The Quick Report

10 Debunked Myths Your Parents Convinced You Were Real

Frequently called “old wives tales,” these debunked myths are proliferating worldwide thanks to the Internet. But are they really true? We’re proving these age-old myths related to the human body wrong once and for all.


10 Debunked Myths About the Human Body You Can Stop Believing

You’ve probably heard most of this “homespun advice” throughout your lifetime from parents, family, and friends. However, none of it is true. Here are 10 debunked myths you can stop believing.

1. We Only Use 10% of Our Brain

Science disagrees. Studies by neurologists have shown that most of the brain is active almost all of the time. Even when we are asleep.

Further, neurologists say that even when the brain becomes damaged, it can compensate for what’s malfunctioning or missing.

2. Shaved Hair Will Grow Back Thicker and Darker

Untrue. It’s all a trick of perception. It may appear to be true only because newer hair may not have been bleached yet by the sun, so it appears darker at first.

Second, normal uncut hair follicles have a tapered tip. Shaved hair has a “blunt tip” afterward, giving the perception it’s thicker.

3. Chewing Gum Stays in Your Stomach for 5-7 Years

Untrue. Because chewing gum is not digestible, it is immune to the digestive process.

Chewing gum will travel through your system in about 2 to 4 days and be expelled in your feces.


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4. Cracking Your Knuckles Will Give You Arthritis

Untrue. The sound we hear when someone cracks their knuckles is actually caused by air bubbles bursting in the synovial fluid that helps to lubricate the joints.

Studies by medical experts that have compared the rates of arthritis in the hand among people who habitually cracked their knuckles and people who don’t found no correlation between the two. Also, people who already have arthritis won’t make it worse by cracking their knuckles.

5. Going Outside With Wet Hair on a Cold Day Will Cause You to Catch a Cold

Untrue. These days, we all pretty much know colds are caused by viruses, right?

However, if you are outside all day in cold temperatures and become chilled, you can actually experience the same symptoms – runny nose, chills, and fatigue – as if you are sick. But you aren’t. Technically, if you don’t have the virus, you don’t have a cold.

6. Sugar Makes Children Hyperactive

Untrue. Several studies have looked at this assumption and debunked it. In one study, researchers found when parents thought their children had been given sugar – but were not – they believed their children were more hyper.

However, studies have found that sugar does affect behavior. For example, a breakfast high in sugar has been shown to severely deteriorate attention spans. Another study reported higher levels of adrenaline and children who were given sugar.

Read More: Want Your Kids to Actually Listen? Try This

7. Touching a Toad or Frog Will Give You Warts

Untrue. Some toads and frogs have bumps on their skins that look like warts, which is likely where this myth originated. However, common human warts are caused by a virus. Specifically, the human papillomavirus (HPV).

Some frogs emit toxic substances through their skin. The only one in the United States is the pickerel frog, whose secretions are irritating to people and toxic to some predators.

8. You Have to Wait an Hour After Eating Before You Swim

Untrue. As long as you only consume a normal-sized meal, you will not get cramps if you go swimming after eating.

However, if you overeat, you may feel fatigued if you try to swim immediately after eating. Even if you were to get cramps, it’s extremely unlikely it would disable you to the point of making you drown.

9. Stepping on or Getting Poked by a Rusty Nail Will Give You Tetanus

Untrue. Tetanus is caused by a bacteria called Clostridium tetani. This bacteria is often found in soil that’s rich in organic materials, such as dead leaves or manure.

However, stepping on a rusty nail does open a puncture wound that allows bacteria to enter the body. Nonetheless, it is advisable to stay up-to-date on tetanus vaccinations as it can enter the body through both major and minor wounds and is fatal in 10% of cases.

Read More: How A Blood Test May Reveal Your Chances to Live to 100

10. You Can Get Sick From a Toilet Seat

Unlikely. Even if you can’t cover a toilet seat, overall, they are usually pretty clean. But the bugs that cause illnesses, colds, and flu — such as E. coli, and norovirus (the stomach flu) — can be all over door handles, other handles, faucets, doors, floors, and other surfaces that humans touch.

Out of precaution, wash your hands after making contact or use hand sanitizer, as well as use a paper towel to touch handles and surfaces.