Gluten-free, “Farm-to-table,” Non-GMO, Juice cleanse, Paleo; these are just a few of the words we hear on an almost daily basis from people around us who are really into health, fitness, and such and such. We have heard many health enthusiasts argue that the best food to put in our bodies is the organic kind. Many would also argue that eating meat does more harm than good to our health.

The health and fitness movement is like a religion that branches out into different branches with a set of core beliefs – and while some of these beliefs do not agree with one another, the point is that people go to great lengths to stay healthy and be fir (at least for the next few months after making that New Year’s Resolution).

It is because of so much information on health and fitness flooding the internet, many of us are led to believe that all of them work without even finding out if any of them are true, to begin with. So, in this list, we are busting those myths and showing you 10 well-known health tips that are complete hoopla.

10. Dark Chocolate is a Healthier Alternative to Sweets

We have all heard of the so-called benefits of Dark Chocolate. Over the internet and in different advertising media, people have made convincing testimonies that dark chocolate has a variety of great things for our health such as improved skin complexion, benefits to our heart, as well as improved brain and memory function.

While there is some truth to it because part of chocolate’s composition is a chemical called flavanol which does improve blood circulation to the brain and, incidentally, gives dark chocolate that sharp, bitter taste; the downside to this is that most chocolate bars that are readily available commercially have little to none of this beneficial chemical at all. Because of the process of how commercial chocolate bars – dark or regular – are prepared, flavanol is practically obliterated to up the levels of taste and flavor. A bar of Hershey’s would have flavanol in it but not enough to even kick start your blood circulation.

9. A Thoroughly Washed Chicken is Bacteria Free

Logically, washing raw food before putting it on the stove is an absolutely sound idea. After all, you would not want that raw meat gunk on your plate once you serve it for dinner and among the many meat products in the market, chicken is the most popular animal to be washed before serving.

It has been common practice in many households to give poultry a thorough cleaning before preparing it. While, indeed, you do get to wash off all the bacteria from the carcass, however, this does not mean that you are safe from microbial bacteria.

A splash and a spritz of water can effectively transfer bacteria such as salmonella onto kitchen counters, cutting boards, and even our arms through the water droplets that splash back from the wash.

In truth, washing off bacteria from chicken or any other meat product is an exercise in failure and the best way to kill disease-causing germs and bacteria is to thoroughly and properly cook your food. A good and sufficient blast of heat from cooking can instantly eliminate microbes and germs.

8. Antioxidant Supplements are your Frontline Defense against Cancer Cells

We are all guilty of spending hundreds of dollars on dietary supplements and vitamins that promise to keep us in peak condition, but most of us have been duped by supplements claiming that they have antioxidants that can help prevent some cancers and diseases.

While antioxidants are essential to our body chemistry, having an excess of it can be much more harmful. Antioxidants occur naturally and can be easily found in certain fruits such as tomatoes and drinks like different kinds of tea, but the most popular kind of antioxidants come in the form of processed pills and supplements.

The fact of the matter is that the body has both Oxidants and Antioxidants, each keeping the other one in check. But the commercial health supplement market has overplayed the role of antioxidants and has been widely claimed as the one thing that can prevent cancer. Unfortunately, as our bodies consume these supplements on a regular basis, our body chemistry receives an imbalance as these supplements also attack the “good” oxidants in our body, making us much more susceptible to deadly diseases and cancers.

Antioxidant supplements are not entirely evil or harmful. As with anything else concerning diet and our health, everything is a matter of moderation and, if you can opt for more natural sources of antioxidants from the food you consume rather than buying it from a shelf.

7. Always Wash Your Hands to Keep Germs at Bay

The first line of defense against diseases is keeping your hands clean, literally. The benefits of washing your hands with soap and water are numerous and have been proven by science to deter illnesses such as the flu.

While it is, indeed, a good practice sometimes we can get a little overboard without even knowing it. Constant hand washing, especially with antibacterial soap, can strip away moisture from our hands and leave them sterile. The chemicals in the soap can eliminate bacteria indiscriminately leaving our palms even more vulnerable to the elements.

There are naturally occurring bacteria in the human body, and this is a by-product of millions of years of evolution. These bacteria actually help prevent diseases and germs from clinging to us and potentially infecting us with disease; the same bacteria that antibacterial soap and chemicals eliminate with constant washing.

Washing your hands should be a practice, but it is much more prudent to keep it at a maximum of two times a day or after doing a really messy job like gardening or picking up after your dog in the park.

