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“Expert” Health Advice That Turned Out To Be Wrong

by Bruce Haring

When it comes to your health, you can’t be too careful. That’s why it’s so important, before going on a diet, starting to take any kind of medication, or undergoing a medical procedure, to talk to your doctor beforehand. We trust their opinions because they’re experts. They studied for many years, and hopefully have many more years of practical experience on top of that, to have an understanding of the medical field.

Unfortunately, not all experts are created equal. Over the years, esteemed doctors and other medical professionals have rendered advice that everyone took to heart—until it turned out to be wrong.

Low-Fat Diets Aren’t the Answer

For years, fat was considered the enemy. If you wanted to lose weight, you had to eat low-fat and nonfat foods. Cholesterol was another enemy to good health, and things like egg yolks and shellfish were forbidden to anyone trying to lower theirs.

Then, a couple of years ago, things changed. The National Institute of Health released new nutrition guidelines that no longer included low fat and low cholesterol diets. They found no correlation between the cholesterol in your food and the cholesterol in your blood.

Furthermore, fat is not automatically bad. Butter has long been shunned in favor of margarine and vegetable oil spread, but it turns out, butter has healthy fats that can improve brain function, as well as a number of fat-soluble vitamins. Avocados are another great source of healthy fats, and a lot of seafood contains omega-3 fatty acids.

Vitamin C Won’t Prevent a Cold

It’s cold and flu season, but you’re far too busy to get sick right now. So you take a massive dose of vitamin C, in order to boost your immune system and ward off any viruses that may come your way. Crisis averted!

Only not quite. It turns out, the doctor who first recommended high doses of vitamin C to improve health, was relying on misinformation. A small amount, between 65 and 90mg per day, is necessary to keep your immune system in check and ward off scurvy. Anything beyond that won’t make you extra healthy, though, but will simply pass through your body without incident.

However, if you take more than 2,000mg, it can actually cause serious damage, including diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, kidney stones, and more.

Dr. Oz Recommends Ineffective Treatments

Mehmet Oz is the acclaimed host of The Dr. Oz Show, which provides daily health and medical advice to millions of viewers. The doctor himself is a cardiothoracic surgeon with an undergraduate degree from Harvard and an MD from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. In addition to his show, he also teaches at Columbia University. It’s clear he’s a very smart, very educated man. Yet many of the things he recommends are demonstrably ineffective.

A longtime advocate of homeopathic and naturopathic treatments, Dr. Oz has come under fire for providing misleading data and pseudoscience. In fact, a study of a collection of Dr. Oz episodes selected at random found that less than half of the claims made on his show could be proven, and 15% were directly opposed to established science. He’s even actively promoted certain weight loss treatments that have been found to have no effect whatsoever.

Nobody is perfect, and even experts can make mistakes. There are a number of reasons why expert advice can end up not being true. The researcher may have misinterpreted the data, or been lax in their testing methodology. Or sometimes, bad advice ends up being the result of a deliberate hoax on the part of one or more people involved.

Of course, you should still trust medical experts in general. They may not know everything, but they know more than you, and it’s important to listen to your doctor’s advice. But don’t just blindly accept everything you hear. Do some research and see if maybe there are more layers to a particular issue than what appears on the surface. By keeping your eyes open, you can keep yourself healthy and happy for years to come.

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