Myths and science go together as well as oil and water. Scientists love to prove age-old myths to be just myths with no factual basis in science.
In a recent online conversation, commenters discussed myths that really aren’t true. Here are ten they no longer say are true.
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Have you ever noticed that the food pyramid and recommendations change every so often? Those recommendations aren’t always based on nutrition. Sometimes, it’s about money, and many of the recommendations are based on studies that have since been proven wrong.
One person said, “Most dietary information that is widely accepted by the public was from studies that have been proven wrong since the 70s.”
Another said, “Like the whole ‘2,000 calories a day’ thing. Everybody’s bodies are so vastly different, one person might need to eat upwards of 3000 or more while another person can easily get by on 1,500 or so.”
Lightning Doesn’t Strike the Same Place Twice
We all grew up hearing that lightning will never strike in the same place twice. However, this is a myth. One man said, “I always knew this was a lie, there’s a tree on my dad’s farm that’s been struck twice. Even after removing the tree lightning still struck where it use to be last year.”
Another said, “The Empire State Building gets hit a few dozen times per year.”
Cracking Your Knuckles Leads to Arthritis
If you’ve ever popped your knuckles in a crowd, you’ve probably been told that you are going to get arthritis. Spoiler alert! You won’t. The sound is just escaping gas.
One commenter said. “Some scientist guy spent 60 years doing that experiment. It’s actually just gas between your joints. I keep having to explain this to all my family who keeps telling me to stop cracking them. I will never stop.”
MSG Causes Headaches and Is Bad For You
MSG will not give you headaches, and it isn’t bad for you. What it will give you is a delicious meal! MSG is a seasoning, and it gives foods like soy sauce their umami or savory flavor.
One woman said, “The MSG lie is actively harmful too, as people try to avoid it. It makes food more savory and has less sodium than salt. It helps make veggies more palatable to folks who have trouble with them. I’ve been using it to make healthier foods taste better for me and its been indispensable in my weight loss journey.”
You Can Catch a Cold From Being Out In the Cold
Cold weather doesn’t cause colds. Colds are caused by a virus, something scientists have known for years, but people still spread this myth.
An immunologist said, “I am an immunologist and going out in the cold does not lower your immune systems strength. This is for sure a myth. Even if you feel cold, your core temperature won’t be low enough to actually impact your immune systems ability to function. Going out in the cold can however injure your mucous membranes which can make it easier for viruses and bacteria to enter your body. But your immune system will still be at it’s full strength to fight them off.”
If Birds Eat Rice, They Will Explode
At some point, a myth was started that if birds eat rice thrown at weddings, they will explode. That is not the case at all. In fact, birds really enjoy eating rice.
One person said, “Birds eat rice all the time. It’s actually good for them, especially brown rice. I believe this myth was made up so people would stop throwing rice at weddings, but harming the birds wasn’t an actual risk. It was getting rice grains stuck in your ear that was.”
Every Wolf Pack Has an Alpha
Every wolf pack does not have an alpha as a leader. Wolf packs are actually families that are led by a breeding pair. One person said, “The person who made the first claim debunked his own claim, but nobody cared.”
Another replied, “I feel so bad for the poor dude. He tried so hard to correct the one mistake he made, but to no avail. Also I respect him for even admitting he was wrong, seems like he really cared about his research and not just the fame.”
Shaved Hair Grows Back Thicker and Darker
Chances are you’ve heard the myth before that if you shave hair, it will grow back thicker and darker. However, it won’t. Some people think this myth was created to encourage young males to shave their peach fuzz.
One man said, “I think it is influenced by the fact that many people shave for the first time during puberty, when your hair will most likely grow back thicker and darker. That would happen without shaving, since they’re going through puberty and all.”
Crouch Under an Overpass During a Tornado
There is a myth that if you are caught in a tornado, you can crouch under an overpass and be safe. That’s false. Find a ditch to hide in instead.
One person said, “Hiding under a highway overpass is actually not a good way to survive a tornado. It has been scientifically proven that the wind gets concentrated and the speeds increase underneath the overpass. If you aren’t shielded by a bridge girder or something similar you’ll just get swept away and mulched. Your best bet for survival if you cannot escape the tornado is to find the nearest deep ditch or hole.”
Sugar Makes You Hyper
Sugar does not cause hyperactivity, and numerous studies have been done over the years to confirm it.
One commenter talks about their favorite scientific research study involving little boys and sugar, stating, “In the experimental group, the researchers told mothers the boys received a high dose of sugar. In the control group, researchers told mothers they received a sugar-less placebo. Mothers in the experimental group reported higher levels of hyperactivity than mothers in the control group. Well, it turns out the researchers fed both groups the same sugar-less placebo. The only thing measured here was the mother’s belief that sugar causes hyperactivity.”
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This thread inspired this post.
I’m John Schmoll, a former stockbroker, MBA-grad, published finance writer, and founder of Frugal Rules.
As a veteran of the financial services industry, I’ve worked as a mutual fund administrator, banker, and stockbroker and was Series 7 and 63-licensed, but I left all that behind in 2012 to help people learn how to manage their money.
My goal is to help you gain the knowledge you need to become financially independent with personally-tested financial tools and money-saving solutions.