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6 Medical Myths Even Your Doctor May Still

"The more things change, the more they stay the same." This couldn't be truer of our health care
delivery system. As a practicing physician for more than 30 years, I have experienced firsthand the
explosion of medical technology, much of which has dramatically changed the way we diagnose
pathology and the way we surgically and medically treat pathology. I will admit that this has served
patients and doctors well, yet recent history has seen an explosion of illness and morbidity in our
What I feel compelled to take issue with, and the reason I am writing this treatise, is that the actual
paradigm of medical care has not changed much in spite of all of our technological advances.
Physicians have been extensively trained and have held steadfast in the belief that presenting
symptoms are entities unto themselves. These symptom complexes have been treated as if they have
a life of their own, separate and apart from the innocent bystander host, the person with the medical
problem. We have divided the human body into a jigsaw puzzle of component parts. We've taken
the jigsaw puzzle apart and assigned a specialist to address each one of these pieces of the whole,
losing sight of the fact that everything is part of the whole, and everything we do as physicians to
each little part affects the whole person. This has fostered the current allopathic paradigm of
"symptom care" in lieu of the more important issue of "health care."
In order to establish a system that is truly focused on health care, we need to expose some "myths"
that will allow us to unlock the door to creating a more efficient and successful healthcare delivery
Myth #1- Technology has improved healthcare
Ask any physician if he believes that technology has improved health care and you will get a
resounding "Yes!" Advances in medical technology now enable us to look inside the human body
with relative ease and with great detail. Our surgical tools allow us to operate on all parts of the
body with a minimum of trauma and blood loss. Technology has helped us improve the quality of
life for millions of patients every year. It has enabled us to save countless lives as well. Therefore, it
is certainly a foregone conclusion that technology has, in fact, improved our health. Or has it?
Statistically, since the age of technology, there has been an onslaught of increasing pathology. The
amount of illness and morbidity in our society is dramatically rising. There are now more cases of
cancer, heart disease, arthritis, auto-immune illnesses, endocrine disorders, developmental disorders,
allergies, respiratory problems, infectious diseases, neurological problems, musculo-skeletal
pathology, gastro-intestinal disorders, psychological illness, etc., than ever before.
While it is true that our technology has enabled us to better handle the enormity of disorders now
facing mankind, it has done literally nothing for "health care." If it had, we would have seen a
decrease in the amount of illness and pathology in society. We would have experienced a drop in the
amount of people requiring intervention from the medical community. Pharmaceutical companies
would not be as rich and powerful as they are if people would be less dependent on medication to

"feel well". If anything, advances in technology have fostered a narrow field of vision, focused more
on early detection and intervention than on prevention. If, by definition, health care means "the
maintenance of good health," then technology has failed miserably to produce any measurable
improvement in the overall state of health of mankind.
Myth #2 - Inflammation is bad
Ask any doctor what to do about inflammation and the answer will be a uniform, "Take an antiinflammatory." While it is true that taking medication to suppress inflammation can certainly lead to
increased comfort, should we be doing that in the first place? Is inflammation bad? Is it something
that occurs by freak accident, some physiologic aberration, that occurs and causes great distress and
suffering amongst mankind? We have been conditioned to think of inflammation as something bad
because it causes pain and makes us miserable, therefore it should be medicated and suppressed.
Right? Wrong.
Inflammation is a directed response by the immune system designed to detoxify, repair and protect
tissues under any form of functional or metabolic stress. It is important to understand the purpose of
inflammation in order to see why we should not work to suppress it, but rather to support it.
Whenever there are tissues in our body under any form of functional or metabolic stress, the
problem will be immediately identified by the immune system. It first recruits a pathway called
primary inflammation. This pathway is employed by the body in order to detoxify the tissues under
stress (as tissues under stress increase their metabolic rate and produce more toxic by-products) as
well as facilitate the repair of any injured cells. A primary inflammatory response will produce no
symptoms in low-level stress situations, as long as it is efficient in managing the problem. You
would not even know that this process is going on because there are no identifiable symptoms such
as pain, swelling, redness and heat. Cardinal signs of inflammation will occur only when there is
rapid, high level stress in an area such as in acute trauma, repetitive stress episodes, allergic/toxic
reactions and metabolic disease.
In situations where the stress on the tissues is beyond the capability of the primary pathway, or in
situations where there is an inefficient inflammatory response (we will discuss this later in the
treatise), the immune system will then incorporate the secondary, or chronic, inflammatory pathway.
This pathway is a protective pathway. It prevents rapid tissue destruction by allowing for cellular
adaptation to the stress as well as the release of pain-causing chemicals to prevent continued
"overuse and abuse" of the involved part. Therefore, the patient becomes aware that there is a
problem because they are in pain.
Now that you understand this simplified explanation of inflammation, you can see that inflammation
is actually a good thing. It is the body's way of trying to help itself deal with these kinds of issues. It
should be obvious then, that anti-inflammatory medications actually impair the body's ability to
detoxify, repair and protect itself. Additionally, these medications add toxic load to the body and are
responsible for many varied side effects.
What makes more sense, empirically, is to treat these problems mechanistically and supportively. In
other words, we want to work to help make the pathway of primary inflammation more efficient,
with supportive, rather than suppressive, protocols. There are many natural medicines that can help
accomplish the task of supporting our bodies, be they homeopathic, nutritional or herbal.

