What common health myth or fad has been debunked by science?

Each week a new headline in the media trumpets the latest medical studies, some of which contradict each other. Here, some of our experts separate science from myth.

“Myth: Eggs may be bad for heart health or health in general. Now, it’s a complete 180. Studies show eggs are a great source of protein and good to incorporate in your diet.”

Rulla Tamimi, ScD
Associate Epidemiologist
Channing Division of Network Medicine

“Myth: Someone can be ‘fat and fit’—that is, overweight but still healthy. The latest science is quite clear that excess weight can carry considerable health risks, including a higher risk for heart attack and stroke.”

Jorge Plutzky, MD
Director, Preventive Cardiology
Heart and Vascular Center

“Myth: Pregnancy complications end when a woman delivers a baby. We now know that pregnancies complicated by preeclampsia and gestational diabetes, as well as premature delivery, are associated with
future health risks for mothers.”

Janet Rich-Edwards, ScD, MPH
Director of Developmental Epidemiology
Connors Center for Women’s Health and Gender Biology

“Myth: Older men should maintain high protein intake. We tested this rigorously, and our data highlighted the need for re-evaluation of protein recommendations for older adults, especially those with frailty and chronic disease.”

Shalender Bhasin, MD
Director, Research Program in Men’s Health
Division of Aging

“Myth: If you shortchange on your sleep one night, you can catch up by sleeping more on other nights. Evidence shows sleep debt accumulates over time. People whose sleep varies a lot night to night are more likely to develop high blood pressure and abnormal blood sugar levels than people who follow consistent sleep schedules.”

Susan Redline, MD, MPH
Director, Sleep Medicine Epidemiology Program
Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders

“Myth: People should drink 10 8-ounce glasses of water every day. If you have kidney stones that’s true. Otherwise, there’s no evidence drinking this much water per day is good for your health.”

Gary Curhan, MD, ScD
Renal Physician
Department of Medicine


Illustrations by Michael Hoeweler