Five medical myths standing between you and optimal health

Even in 2020, we are plagued by countless medical myths still in circulation. Some were created by misguided, self-promoting medical specialists, like cardiologists. Others arose from self-righteous, self-anointed natural-know-it-alls who push flaky detox diets, foolish exercise regimens, and magic-bullet “cures.”

It’s important to remain vigilant against this kind of nonsense. So, today, let’s address five medical myths that need to be put to rest…

Myth No. 1: You need to drink more water

We’re constantly being told to drink more water. But your body has sophisticated mechanisms for detecting the need for fluids and satisfying thirst. In fact, studies show that your natural thirst sensation works like a highly accurate water meter. In other words, if you listen to your body and just drink when you’re thirsty, you’ll give your body exactly how much fluid it actually needs.

On the flip side, if you try to force yourself to guzzle gallons of water each day, it can actually be quite dangerous and wreak havoc on your body. Too much water without enough salt—which happens often, especially if you’re following another myth of low sodium diets—can lead to serious chemical imbalances in the blood. This can cause heartbeat abnormalities, brain seizures, and other problems.

So-called “sports” and “hydration” drinks are also problematic. For one, they’re filled with harmful sugars and other metabolic toxins. In addition, they actually disrupt your body’s normal thirst signals.

As always, when you’re thirsty, I recommend drinking natural spring water instead—bottled at the source in glass, not plastic. (Side note: Science shows that drinking three to four cups of coffee a day will not dehydrate you. In fact, drinking that amount of coffee has many health benefits.)

Myth No. 2: You need to go on a “detox” diet

I hear a lot of celebrities talk about their favorite “detox diets” and “cleanses.” But these wild, outlandish schemes are usually paid promotions. And the companies behind them must spend more on advertising than on their actual products.

The truth is, no quick “detox diet” or “cleanse” will help you achieve true, long-term good health. In fact, some of these detoxes and cleanses can actually lead to high blood sugar, metabolic imbalances, and/or malnourishment.

Instead of resorting to these trendy gimmicks, simply listen to your body and drink water when you’re thirsty. Your liver and kidneys will then do their normal jobs of detoxing. And they’re on duty 24/7.

It’s also important to remember that clean living doesn’t happen overnight…or even over the course of a week. To help avoid toxins, you should consistently follow a wholesome, Mediterranean-type diet filled with whole foods, including fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, free-range, organic meats, full-fat, organic dairy (including cheeses), and wild-caught seafood.

Myth No. 3: You need cut out gluten

Over the past few years, Americans have been going “gluten-free” in droves, thinking it will help them combat just about anything and everything that ails them.

However, as I reported years ago, only about 1 percent of the population has an actual gluten sensitivity. And investigations show that glyphosate (the herbicide in Roundup®), which is required to grow genetically modified crops, is likely the real reason why people are experiencing a slew of health problems—not gluten itself. This toxic chemical is sprayed on 95 percent of our wheat supply.

As it turns out, glyphosate blocks a key metabolic pathway that healthy bacteria need within your microbiome, the environment in your gut where billions of healthy bacteria thrive. And poisoning the healthy bacteria in your microbiome leads to a host of health problems. Some studies even link glyphosate to cancer.

Plus, since Roundup’s patent expired in 2000, nine different chemical companies—under at least 32 different trademarks—now make products with glyphosate. In total, experts estimate more than 100,000 tons of glyphosate are used each year on crops all over the world.

In the end, cutting out gluten from your diet will likely result in no benefits. Rather, you may wind up gaining weight and sabotaging your health in another way—by eating the highly processed, gluten-free foods that contain added sugar.

Instead of pursuing this restrictive, dead-end diet, I suggest you simply aim to eat organic, non-genetically modified (non-GMO) foods, which cannot lawfully be sprayed with glyphosate.

 Myth No. 4: You need to exercise more

I know a lot of people make New Year’s Resolutions that include a new, healthy fitness regimen. And I’m all for sensible, moderate exercise programs that you can maintain and enjoy.

But, as I’ve often reported, studies show you don’t need to turn into a fitness fanatic or run marathons to add years to your life. In fact, “excess-ercise,” as I call it, can cause serious harm to your joints, your internal organs, your mental health, and even your heart!

Instead, you should strive to spend just 2.5 hours a week engaging in light-to-moderate exercise. Studies show this is the optimal amount needed to extend your longevity—and it won’t damage your knees, your brain, or your cardiovascular system.

And remember, no amount of exercise will overcome a poor diet. So, if your aim is to lose weight in 2020, I suggest adopting regular, consistent, sensible moderate exercise, as well as a healthy, balanced, Mediterranean-type diet (as described in Myth No. 2), which also cuts out processed carbs and sugars.

Myth No. 5: You need to lose more weight

You’ve probably heard the classic myth that you can never be too rich or too thin. Now, I won’t comment on the first part of that statement. But the second part is absolutely incorrect.

Sadly, that bit of common sense is often lost in our modern culture.

In fact, I still find there’s a clear bias against so-called “overweight” and “obese” people. Even among doctors!

But the science clearly shows there are many benefits to carrying a little “extra” weight—especially as you get older. Including a significantly lower dementia risk.

Furthermore, according to a recent study from UCLA, our classifications of overweight and obesity are wrong! In fact, the UCLA researchers estimate that 54 million Americans are perfectly healthy—but mislabeled as obese or overweight.

So, there you have it…five myths that the mainstream continues to cling to. Even now, in 2020.

Thankfully, you can now lay them to rest. Healthy living just got a whole lot more enjoyable, didn’t it?!

For more ways to really enjoy healthy living in 2020, I suggest becoming a regular subscriber to my Insiders’ Cures monthly newsletter, if you aren’t already. In it, I’ll continue bringing you the latest science to help you achieve optimal health. So if you haven’t already signed up, all it takes is one, simple click.


“Misclassification of cardiometabolic health when using body mass index categories in NHANES 2005–2012.” International Journal of Obesity, 2016;40(5):883-6. 10.1038/ijo.2016.17