Additionally, we want to be able to identify the reason(s) that this pathway is not functioning
It is imperative that we look more comprehensively into our patient's physiology in order to detect
reasons why the immune system is not up to the task it is being called upon to perform. To do this,
we need to understand our patient's lifestyle, diet, adrenal health, the presence of food sensitivities,
free-radical levels (free-radicals being compounds that essentially are responsible for cellular
damage and degeneration over time), metabolic function analysis and perhaps other tests. In other
words, we must work to comprehensively understand our patient's total health picture and not just
concentrate on the body part involved in the pathology.
Myth #3 - Genetically coded diseases are unavoidable
How many times have you heard someone say, "My mother had arthritis, that's why I have it"? We
now believe, through scientific technology, that many diseases are inherited. Genes for specific
diseases have been recognized via gene mapping. Many of you may know or have heard of women
who have had total bilateral mastectomies, completely prophylactically, because their mothers died
of breast cancer, firmly believing that they could not avoid the same fate.
Let's take a closer look at this issue. If having a gene for any illness condemns you to having that
disease, then why are you not born with the disease you are coded to have? Why isn't every person
who carries a gene for disease suffering at all times from that disease? The answer is that all genes
do not express themselves at all times and many never do. There must be a reason why the body
would call upon a gene to express itself. Otherwise, none of us would be able to survive the
onslaught of genetic expression. So what is it that causes a gene to express itself? If you consider for
a moment that diseases are just a complex of symptoms being incorporated by the body in an
attempt to protect itself from tissue destruction and/or imminent death, you may begin to get a
clearer understanding of what I am trying to say. Once we begin to pay attention to the reasons that
a gene might express itself, we may be able to prevent that gene from releasing its code for illness.
To do this, one must look again at the lifestyle of the patient. As stated earlier, degenerative illness
is a function of free radical damage to our cells over time. If someone carries the gene for arthritis,
for example, one would expect genetic coding to foster storage of free radicals in their joint tissues.
The prolonged exposure to these free radicals over time will cause progressive vicariations, which
lead to cellular damage and eventual joint destruction.
But what if we intervene on behalf of gene expression by controlling the formation and liberation of
free radicals in the body? Would there then be a need for the gene to express itself? I contend that
there would be no need for this gene to express because, as I stated earlier, disease is the body's way
of protecting itself from rapid destruction of tissues and/or imminent death. If it doesn't have to go to
extraordinary lengths to protect itself, the gene remains dormant and no disease ensues.
So, again, we must look at the lifestyle and diet of the patient to discover why their body is failing to
control the formation, liberation and damage caused by free radicals. You have all heard the term
"antioxidants" and for good reason. Antioxidants are the nutrients we require in order to neutralize
free radicals so they can then be eliminated from the body in a harmless form. Many people in our
society live on nutrient deficient diets from highly processed and refined foods that do not supply
essential nutrient protection.

