Fact or fiction? Debunking common health myths

Whether you believe them or not, some health myths have certainly been around for a while, cementing their relevance in our minds as perceived ‘facts’. Some are straight-up silly, while others seemingly make sense, so we’re here to unpack a few and shed light on whether they’re fact or fiction.


Shaving makes your hair grow back thicker or faster

Shaving cross

The verdict: FICTION

Reason: When we shave, the hair that is left behind might appear to be a bit thicker than it was pre-shave. It may seem that way, but the hair doesn’t grow back thicker or faster than before; it just looks and feels that way as it’s left much shorter by a razor1. Everyone’s hair also grows at different rates, so naturally some people may want to shave daily while others might do it weekly. It all depends on the person and not the razor.  


Humans need eight glasses of water a day

Water tick and cross

The verdict: FACT and FICTION

Reason: We all have different needs and it’s up to us to decide on the right amount of water each day to stay hydrated. According to a study in 2010, an average adult should drink 1.5L (6 glasses) of water per day for the body to function normally2. So, whether you drink 6 or 8 glasses daily, it depends on your thirst, age, gender, climate, and daily activity levels. If you’re forgetful, or think you may not drink enough water, check out WaterMinder or Hydro Coach; both are apps that help set a daily intake and remind you to hydrate throughout the day.


Eating breakfast helps with weight loss

Breakfast tick

The verdict: FACT (well... sort of)

The reason: If you’re trying to shed a few festive-related kilos, research has shown that eating breakfast can help with weight loss3, as long as a calorie deficit is followed for the rest of the day. Breakfast helps by boosting your energy, deterring you from snacking between the morning and lunch, and overindulging in lunch. Breakfast options that are great for sustained energy release include whole protein, whole grain, and little sugar – think oats, smoothies, or muesli.


Cracking your fingers leads to arthritis

Fingers cross

The verdict: FICTION

Reason: You may have heard your mum or grandma telling you to stop cracking your fingers because it’s bad for you? Well, the truth is that the only damage it does is to annoy people who don’t like it4! Numerous studies have shown that there is no correlation between arthritis and cracking your fingers or any other joint for that matter5. The ‘crack’ you hear is caused by bubbles bursting in the fluid between joints. So, you can carry on popping those knuckles as much as you like without worry. Happy cracking!


If you swallow gum, it won't get digested for years

Gum cross

The verdict: FICTION

Reason: Gum can’t be broken down like regular foods when it reaches our stomach because of the ingredients it is made from. But don't fear- that doesn’t stop it from moving through the hardworking digestive system. However, doctors do warn against swallowing too much gum, because this can cause a rather uncomfortable blockage in the tract6


Chocolate can trigger cold sores

Chocolate tick

The verdict: FACT

Reason: Chocolate addicts, look away now! Chocolate (as well as peanuts and almonds) contains an amino acid known as arginine, and too much of it can lower your body's lysine levels. Lysine is an essential amino acid that prevents certain things that affect the body, like cold sores. So, if you’re cold sore prone and love chocolate, then it’s sadly recommended to keep your chocolate consumption down7.



  1. Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2151163/
  2. Source: https://www.foothill.edu/sustainability/docs/WaterAsEssentialNutrient.pdf
  3. Source: https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/82/1/222S/4863393?login=true
  4. Source: https://www.healthline.com/health/cracking-knuckles-arthritis
  5. Source: https://www.empowher.com/media/reference/true-or-false-cracking-your-knuckles-can-lead-arthritis
  6. Source: https://www.mayoclinic.org/digestive-system/expert-answers/faq-20058446
  7. Source: https://www.houseofwellness.com.au/health/conditions/cold-sores-triggers-symptoms-treatment#:~:text=Eating%20to%20avoid%20cold%20sores,is%20important%2C%E2%80%9D%20explains%20Gerald

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