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Two Truths and a Lie: Popular Health Hacks

Many of you may be familiar with the game Two Truths and a Lie, where somebody says three things about themselves, and two of the facts are true while one is a lie. It’s up to you to guess which fact is the lie. This game is perfect for a health and wellness site like Medicareful Living, because there are a lot of dubious health tips out there. In fact, we’ve already played this game once with Old Wives Tales supported by science.

Today, we’re going to share three popular health hacks or beliefs that many people have tried and swear by. We’ll explain why they work. Then, we’ll reveal which hack was false at the end of the post, along with our evidence. If you get it right, be sure to tell us on social media or email!

Mindful Eating Can Help You Lose Weight

You may have heard of the term mindfulness before, usually referring to meditation and stress-relief. But, did you know it can help you lose weight? A growing trend of mindful eating has been encouraging people to really think deeply about the foods they’re eating, and it’s paying dividends. People are eating healthier and losing weight as a result. Why is this?

A big reason is that by thinking about your food, you slow down. This can curb you from overeating and from mindlessly snacking. Studies also found that mindful eating led to a greater awareness of fullness and weakened cravings.

Another benefit of mindful eating is how it differs from dieting. Generally speaking, dieting focuses on excluding certain unhealthy foods, whereas mindful eating is all about enjoying your foods to the fullest. For many, this lack of restrictions makes it easier to maintain a healthy lifestyle, as opposed to a strict diet that may be easy to break. In the long run, this yields greater weight loss and health-related benefits. At the same time, many diets encourage some form of mindful eating since they have you look in greater depth at the foods and ingredients you’re eating. By practicing mindful eating, you’ll find that you’ll enjoy food on a whole new level while capturing the benefits of a healthy, fulfilling diet.

Cold Showers Are Really Good for You

Unless you’re a morning person, placing you firmly in the minority, getting out of bed can be tough. One of the only nice things about the morning is a nice, relaxing, hot shower. But, it turns out you may be missing out on the best way to start your day: a cold shower. You may cringe at the thought, but there’s a number health and cosmetic reasons why a cold shower is a great idea. First and foremost, a cold shower is shown to improve wakefulness, which anyone that’s ever had a cold shower will know.

Cold water also tightens your skin, which can give you healthier-looking skin and prevent blemishes. At the same time, a cold shower gives your hair a luxurious, moisturized sheen. Hot water, on the other hand, dries out your skin and hair, which presents its own set of issues. By drying out the hair, a hot shower can make your hair brittle, exacerbating thinning hair. Hot water also opens the pores, which can lead to blemishes and dull skin. For health, cold showers can improve your circulation, which boosts your immunity. At the same time, cold showers have been shown to improve weight loss and help you burn unhealthy fat.

Gluten-Free Diets Are Guaranteed to Make You Feel Better

Many of us know somebody who swears by the gluten-free diet, and just looking at them, you see the results. They’ve lost weight and feel more energetic. In fact, they’re out running a lot more lately, which is credited to the extra energy they get from their diet. Dr. William Davis, author of Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health and gluten-free supporter, states that he’s seen people at his practice lose an average of 15 to 20 pounds by cutting wheat from their diet. Davis also found a compound in wheat that stimulates your appetite and creates more insulin, which stores fat.

The relationship between gluten and insulin is a large part of the problem with including gluten in your diet. Overindulgence has been linked with insulin resistance, which can lead to diabetes. Eating gluten has also been linked to insulin spikes, which further impacts insulin resistance. This is exacerbated by reports that gluten can lead to craving refined carbohydrates like chocolate, cookies, and other sugary, but fattening treats.

Worst of all, some estimates claim that 30 to 40 percent of the population have some form of gluten sensitivity, but don’t realize it. This is a form of gluten intolerance like celiac disease, but less severe. By ingesting gluten, you can trigger inflammation, which can exhaust you and may cause diseases like Alzheimer’s and cancer. Gluten can also damage your digestive system, causing leaky gut syndrome, which can cause gastrointestinal issues, anxiety, and depression. Finally, gluten can trigger gut permeability, which inhibits nutrient and mineral absorption.

To see which health hack was false, keep reading below. Make your guess first — no peeking!

The Lie

Anybody who reads Medicareful Living regularly should already know the answer! We’ve actually covered one of these health hacks in the past! The first truth was cold showers bring great health benefits. The other, was mindful eating is also a great practice! Our lie was about gluten-free diets and whether everyone can benefit from them.

Looking back, you may notice that a lot of the “evidence” we presented was self-reporting. This is a great example of bad science, relying on feelings (like the cravings claim) or unproven or unsubstantiated claims (like the article we used for the third paragraph in under our third claim) instead of actual evidence. As for Dr. Davis’s other claims, his findings haven’t been replicated or proven by independent sources yet. It seems that, unless you have an intolerance to gluten, like celiac disease, you may actually be hurting yourself by avoiding grains.

Many gluteny foods, like grain, are rich in fiber, iron, folate, and calcium, to name only a few of the important vitamins and minerals that you’ll need to find elsewhere if you avoid gluten. One study from the American Heart Association even found links between gluten intake and lower risks of type 2 diabetes. Another study found lower risks of heart disease. At the same time, gluten-free foods tend to be higher in calories, fat, sugar, and salt than the gluten-containing alternatives. (For references, please see our article Is Gluten-Free for Me?.)

The important thing to remember is that gluten, like any aspect of food, isn’t some ultimate evil that will make you healthy by removing it entirely from your diet. If you’ve been diagnosed with celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity, you absolutely should follow a gluten-free diet. But if you don’t fall into this category, there’s probably no real reason to do so. Any weight loss you see is likely the result of you paying attention to your diet. In other words, mindful eating.

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Did you guess correctly?? Tell us on Twitter or Facebook if you got it right! The way many of us treat health hacks is like a secret cheat code that tricks our bodies into working better. This couldn’t be further from the truth, though! All they do is use our understanding of how our bodies work to improve our own well-being. That sounds pretty far from cheating. Instead, it sounds like a smart way to be as healthy as you can be!

If you have any other health hacks you want us to look into, or if you enjoyed this or the last time we played a game, send us your thoughts. You can get in touch with us on social media or email at living@medicareful.com.

Proof for Mindful Eating Helping You Lose Weight

Proof for Cold Showers Are Good for You

Further Reading

Medicareful Living — 2 Truths and a Lie: Old Wives’ Tales Backed by Science