You should be beginning to see the pattern here. Are we treating cancer by cutting it out? Are we
treating arthritis by suppressing the protective inflammation brought about by years of free radical
damage? Does coronary artery bypass grafting cure cardiovascular disease? Of course not. Our goal
should be in maximizing understanding of cause and effect and employing life affirming, nutrientrich diets with a healthy, wholesome, natural lifestyle. This is the way to "prevent" genetically coded
Myth #4 - Medications improve health
We are, in this country, the most heavily medicated society on the planet. People are taking
medications to control the symptoms of countless diseases. These medications are either prescribed
by their physicians or purchased over the counter by the patient. I have seen, in my practice,
thousands of elderly patients taking upward of 10 prescription medications as well as a few overthe-counter ones. If you ask the average senior how they are feeling, most will say that they feel
awful in spite of their medications. How could this be? If the medications are supposedly "keeping
them healthy," how come they feel so bad? There are a number of reasons for this.
First of all, every medication swallowed is perceived by the immune system as a "poison," because
there is nothing in nature that would ever present to the G.I. tract in that form of chemicals. This
added "toxic load" places additional stress on the body. These chemicals must be detoxified and
eliminated by the body. This need to detoxify causes stress in the liver and kidneys and can damage
these vital organs.
Additionally, all medications, because they are designed to interfere with natural body physiology,
will produce inevitable side effects. Why? In every situation where a drug is used to block
symptoms (the roadblock), the body will undergo physiologic compensations in an effort to get
around the roadblock. So, the body will recruit different physiologic pathways in an attempt to
bypass the roadblock. Hence, the patient will experience new symptoms as these other pathways
elicit undesired effects. Some of the side effects can be potentially more disabling than the
symptoms they are being used to treat.
Many side effects are treated with additional drugs, further increasing the toxic load. The other issue
most important to understand is that the symptoms are a directed response by the body to solve
whatever issue needs to be dealt with. If you inhibit these symptoms with medications, symptoms
will return when the drug is withdrawn if the body has not successfully solved the problem.
So, what am I saying here? Quite simply, if a patient has high blood pressure and is taking
medication to control it, and then they cease taking it, they will see their blood pressure rise again. If
they are suffering with an inflammatory problem and are taking anti-inflammatories to control their
discomfort, and cease taking their meds, they will again be in pain. If they are suffering with sinus
congestion and take a decongestant, they will feel congested again if the drug is withdrawn.
Empirically then, we see that the medication has not at all improved their health, just their

Myth #5 - Childhood immunizations protect us from serious disease

It's a foregone conclusion that upon the birth of your new baby, immunizations will start as soon as
possible to protect your child from many serious childhood illnesses that can devastate his/her

health. Pediatricians set up important immunization schedules to be adhered to so that the baby is
not left unprotected. In years gone by, many children were afflicted with polio, measles, mumps,
Rubella, influenza, small pox, diphtheria, whooping cough and others. Of course, the majority of
these children recovered without incident (other than polio, which caused permanent nerve damage
most of the time), but there were some children who had serious sequelae and even some who died
from these diseases. Modern science discovered a way to confer immunity on these children so that
they would never become afflicted with these diseases, and for the most part, it has been successful.
The question is, at what price?
If we think for a moment that we are taking infants with immature thymus glands (the main gland
responsible for proper immune system function does not mature until around five years of age) and
exposing them to numerous live and attenuated viruses, much more frequently than the child could
possibly be exposed to any of these diseases, we may begin to understand some of the very
discomfiting statistics that have evolved since the age of immunization. Rather than decreasing
childhood morbidity and improving the health of all subsequent generations being immunized
against these diseases that have affected mankind for thousands of years, we have instead seen a
dramatic rise in childhood illness in the form of ADD, ADHD, autism, allergies, learning
disabilities, infectious diseases, auto-immune illnesses and, most importantly, cancer. Cancer has
been on a frighteningly dramatic rise in small children over the past decades and shows no signs of
letting up. Mortality rates for childhood cancers are unacceptably high although technology has
slowed the course of death.
Is there anyone out there, like myself, who is not convinced these childhood morbidity statistics
have nothing to do with immunizations? Have we traded off less serious illness for more devastating
disease? How did mankind survive and thrive through thousands and thousands of years without
being immunized? Are we interfering in a way that has created a weakening, rather than a
strengthening, of the human immune system? Is it possible that we are interfering with the natural
course of genetic mutation that would have rendered authentic immunity to these diseases? There
are too many unanswered questions here for my comfort level.
It is my opinion that it is incumbent upon epidemiologists to delve deeply into this possibility and
definitively rule out a link between immunization and childhood morbidity from the aforementioned

Myth # 6 - The double blind - placebo controlled study guarantees safety and efficacy in drug
At this point in the history of mankind, we have been conditioned to abhor symptoms of any kind.
Headaches, sneezing, coughing, colds, allergies, pain, infections, hypertension, etc., are no longer
tolerated as a part of the process of living. Rather than look into the mechanisms that may be
causing these symptoms, we are reaching for the medicine that will suppress them. In so doing, we
may feel better, but we now have no motive to look at causes and correct for the issues that may be
impairing our health, thus increasing our "need" for more medications over time.
Well, what about these drugs? How do they make it to the market for public consumption? The
answer is the "gold standard" double blind, placebo controlled study. Without this approach, there
can be no FDA approval and hence, no way to market a drug. So let's look at this approval process
more closely.