6. Your Muscles Instantly Turn to Fat if You Don’t Workout

The general myth is that when you decide to quit the gym or give up on working out because of your schedule or because it’s just too hard, the muscle that you have gained will turn into flab.

The truth is that muscle and fat are two different sets of tissue and comparing them is like comparing apples to oranges.

You have to imagine your body as a machine, and each part of it has a role to play, and there are different ways to keep each part of the body in top condition. People who have stopped working out will indeed see a significant change in their bodies and notice that they are gaining an excessive amount of fat. The thing is, muscle mass is lost when it is not constantly exercised. You don’t gain fat when you stop working out. It is quite the reverse. You lose muscle mass when you stop your exercise regimen.

5. Juices Can Be A Healthy Alternative to Soda

True and false. A dietician or your doctor may recommend you to consume a glass of fresh fruit juice each day to keep up with your daily vitamin intake, but it is not a healthy alternative to, let’s say Diet Soda.

Fruits are, without a doubt, packed with vitamins and minerals enough to last you an entire day but it is also packed with sugar. Whether it is natural sugar or processed sugar, whatever form it comes in, it is still harmful in large doses, and juices count as one of the culprits.

People swear by juice cleanse and, admittedly, there are positive results from detoxifying by drinking juice for a specific amount of time but without proper information and education, going overboard on juicing can lead to obesity or diabetes.

Another point is that it is a known fact that fruits  – as well as vegetables – lose a considerable amount of their nutritional value when they are put in a blender. So, you’re getting less of the nutrients but still the same amount of sugar. Your best option is still to keep your consumption in moderation.

4. Sweat is the Best Way to Know that You Are Burning Fat

Hate to break it to everybody, but sweating buckets do not count as losing calories and shedding a few pounds.

Sweating is the body’s natural response to cool down in a hot climate or after an intense activity like running or working out. What triggers this is our metabolism that, to put it plainly, boosts our energy and excites our metabolism.

In fact, weight loss and calorie burning are attributed to our metabolism. Naturally, as we get older, the less energy we need to burn and our metabolism slows down to suit our needs, but to avoid packing on some pounds as we age, a good workout or exercise regimen will keep our body burning through energy as well as unwanted flaws.

While you may think that sitting in a sauna is good for weight loss, the only benefit you are actually getting out of it is opening up your pores and sweating out toxins from the body.

3. The Best Way to Get a Six Pack is by Doing Crunches and Sit-ups

Here is an eye-opener. We all have that six-pack we dream of. We do. The human anatomy is designed in such a way that our muscles have a definition no matter our body shape.

The problem with not getting the abdominal muscles we so ever thirst for is not because we don’t take time to develop them; it’s mostly because of our diet.

It has been pointed out by experts that doing crunches or spot training specific points in our bodies – especially the abs – can only do so much. Crunches and sit-ups actually do not shape and sculpt our abdominals. What they do is they strengthen the muscles in that area. Having a proper diet by lessening sugar and sodium from what we eat – coupled with a good workout routine – is a much, much more effective way of getting that beach-ready body.

2. Going Gluten-Free is the healthiest diet choice you will ever make

This is a trend that has been making waves in the healthy living and diet communities around the world. To them, gluten is some kind of evil substance that ruins your body and invited some diseases. In truth, a gluten-free diet is only necessary for people who have celiac disease.

While many people have claimed of the wonders of a gluten-free diet because they were able to effectively shed pounds, the main reason behind it is because they have eliminated various food items from their table and ended up with a much lower caloric intake and not because they went gluten-free. Having to reduce food portions or eliminating junk from your diet will actually have the same result without needing to go on a trendy gluten-free life choice.

1. Carbs Make You Gain Weight

Ask a doctor or a nutrition expert about carbs, and they will most probably say that it is an essential part of any diet.

It is a mystery how this myth came to be and how it continues to catch on without any signs of letting up.

Carbohydrates are a primary source of our body’s energy. Without it, we will simply slow down and be lethargic. The myth that it makes you gain insane amounts of weight it, to be fair, a little bit baseless. While there is a variety of carbohydrates that we can get from different kinds of food, the “good” kind of carbohydrates come from crops like sweet potatoes and fruits. It is the “bad” kind of carbohydrates that give carbs a terrible reputation in the dieting community. Bad carbohydrates essentially give you a quick boost of energy and instantly dips and crash once you’ve used it all up. They are mainly partnered with sugar and starch and have little to no nutritional value like white bread and processed food.

Essentially, carbohydrates aren’t the bad guys. It’s just that we’ve come to love sugar so much that many of us fail to notice that this sinister ingredient is to blame for our widening waistlines.