Medical Misconceptions You Might Still Believe

Updated on August 31, 2021
Medical Misconceptions You Might Still Believe

Personal health misconceptions and debunked truths abound in virtually every aspect of our lives. Where scientific and emotional aspects overlap, it’s not uncommon for things to be misstated or misinterpreted. Keep reading to find out more about medical misconceptions you might still believe.

Gum Stays in You for Seven Years

Yes, gum does contain indigestible elements, such as elastomers, resins, and waxes, but this does not mean these materials reside in your gastrointestinal tract for seven years. There is a large amount of food you eat (even stuff you are supposed to eat, like fiber) that your body cannot process. However, the digestive system is a strong piece of organic technology, and whatever it cannot digest, it either passes or absorbs.

Hair Gets Thicker When You Shave

Take a look at your hair after you’ve shaved to find out if there’s any truth to this myth. If you look closely, you may observe that the new hair will grow with a blunt, top-heavy edge. In time, that blunt edge will be smoothed out, giving it the appearance of being thicker than it really is. One possible explanation is that shaved hairs reflect more light, making them appear darker.

Turkey Makes You Tired

You’ve got no excuse for napping right after dinner on Thanksgiving anymore. Turkey meat does contain the chemical tryptophan, which is well known to cause drowsiness. But what most people don’t know is that tryptophan is an incredibly common chemical that occurs naturally in most meats—and there isn’t any more tryptophan in turkey than there is in chicken or beef. So why is it that a Thanksgiving feast results in people feeling sleepy? Drowsiness may result from how much food you eat at this time. Carbohydrate-rich foods such as bread, potatoes, and some alcohols almost always induce drowsiness. However, we continue to hear this statement every year, making it one of the most common medical misconceptions you might still believe.

Weight Loss Surgery Doesn’t Work

The most widespread fallacy about weight loss surgery is that most people regain all of the weight they lose in the years after the surgery. This belief is far from the reality of things; millions of people (as many as upwards of 80 percent of all recipients) have successfully maintained a lower weight after having their weight-loss operation. A healthy diet, regular exercise, and good sleep habits are essential for positive results. Those who are able to maintain their weight loss usually also strive to follow a balanced food and exercise program to help them remain as healthy as possible.