It is imperative that a drug be tested for two main issues in clinical trials, the first being safety and
the second, efficacy. Of course we want to know that if a drug proves to control the symptoms it is
being designed to control, it can it do it safely, (e.g., with a minimum of "tolerable" side effects).
We then want to be able to establish that it is the drug that is working and not the "mind over
matter" phenomenon. To ensure this, the drug is given to half of the test subjects and a placebo is
given to the other half, who believe that they are actually being given the medication. Both groups
are also instructed to refrain from taking other medications so that a "synergy" effect does not
confuse the results. It would be harder to know if side effects and/or efficacy are being affected by
these other meds so they are eliminated from the trials. The expectation is that there should be a
great discrepancy between the medicated group and the control group (placebo) in the relief of
symptoms being reported. This establishes the drug's efficacy.
All through the clinical trials, all side effects are being reported and catalogued. The side effects are
rated as to severity and frequency. The FDA will then look at this "safety" profile and decide
whether or not the drug is safe enough to be approved for marketing.
So let's assume that a drug has passed the stringent testing requirements and is now FDA approved.
Soon, the drug will begin to be prescribed by an ever-increasing number of doctors who believe that
new is better. Now, this is where the bigger, broader issues become revealed. Firstly, we mentioned
that the medicated group in the study takes the test drug in isolation of other drugs. That is not what
happens in real life. As soon as the drug hits the market, it is going to be mixed with lots of other
prescription and over the counter medicines, as well as herbal and homeopathic medicines. We now
begin to see drug interactions that will cause previously unreported side effects, some of them
severe and some of them causing deaths. It is actually after the marketing of the drug that the public
becomes the "test subjects" for drug interactions. The Department of Health will quickly respond by
informing doctors of these "new" side effects, but it is too late for some people.
In addition, as the public use of the drug increases, there is now a much larger population of people
using the drug and the statistics begin to change. What may have been reported to occur in 2 percent
of the original test group may now be seen to be occurring in 6 percent of a broader population.
Additionally, new side effects, not previously reported in clinical trials, become apparent. This is
because there are so many variables in human physiology that results are often skewed by small
populations of people who live in and around the same geographic location.
Lastly, clinical trials do not reveal the effects of long-term use. This, again, is something that turns
the public into human guinea pigs. The recent Vioxx debacle bears this out.
So, in fact, this double blind placebo controlled study does not guarantee safety or efficacy because
the test leaves far too many questions unanswered.
Where Do We Go From Here?
The focus on optimization of health not only depends on a working knowledge of genetics, but a
deeper understanding of cause and effect through a working knowledge of epigenetics. Integrative
medicine (the practice of conventional and holistic medicine) seeks to relate cause and effect in the
treatment and prevention of illness by addressing the causative factors in the patient's diet, lifestyle
and environment. When the medical profession embraces the duality of symptom care and the

optimization of health by addressing epigenetic influences on gene expression, we will begin to see
a decrease in morbidity and an overall improvement in quality of life.
Our goal is to educate the public on how to stay as healthy as possible. Correcting mechanisms of
pathology requires a receptive public, one that is willing to alter diet and lifestyle for their own
benefit. One can easily extrapolate that in order to have a clean, natural, chemical free diet, issues of
environmental toxicity can no longer be tolerated. We would now have a society of proactive people
whose goal is to protect their health, the health of their children and grandchildren as well as
preserve nature so we can be a part of it rather than a detriment to it.
The future of our health depends on knowledge and action. The future of our survival depends on
knowledge and action. We can no longer afford to be innocent bystanders of our own health. The
system is bursting at the seams. It is costing us far too much money to administer medical/surgical
care. True, we have technology that can facilitate early detection, but this technology by no means
confers prevention of disease on any of us. As such, we have become masters of symptom control
and disease management but unfortunately, we are losing the battle to increasing morbidity and

12 Medical Myths Even Most Doctors

CNN has published a list of the truth about twelve health myths. Among the myths this article
busts? If you cross your eyes, theyll stay that way. Eat the crust of your bread because its full of
antioxidants, and, to get rid of hiccups, have someone startle you.
There is massive amount of medical misinformation circulating right now, which is causing an
epidemic of chronic disease, unprecedented in human history, and their big concern is whether or
not if you cross your eyes, theyll stay that way?
CNN is beyond clueless.
The primary purpose of their article is entertainment, as it has absolutely nothing to do with the top
health myths. With articles such as this one, CNN is part of the problem of perpetuating
misinformation and leading you astray with nonsense.
Below I will review 12 REAL health myths that CNN didnt bother to mention, even though these
are the cause of a lot of unnecessary suffering and premature death.

