researchers at the University of Aberdeen monitored the snacking habits of 21,000 people over a 12-year period, finding that eating up to 100g of chocolate every day can lower heart disease by 25%. The chance of having a stroke also falls by 23%.
I hear ya, Bruce!
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