Don’t Believe the Hype: Debunking 5 Health Misconceptions

Health Misconceptions

Health information is abundant and readily available today. But with access comes misinformation and myths. With so much conflicting information, it’s difficult to know what is true and accurate and what to ignore. Let’s look at some of the most prominent health misconceptions and the evidence that refutes them.

Myth #1: You shouldn’t walk or exercise after a meal

There is a common belief that walking after a meal is detrimental to health, but this is a myth. In fact, walking after a meal helps improve digestion, which is beneficial for health. This is contrary to old wives’ tales that say you should rest after a meal and avoid all exertion.

Even more importantly, walking after eating helps control blood sugar and prevent insulin spikes, thereby reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. A 2016 study of type 2 diabetics found that walking for 10 minutes after every meal lowered blood sugar levels more than walking for a half-hour at other times of the day.

Another 2011 study found that standing or walking for two to five minutes after meals helps prevent blood sugar spikes. Taking a walk, even for a few minutes, could help with blood sugar control if you have prediabetes or type 2 diabetes.

While there are instances where you should be cautious about physical activity after a meal, such as if you have a heart condition, moderate levels of activity can be beneficial for most people.

Myth #2: Getting a flu vaccine can give you the flu

Have you ever heard someone say they won’t get an influenza vaccine because they’re afraid it will give them the flu? It is impossible to get the flu from a flu vaccine. Flu vaccines are made with inactivated (killed) flu viruses or with no flu virus at all, so they cannot cause an active flu infection.

Different types of flu vaccines are available, including inactivated influenza vaccines (IIVs), recombinant influenza vaccines (RIVs), and live attenuated influenza vaccines (LAIVs). Vaccines containing killed flu viruses, like IIVs and RIVs, are not capable of causing the flu. In LAIVs, the flu virus is live but weakened, so it is not strong enough to cause a viral infection.

You can experience mild side effects from a flu vaccine, such as soreness at the injection site, low-grade fever, or muscle aches. These side effects typically disappear within a few days and are a normal part of the body’s immune response to the vaccine. When people think they developed the flu from an influenza vaccine, it’s usually because they mistake vaccine side effects for influenza itself.

Myth #3: Reading in dim light will ruin your vision

Reading in low light can strain your eyes, which leads to fatigue and eye discomfort, but it is unlikely to cause lasting damage to your vision. You won’t suddenly wake up with blurry vision or see things in a different color because of that one time you read a novel with a flashlight under your blanket.

However, it’s still a good idea to give your eyes a break every once in a while, and avoid straining them. The only thing that reading in the dark will do is give you eye strain. So, for comfortable reading, make sure you have enough light so you’re not straining to interpret the words, but don’t worry about permanent damage to your eyes.

Myth #4: Cracking your knuckles will cause arthritis

Cracking your knuckles does not cause long-term damage to your joints or muscles. It is a common habit that some people do to relieve tension or boredom. It may be annoying to those around you, but it’s not injuring your joints.

What causes that annoying cracking noise? When you crack your knuckles, you create a small gap between the bones in your joints. The gap is filled with a small amount of fluid, which creates a popping sound as it is released. The sound is caused by the collapse of gas bubbles in the fluid, not by any damage to the bones or tissues in your joints. Research suggests knuckle cracking does not cause arthritis.

If you are concerned about the habit and want to stop, try stretching or finding other ways to relieve tension or boredom – and it’ll be less annoying for those around you!

Myth #5: Honey, Being Natural, Is Healthier Than Processed Sugar

Honey is a natural sweetener that comes from flower nectar. It contains trace amounts of vitamins and minerals, and some people believe it’s less harmful to health than processed sugar.

However, honey is still a source of natural sugar, and you should only use it in moderation as part of a balanced diet. According to the American Heart Association, women should consume no more than 6 teaspoons (24 grams) of added sugar per day, and men should consume no more than 9 teaspoons (36 grams).

This sticky sweet food is not calorie-free either. One tablespoon of honey contains 64 calories and 17 grams of natural sugar, including fructose, glucose, maltose, and sucrose. While honey may have a slightly different nutritional profile than processed sugar, it is still a food you shouldn’t eat in abundance.

Instead, focus on eating a variety of whole, unprocessed foods, rather than relying on sweeteners, whether they are natural or processed, as a main source of nutrients. The more you consume sweet foods, the more your body craves them. So, learn to appreciate the taste of whole, unprocessed foods without added sweeteners.


it’s essential to be vigilant about the health myths that persist in our society. While some may seem harmless, others can be dangerous and even life-threatening. By staying informed and challenging these misconceptions, we can promote a better understanding of health based on scientific evidence rather than rumors and myths. Let’s work together to dispel these myths and create a healthier, more informed world.


  • Just 2 Minutes of Walking After a Meal Is Surprisingly Good for You. The New York Times. nytimes.com/2022/08/04/well/move/walking-after-eating-blood-sugar.html. Published 2022. Accessed December 29, 2022.
  • Does cracking knuckles cause arthritis? – Harvard Health. Harvard Health. Published August 16, 2014. Accessed December 29, 2022. health.harvard.edu/pain/does-knuckle-cracking-cause-arthritis
  • Pawlowski A. Walking After Eating Can Help Keep Blood Sugar Levels Steady. TODAY.com. Published August 8, 2022. Accessed December 29, 2022. today.com/health/diet-fitness/walking-blood-sugar-level-rcna41995.
  • Preiato D. Is Walking After Eating Good for You? Healthline. Published July 13, 2020. Accessed January 5, 2023. .healthline.com/nutrition/walking-after-eating

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