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

With all the medical misinformation we're currently exposed to on a daily basis, it's disappointing to
see CNN waste time and space on yet another entertainment-style fluff piece, discussing "health
myths" that have no real bearing on your health whatsoever.
Because, believe me, there is no shortage of real health myths that can, and do, have a massive
impact on tens of thousands if not millions of people. Here is my list of the top 12 health myths,
none of which CNN bothered to mention:

1: Cardio is One of the Best Types of Exercise

In recent years, researchers have begun to realize that conventional cardio, such as jogging, is not all
it's been cracked up to be, and that you can actually improve your health and increase fat burning by
making slight modifications to your cardio routine.
The problem is that traditional cardio only works on the slow twitch muscle fibers in your red
muscle, completely ignoring your white muscle super-fast twitch fibers.
"Sprint 8" refers to Peak Fitness done once or twice a week, in which you raise your heart rate up to
your anaerobic threshold for 20 to 30 seconds, followed by a 90-second recovery period.
To perform these properly you will want to get very close to, if not exceed, your maximum heart
rate by the last interval. Your maximum heart rate is calculated as 220 minus your age. You will
need a heart rate monitor to measure this as it is nearly impossible to accurately measure your heart
rate manually when it is above 150.
Researchers have found that interval cardio produces a unique metabolic response that is in large
part responsible for its superior benefits. Intermittent sprinting produces high levels of chemical
compounds called catecholamines, which allow more fat to be burned from under your skin and
within your muscles. The resulting increase in fat oxidation is thought to drive the increased weight
It is also the only type of exercise that will increase growth hormone levels. This becomes especially
important after the age of 30, when growth hormones steadily decline. It is much safer and far less
expensive to have your body make growth hormone naturally though Sprint 8 type exercises than
inject it like many athletes do to the tune of $1500 per month.

2: Vaccines are Safe and Effective and Prevent Disease

I completely understand that for many this issue is not debatable as they believe that vaccines are
one of the greatest gifts to public health in the history of civilization.

If you believe that, then let me encourage you to open your mind and explore other views held by
many well respected physicians, scientists, clinicians and pro-vaccine safety educators.
You might want to review the article Read This Before Vaccinating for Anything, to help you start
your exploration process. When it comes to vaccines, there are three primary questions that need to
be considered.

First, is the vaccine in question safe?

Secondly, does it effectively prevent disease?
And third, which vaccines can safely and effectively be given together or in close succession?

Unfortunately, these issues have not been sufficiently studied for most vaccines, and those vaccines
that have been studied frequently show that they are either unsafe or ineffective, or both!
Pro-vaccine-safety educators have long been saying that vaccines can over-stimulate your child's
immune system, sometimes causing the very disease it's designed to protect against, or worse. And,
when several vaccines are administered together, or in close succession, their interaction may
completely overwhelm your child's developing immune system.
This is one of the primary problems with vaccines in general their detrimental impact on your
body's primary, natural defense against ALL disease.
Now consider that if your child is vaccinated according to the CDC's recommended schedule, by the
time your child starts kindergarten he or she will have received 48 doses of 14 vaccines. Of these, 36
doses will be given during the first 18 months of life a time when your child's body and brain is
undergoing massive development!
Public health officials have NEVER proven that it is indeed safe to inject this volume of vaccines
into infants. What's more, they cannot explain why, concurrent with an increasing number of
vaccinations, there has been an explosion of neurological and immune system disorders in American
children. This issue covers so much ground, it's impossible to even try to summarize the many
hazards and the lack of efficiency data for all the vaccines currently being given, in this article. For
more information please visit our vaccine section at

3: Fluoride in Your Water Lowers Your Risk of Cavities

The theory behind the introduction of fluoride in your water supply initially seems beneficial to
reduce the incidence of dental caries in children. However, the health dangers of fluoride are so
numerous; they far outweigh any benefit to your teeth, and that's IF water fluoridation actually did
what its claimed to do. Today, even promoters of fluoridation concede that the major benefits are
only from topical applications; fluoride works from the outside of the tooth, not from inside of your
body, so why swallow it?
Statistics tell us that water fluoridation is ineffective for preventing caries. There is practically no
difference in tooth decay between fluoridated and non-fluoridated countries, and no difference
between states that have a high- or low percentage of their water fluoridated. Meanwhile, fluoride
can cause significant harm, from dental fluorosis to thyroid damage to reduced IQ... and much more.

I've joined forces with the Fluoride Action Network (FAN) to help end water fluoridation poisoning
in Canada and the United States.
For more about the dangers of fluoride, and information about how to get involved in this campaign,
please see this recent article, which also includes an excellent interview with Dr. Paul Connett, who
created FAN and is one of the foremost experts on this topic.

