7 False Myths That You Still Tell Your Grandchildren

Did your parents tell you that coffee would stunt your height? Do you tell your grandchildren that eating carrots will improve their vision? Believe it or not, these are all myths.

When we were children, we were told a lot of myths and misconceptions that are totally untrue. Some of these have good intentions behind them. Don’t want kids bouncing off the wall with energy? Just tell them that coffee will make them short! If you want your grandchildren to start eating healthier, tell them that carrots will give them super-vision.

These myths stick around, even if they’re totally untrue. Check out Alert1’s list of debunked myths that you still tell your grandchildren.

Sugar makes kids hyper

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Now, this one makes sense. Sugars have calories, and calories give us energy. So, giving your grandchild a soda would make them hyper right? Nope.

Study after study, no link has been found between sugar and hyperactivity. This myth started in 1973. Allergist Benjamin Feingold M.D. published the “Feingold Diet,” calling for a diet free of salicylates, food coloring, and artificial flavors to reduce hyperactivity. He never actually mentioned sugar!

More modern studies have been conducted since, and sugar has not been found to create hyperactivity in kids. But this doesn’t mean you should give your grandchildren all the chocolate they want. A sugary diet can cause cavities, behavioral issues, obesity, and diabetes.

Cracking your knuckles will give you arthritis

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No evidence supports the belief that cracking joints will lead to arthritis. When you crack your knuckles, cavitation occurs. That is, when you move your joints quickly the fluid between the joints becomes displaced, creating little bubbles. The bubbles pop, making the cracking sound. Cavitation has not been known to cause harm, nor be beneficial. But, watch out if you feel pain or stiffness when you try to crack your knuckles. This may be a sign of a joint problem.

Watching TV up close will ruin your eyes

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Contrary to popular belief, sitting close to the television won’t make your eyesight worse. Children can focus up close without eyestrain better than adults, which is why they can develop the habit of watching a TV or reading a book up close. But, if you see your grandchildren constantly sitting abnormally close to the television, it may be a sign of nearsightedness. It’s good to get an annual eye checkup for the family.

A dog’s mouth is cleaner than a human’s

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Have you ever been told that “a dog’s mouth is nine times cleaner than a human’s?” You might hear it from your grandkid who insists that his pup is clean and you won’t have to worry about him licking your face. But is this true?

Our canine friends love to dig through trash and roll in the dirt. A puppy can’t brush his own teeth or use mouthwash. Indeed, this ‘fact’ isn’t true. Both dogs’ mouths and human mouths’ are teeming with bacteria.

The prevalent theory is that this myth comes from watching dogs lick their wounds, which then heal quickly. In the end, dogs heal quickly because they can lick away the dirt and dead skin, cleaning the wound. It’s the same way that we clean wounds when we get hurt. It doesn’t mean that their mouths are cleaner than ours.

Feed a cold, starve a fever

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It’s medical folklore that has been said for hundreds of years. It’s also completely false.

In the 1500s, doctors thought that fever was attributed to your metabolism working overtime. People believed that if they ate during a fever, less energy would be spent fighting the fever and more energy would be spent digesting. And having the common cold was associated with the actual feeling of being cold—hence why the illness is called a “cold.” People believed that eating more food and drink would help raise your body temperature back to normal.

These are actually dangerous—your body needs energy to fight an infection. Depriving yourself of nutrition or overeating when you’re sick may result in a more serious fever. Drinking plenty of fluids, getting rest, and eating when you’re hungry is the surefire way to feel better.

You can catch a cold in cold weather

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You might tell this to all the young’uns before they go out to play outside. “It’s cold outside, bundle up or you’ll get sick!” It does make sense—you wouldn’t want the kids to feel cold, or get frostbit, or get hypothermia. But, scientifically, it’s untrue.

Colds are caused by viruses, not cold weather. A frosty wind won’t get you sick, but sharing germs will. Laboratory studies show that viruses are more resistant during cold weather. People also tend to spend more time indoors during the winter. Combine the two, and you might start to see a correlation between cold weather and sick people. But, scientific data has shown that being cold does not make you more vulnerable to catching a bug.

We have 5 senses

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Believe it or not, we have more than five senses! When we were kids, we likely learned that the human body only has five senses: sight, hearing, touch, tasting, and smell. But many neurologists identify more than nine senses, and some as many as 21!

The idea that humans have five senses stems from the Aristotle era. Science has come a long way since then. In addition to the five we are familiar with, many neurologists consider these to be senses: balance, hunger, thirst, pressure, pain, and heat. There are even more, once you start delving into the philosophy of “what is a sense?”

Fact or fiction?

These myths have been around for years, and have been ingrained in many peoples’ minds. But it’s good to be aware of what is true and what is actually folklore. And always be sure to stay safe! Just because you now know you can go outside in cold without being getting sick, doesn’t mean you should take a walk in the snow without a jacket. High-risk activity can lead to an injury or a fall, especially for seniors. Stay safe with a medical alert system. The next time you see your grandkids, sit down and have a nice heart-to-heart and debunk some myths that they might think are true. Knowledge is power!

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