7 Health and Fitness Urban Legends That Are Totally Bogus


When it comes to working out and taking care of your body, there are a lot of crazy rumors that have been floating around since the beginning time. Check out some of the biggest healthy urban legends:

Diet Urban Legends
  • French people don't get heart disease because they drink wine with their saturated fat. In reality, French mortality rates from cardiovascular disease are pretty in line with what you might expect from a diet high in animal fats.
  • Olive oil protects against cardiovascular disease. Olive oil may have heart protective properties, but adding it to a bad diet doesn't improve the diet. It's just a healthier form of fat than butter because it is from a vegetable source. Like all fats, it should be consumed in moderation.
  • Carbs cause obesity. "Carbs" are too broad of a category to be so universally villainized. In fact, many nations that eat a lot of carbs and minimal protein actually have lower body weights than American nations. The problem is more that we tend to indulge in unhealthy forms of carbs, like huge portions of pasta covered in creamy meat sauce. Vegetables, nuts, seeds, fruits are all healthy carbs and low in calories.
  • Some foods actually burn calories. Celery has long been rumored to be a zero calorie or negative calorie food. Legend has it that it actually takes more calories to chew it than it contains. In reality, celery is super low in calories and very high in fiber and water so it fills you up with a minimal caloric intake, but there are still some calories in celery. And cucumber. And any other crunchy vegetables that have gotten this reputation over time.
Fitness Urban Legends
  • Crunches/sit ups create perfect abs. More than just crunches go into getting those amazing six packs on models and actors. A lot of it has to do with diet so that you can see the abdominals behind the fat. And a lot has to do with doing core exercises that work all the muscles of the core, not just the abdominals. Try planking and eating healthy if crunches aren't cutting it.
  • No pain/no gain. While some soreness is good, you don't have to be in actual pain for a workout to be effective. Pain is your body's way of telling you that something is wrong, such as an injury. A workout can cause discomfort, but never pain.
  • Weight lifting makes women big or bulky. Generally speaking, women don't have the testosterone to get too "big" or muscular. Weight lifting can actually make women leaner and more toned. This is just a sexist myth to keep women away from weights.