4: GMOs Crops are Safe, Well Tested and Economically Beneficial

GMOs may be the greatest health disaster in the American diet. Within 9 years of their introduction
in 1996, multiple chronic illnesses jumped from 7 percent to 13 percent of the population, food
allergies doubled in less time, and many other ailments have exponentially increased with the
introduction of GM foods.
Millions may already be suffering health problems caused by genetically modified organisms
(GMOs) in their diet. The American Academy of Environmental Medicine has already urged
doctors to prescribe non-GMO diets for all patients, citing studies that show how GMOs cause
disorders such as vital organ damage, gastrointestinal and immune system problems, accelerated
aging, infertility, and dysfunctional regulation of insulin and cholesterol.
But not only are GM foods a health disaster, they also pose a significant environmental threat, and
industry promises of financial benefits have turned out to be false as well.
For a quick introduction, I recommend reading the article 10 Reasons to Avoid Genetically
Modified Foods, which delves into everything from the health problems associated with eating GM
foods to the evidence against GM crops as a sustainable, economically and environmentally viable
alternative to traditional farming.

5: Sun Causes Skin Cancer

There are many misconceptions about melanoma the most dangerous type of skin cancer that
accounts for more than 75 percent of skin cancer deaths. But despite all the bad press linking sun
exposure to skin cancer, there's almost no evidence at all to support that stance. There is, however,
plenty of evidence to the contrary.
Over the years, several studies have already confirmed that appropriate sun exposure actually helps
prevent skin cancer. In fact, melanoma occurrence has been found to decrease with greater sun
exposure, and can be increased by sunscreens.
In my interview with vitamin D expert Dr. Robert Heaney, he explains how the conventional
recommendations are in fact causing the very health problem they claim to prevent. How does
sunlight prevent, rather than cause, skin cancer? In short, it's the vitamin D formed in your skin from
exposure to sunlight that provides this built in cancer protection. The vitamin D goes directly to
genes in your skin that help prevent the types of abnormalities that ultraviolet light causes.
Unfortunately, if you follow the conventional recommendation to avoid sun exposure or always use
sunscreen, your skin will not make any vitamin D, leaving you without this built-in cancer

Statistics confirm the truth of these findings, as melanoma rates have increased right along with sun
avoidance and increased use of sunscreens. If avoiding the sun actually was the answer, then
melanoma rates should have decreased exponentially over the past couple of decades... Instead, sun
avoidance and the excessive use of sun screen are actually the two primary reasons for the rise in

6: Saturated Fat Causes Heart Disease

As recently as 2002, the "expert" Food & Nutrition Board issued the following misguided statement,
which epitomizes this myth: "Saturated fats and dietary cholesterol have no known beneficial role
in preventing chronic disease and are not required at any level in the diet."
This dangerous recommendation, which arose from an unproven hypothesis from the mid-1950s, has
been harming your health and that of your loved ones for about 40 years now. The truth is, saturated
fats from animal and vegetable sources provide the building blocks for cell membranes and a variety
of hormones and hormone-like substances, without which your body cannot function optimally.
They also act as carriers for important fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Dietary fats are also
needed for the conversion of carotene to vitamin A, for mineral absorption, and for a host of other
biological processes. In fact, saturated is the preferred fuel for your heart! For more information
about saturated fats and the essential role they play in maintaining your health, please read my
previous article The Truth About Saturated Fat.

7: Artificial Sweeteners are Safe, Well Tested and Help Promote Weight Loss
Most people use artificial sweeteners to lose weight. The amazing irony is that nearly all the studies
that have carefully analyzed their effectiveness show that those who use artificial sweeteners
actually gain more weight than those who consume caloric sweeteners.
In 2005, data gathered from the 25-year long San Antonio Heart Study showed that drinking diet
soft drinks increased the likelihood of serious weight gain far more so than regular soda. On
average, each diet soft drink the participants consumed per day increased their risk of becoming
overweight by 65 percent within the next seven to eight years, and made them 41 percent more
likely to become obese. The reasons for this ironic reality are still being investigated, but there are
several potential causes, including:

Sweet taste alone appears to increase hunger, regardless of caloric content.

Artificial sweeteners appear to simply perpetuate a craving for sweets, and overall sugar
consumption is therefore not reducedleading to further problems controlling your weight.
Artificial sweeteners may disrupt your body's natural ability to "count calories," as evidenced in
studies such as this 2004 study at Purdue University, which found that rats fed artificially sweetened
liquids ate more high-calorie food than rats fed high-caloric sweetened liquids.

In the end, the research tells us that artificial sweeteners are NOT a dieter's best friend, because
contrary to what the marketing campaigns claim, low- or no-calorie artificial sweeteners are more
likely to help you pack on the pounds than shed them.

There is also a large number of health dangers associated with artificial sweeteners and aspartame in
particular. I've started compiling a growing list of studies pertaining to health problems associated
with aspartame, which you can find here. If you're still on the fence, I highly recommend reviewing
these studies for yourself so that you can make an educated decision. For more information on
aspartame, the worst artificial sweetener, please see my aspartame video.

