What Common Health Myths Do Brits Believe In Most?

Research and user behaviour show how lockdown has affected the fitness industry and the way people now choose to exercise

© Toa Heftiba

Gigacalculator surveyed 2,424 British consumers with a survey that comprised the most common health myths available to read online requiring respondents to select the myths they believe in most.

Below are the top 20 and the results may surprise you

Rank
Health “Myth”%
1Sitting too close to the TV will damage your eyes62
2Eating before drinking keeps you sober55
3Low-fat foods are better for your health38
4Eating before bed makes you overweight33
5You need to wait one hour after eating to swim26
6Eating too many carrots turns your skin orange24
7Hair and nails keep growing after death20
8‘Pulling out’ is a form of contraception20
9Bottled water is better for you than tap19
10Sugar and chocolate are aphrodisiacs14
11Eating a lot of carrots gives you great night vision14
12You can cure a hangover by drinking more14
13You can’t get pregnant on your period14
14Sperm is good for your skin14
15It takes 7 years to digest chewing gum12
16Wet hair causes colds12
17Cheese gives you nightmares12
18An apple a day keeps the doctor away5
19People get warts from frogs and toads5
20Coffee stunts your growth2

The Highlights:

Gigacalculator found the common health myth Brits believe in most is ‘sitting too close to the TV will damage your eyes’, at 62%.  While it’s true to say concentrating on a screen for hours can lead to eyestrain, watching TV, even closely, will not damage your eyesight. However, it is recommended that you keep the room well-lit and take screen breaks.

While over half of Brits (55%) think ‘eating before drinking keeps you sober.’

‘Low-fat foods are better for your health’ is third on the myth list but be cautious. If a food label reads “low-fat” or “reduced fat”, it should contain less fat, but that doesn’t automatically make it healthier. Some low-fat options may also contain high levels of sugar and other substitutes.  

Worryingly, 2 in 10 (20%) of Brits believe ‘pulling out’ is a form of contraception, while a further 14% think ‘you can’t get pregnant on your period.’ In fact, the latter is a common fertility myth and it’s true the odds for pregnancy are lower on your period, but they aren’t zero! It is advised to use effective contraception, such as the pill or condoms, to avoid pregnancy. Never rely on myth.

Comparably, Brits are less likely to believe myths like ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’ (5%)‘people get warts from frogs and toads’ (5%) and ‘coffee stunts your growth’, at 2%.

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