Lifestyle Mythbusters

Ever since we were little, our parents and elders will always tell us little things to help us avoid “disaster”. A lot of times, these anecdotes don’t seem to explain much. For example, if you stay too close to the TV, your eyesight will deteriorate, or even more common, if you eat an apple a day, you’ll keep the doctor away.

While some of these myths come with good intent, some of them are scientifically inaccurate. So, let’s get the record straight and bust more myths about health we’ve grown to believe over the years.


Myth & Verdict

We’re spilling the tea about the common health beliefs that have been said over and over. Which one of these did you believe was true?

Myth 1: The ‘5 seconds’ rule

We are sure you have seen or even you yourself have picked up food off the floor and ingested it while invoking the ‘5 seconds’ rule. 

This myth was built on the fundamental belief that if you pick up a piece of food off the floor within the first 5 seconds it lands on the floor, it is safe for consumption. Are you ready to know the truth?

Verdict: NOT TRUE!

While it may seem less harmful to eat food that was instantly picked up, it is actually not as safe as you think. According to an article by Dr. Leong Hoe Nam and Dr. Seah Wee Teck Victor, “It doesn’t take 5 seconds for bacteria to jump onto dropped food – it happens instantaneously. Also, the chance of your floor having no bacteria is slim.”

So the next time you drop a piece of candy or any other food, it’s best to just throw it away.

Myth 2: Drink 8 glasses of water a day

This is what has been told to us for a long time, and many of us even practise it. We have been told that this is how much water our body needs in a day.

This myth had us believing that we are not drinking enough water. Let’s see if you are!

Verdict: Medically unfounded

Another article by Dr. Leong together with Dr Loi Shen-Yi Kelly and dietician, Alefia Arshad Vasanwala said “While water is essential to keep you hydrated, there is no need to drink minimally 8 glasses a day. This is because water is not the only source of hydration – our body gets its hydration from the water found in fruits, vegetables, and even in juice and coffee.”

While we typically need at least 3L of water for men and slightly more than 2L for women, they don’t all have to come in a glass. However, do keep yourselves hydrated as much as possible and listen to your body when it tells you it needs hydration – through thirst.



Myth 3: Sleeping with wet hair will cause a cold

Honestly, we might have been told this because our elders did not want our pillows to get damped, and they might not be entirely wrong.

Damped pillows can breed bacteria and will affect your health over time if not cleaned properly and regularly.

Verdict: It takes a lot more!

According to Dr. Leong and Dr. Seah, “Being cold or damp isn’t enough – viruses are contagious, so you actually need to come into contact with one to risk picking it up!”

According to an article by Candice Cai, Eric Tan, a Traditional Chinese Medicine Physician explains “As we shower or sweat, in simple terms, the pores on our scalp open. Cold, wind and “dampness” from the moisture can then easily enter the body.”

While this might insinuate that there might be some truth to this belief, viruses are still a main factor to cause a cold. Having said that, we can always take it as good advice. After all, it doesn’t hurt to dry our hair before bed, right?

Myth 4: You must peel the skins of fruits & veggies

This makes sense, right? Root vegetables like potatoes and carrots tend to be dirty as they are grown underground. Fruits just hang in the tree and collect dust from the wind.

Therefore to peel the outer skin of fruits and veggies just comes natural to us now. Even chefs on cooking shows do it.

Verdict: Stop doing this!

According to the article by Dr. Leong and Dr. Seah, “The skin on fruit and vegetables like potatoes, apples, carrots and citrus fruits are packed with beneficial nutrients. An apple with skin, for example, contains up to 332% more vitamin K, 142% more vitamin A, 115% more vitamin C and 20% more calcium than a peeled apple. Meanwhile, a boiled potato with skin has up to 175% more vitamin C than a peeled potato.”

Furthermore, the skin of fruits and veggies contain a lot of fibre that is good for us. It is recommended to simply wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly and enjoy the fruits and veggies with skin!


Where Do These Myths Come From?

There are obviously many more of these myths that we have come to believe or practise in our lives. While most of us heard it from our elders, our parents, or our friends, where do they actually start?

Culture preservation

Some myths were set to preserve a cultural practice. According to an article by Anahita Dehmoobad Sharifabadi, Chantalle Clarkin, and Asif Doja, “ Gotesky in 1952 described the function of myths as being to ‘maintain and preserve a culture against disruption and destruction. This definition holds true in contemporary medicine; myths serve to preserve belief systems.”

So certain myths were concocted to ensure the continuity of cultural practices. While it may have been done long ago, they have seemed to persevere through time.

Generational passed down

The myths that were formed from long ago persevered through time as generations after generations passed on the misinformation. Our mothers heard it from their mothers, and their mothers were told by their mothers and so on and so forth. 

Growing up in our Asian community simply adds to the issue at hand as we are being fed different myths from different groups. Over time, these myths simply become acceptable practices among us.

While the myths may not be accurate, our elder generation might possibly have gotten more context on them than we ever did. As time went by, the translations have gotten a little lost and most of us don’t even get an explanation to the myths. Some of us just accept them. After all, if it doesn’t hurt us, what’s the harm, right?



Telling Fact From Fiction

As a generation of the digital age, we are provided with an array of ways to help us identify facts from myths. Here are some ways you can get all the information you need whenever in doubt.

Just Google it!

Every piece of information is at your fingertips, all you have to do is search. Although there is a lot of false information, generally information on health is not as misleading.

However, it is important to note that you should only Google for general information about health and not for self diagnosis. For any health complication or illness, refer to the experts, the doctors!

Ask a medical practitioner

If you find yourself in a situation where your health is affected and you are doubting any information or advice you’ve heard before, you can always ask someone in the field.

They will be able to help you determine if what you hear is true or not or whether it benefits your health or not. Though there sometimes will be contradicting opinions from modern medical practitioners and traditional medical practitioners, they both have your well-being as a priority. You can make a judgement call on which advice you feel is better suited to you.



While these lifestyle myths can be untrue or even funny at times, they are never meant to be harmful. In fact, most of them were aimed to “save” you. Whatever you feel is beneficial for you and your family, it’s great to practise. 

So how many myths did we debunk for you today? Were just as surprised to learn them as we are? Now that you know, you can do your part and educate your loved ones too.