8: Soy is a Health Food

The meteoric rise of soy as a "health food" is a perfect example of how a brilliant marketing strategy
can fool millions. But make no mistake about it, unfermented soy products are NOT healthful
additions to your diet. If you find this recommendation startling then I would encourage you to
review my Why Soy Can Damage Your Health, which contains links to dozens of articles on the
topic, and a video I recently did.
On the contrary, thousands of studies have linked unfermented soy to malnutrition, digestive
distress, immune-system breakdown, thyroid dysfunction, cognitive decline, reproductive disorders
and infertilityeven cancer and heart disease. Not only that, but more than 90 percent of American
soy crops are genetically modified, which carries its own set of health risks. Here is a sampling of
the detrimental health effects that have been linked to soy consumption:

Breast cancer
Brain damage
Infant abnormalities
Thyroid disorders
Kidney stones
Immune system impairment
Severe, potentially fatal food allergies
Impaired fertility
Danger during pregnancy and nursing

I am not opposed to all soy, however. Organic and, most importantly, properly fermented soy does
have great health benefits. Examples of such healthful fermented soy products include tempeh, miso
and natto.

9: Whole Grains are Good for Everyone

The use of whole-grains is an easy subject to get confused on especially for those who have a
passion for nutrition, as for the longest time we were told the fiber in whole grains is highly
beneficial. Unfortunately ALL grains, including whole-grain and organic varieties, can elevate your
insulin levels, which can increase your risk of disease. It has been my experience that more than 85
percent of Americans have trouble controlling their insulin levels -- especially those who have the
following conditions:

High blood pressure
High cholesterol
Protein metabolic types

In addition, sub-clinical gluten intolerance is far more common than you might think, which can also
wreak havoc with your health. As a general rule, I strongly recommend eliminating grains as well as
sugars from your diet, especially if you have any of the above conditions that are related to insulin
resistance. The higher your insulin levels and the more prominent your signs of insulin overload are,
the more ambitious your grain elimination needs to be.
If you are one of the fortunate ones without insulin resistance and of normal body weight, then
grains are fine, especially whole grains. It is wise to continue to monitor your grain consumption
and your health as life is dynamic and constantly changing. What might be fine when you are 25 or
30 could become a major problem at 40 when your growth hormone and level of exercise is

10: All Plant Based Supplements are as Good as Animal Supplements

The primary example here is that of omega-3's. It's very important to realize that not all omega-3
fats are the same, and that the type and source of your omega-3 will make a big difference in the
health benefits it provides.
There are three types of omega-3 fats:

DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid)

EPA (Eicosapentaenoic Acid)
ALA (Alpha-Linolenic Acid)

Many people do not realize that most of the well-known health benefits associated with omega-3
fats such as mental health, stronger bones and heart health -- are linked to the animal-based
omega-3 fats (EPA and DHA), not the plant-based omega-3 fat (ALA).
ALA, which is the type of omega-3 found in flaxseed and nuts, is converted into EPA and DHA in
your body, but only at a very low ratio. So even if you eat large amounts of ALA, your body can
only convert a relatively small amount into EPA and DHA, and only when sufficient enzymes are
This does not mean plant-based omega-3 fats are intrinsically harmful or that they should be
avoided, only that you ideally want to include an animal-based form as well. Personally, I regularly
include omega-3 (ALA) plant-based foods, like flax and hemp, in my diet, but these are always
combined with animal-based omega-3 fats. But in order to reap its most important health benefits,
your omega-3 needs to be from an animal source. For more information on this topic, please read
through my previous article, Are You Getting the Right Type of Omega-3 Fats?

11: Milk Does Your Body Good

Can milk do your body good? Yes, if it's RAW.
Unfortunately, this myth insists that conventional pasteurized milk has health benefits, which is far
from true. Conventional health agencies also refuse to address the real dangers of the growth
hormones and antibiotics found in conventional milk.

Please understand that I do not recommend drinking pasteurized milk of any kind, including
organic, because once milk has been pasteurized its physical structure is changed in a way that can
actually cause allergies and immune problems.
Important enzymes like lactase are destroyed, which causes many people to not be able to digest
milk. Additionally, vitamins (such as A, C, B6 and B12) are diminished and fragile milk proteins are
radically transformed from health nurturing to unnatural amino acid configurations that can actually
worsen your health.
The eradication of beneficial bacteria through the pasteurization process also ends up promoting
pathogens rather than protecting you from them.
The healthy alternative to pasteurized milk is raw milk, which is an outstanding source of nutrients
including beneficial bacteria such as lactobacillus acidophilus, vitamins and enzymes, and it is, in
my estimation, one of the finest sources of calcium available. For more details please watch the
interview I did with Mark McAfee, who is the owner of Organic Pastures, the largest organic dairy
in the US.

12: Low-Fat Diets are Healthy

The low-fat myth may have done more harm to the health of millions than any other dietary
recommendation. Again, just as the recommendations to avoid sunshine has increased melanoma
rates, the low-fat craze led to increased consumption of trans-fats, which we now know increases
your risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
To end the confusion, it's very important to realize that eating fat will not make you fat! The primary
cause of excess weight and all the chronic diseases associated with it, is actually the consumption of
too much sugar -- especially fructose, but also all sorts of grains, which rapidly convert to sugar in
your body. If only the low-fat craze had been a low-sugar craze... then we wouldn't have nearly as
much chronic disease as we have today. For an explanation of why and how a low-fat diet can create
the very health problems it's claimed to prevent, please see this previous article.

Final Thoughts
As you can see, there's no shortage of health myths out there, and it only seems to be getting worse...
The 12 myths reviewed above are but a sampling, because there are still many more. If you want to
review a number of additional health topics that are fraught with misinformation, please see the
three-part series listed below in Related Articles. As opposed to the nonsense offered in the CNN
article above, these health topics are all essential to get "right" if you want to protect your health,
and the health of your loved ones.

Myth: Shaved hair grows back faster, coarser and darker Fact: A 1928 clinical trial compared hair
growth in shaved patches to growth in non-shaved patches. The hair which replaced the shaved hair
was no darker or thicker, and did not grow in faster. More recent studies have confirmed that one.
Here's the deal: When hair first comes in after being shaved, it grows with a blunt edge on top,
Carroll and Vreeman explain. Over time, the blunt edge gets worn so it may seem thicker than it
actually is. Hair that's just emerging can be darker too, because it hasn't been bleached by the sun.
Myth: You should drink at least eight glasses of water a day Fact: "There is no medical evidence to
suggest that you need that much water," said Dr. Rachel Vreeman, a pediatrics research fellow at the
university and co-author of the journal article. Vreeman thinks this myth can be traced back to a
1945 recommendation from the Nutrition Council that a person consume the equivalent of eight
glasses (64 ounces) of fluid a day. Over the years, "fluid" turned to water. But fruits and vegetables,
plus coffee and other liquids, count. Myth: Fingernails and hair grow after death Fact: Most
physicians queried on this one initially thought it was true. Upon further reflection, they realized it's
impossible. Here's what happens: "As the bodys skin is drying out, soft tissue, especially skin, is
retracting," Vreeman said. "The nails appear much more prominent as the skin dries out. The same
is true, but less obvious, with hair. As the skin is shrinking back, the hair looks more prominent or
sticks up a bit." Myth: We use only 10 percent of our brains Fact: Physicians and comedians alike,
including Jerry Seinfeld, love to cite this one. It's sometimes erroneously credited to Albert Einstein.
But MRI scans, PET scans and other imaging studies show no dormant areas of the brain, and even
viewing individual neurons or cells reveals no inactive areas, the new paper points out. Metabolic
studies of how brain cells process chemicals show no nonfunctioning areas. The myth probably
originated with self-improvement hucksters in the early 1900s who wanted to convince people that
they had yet not reached their full potential, Carroll figures. It also doesn't jibe with the fact that our
other organs run at full tilt. Myth: Reading in dim light ruins your eyesight Fact: The researchers
found no evidence that reading in dim light causes permanent eye damage. It can cause eye strain
and temporarily decreased acuity, which subsides after rest. Myth: Eating turkey makes you drowsy
Fact: Even Carroll and Vreeman believed this one until they researched it. The thing is, a chemical
in turkey called tryptophan is known to cause drowsiness. But turkey doesn't contain any more of it
than does chicken or beef. This myth is fueled by the fact that turkey is often eaten with a colossal
holiday meal, often accompanied by alcohol both things that will make you sleepy. Myth:
Cellphones are dangerous in hospitals Fact: There are no known cases of death related to this one.
Cases of less-serious interference with hospital devices seem to be largely anecdotal, the researchers
found. In one real study, cellphones were found to interfere with 4 percent of devices, but only when
the phone was within 3 feet of the device. A more recent study, this year, found no interference in
300 tests in 75 treatment rooms. To the contrary, when doctors use cellphones, the improved
communication means they make fewer mistakes. "Whenever we talk about this work, doctors at
first express disbelief that these things are not true," said Vreeman said. "But after we carefully lay
out medical evidence, they are very willing to accept that these beliefs are actually false."
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