A myth is a lie – true or false? Actually, the most general definition of myth found in most dictionaries is something like, “A popular belief or story.” In other words, it can be true or false. See if you can tell which are which with the following beliefs and myths.
True or False – Antibacterial Soap Is More Hygienic
This one is false. There is no study showing that antibacterial soap is better at cleaning your hands than regular soap. Either one works primarily by loosening the dirt and germs on your hands so they can be rinsed off. Antibacterial hand sanitizer, on the other hand, is different, because it is stronger and remains on your hands.
True or False – Mount Everest Is The Highest Mountain
This belief is true and false, depending on how you define the “highest”. Mount Everest is the highest above sea level at 29,035 feet (8,850 meters). If you measure from the base of mountains, though, Hawaii’s Mauna Kea rises 33,476 feet (10,203 meters) from the Pacific Ocean floor.
Then there is Mount Chimborazo, in Ecuador. Although it is only 20,600 feet above sea level (6,310 meters), it is the furthest point from the center of the Earth, or furthest out into space. Stand on top of this mountain and you are the closest you can get to the sun without leaving the ground. This is due to the way the Earth bulges at the equator.
True or False – Clothing Sizes Vary By Manufacturer
Many women believe this, and guess what? It’s true. There are voluntary industry size standards in women’s clothing, so would think you could tell if something will fit by looking at the size on the label. Unfortunately, clothing manufacturers mostly ignore these standards. More and more, they each have their own sizing scheme, often resorting to what is called “vanity sizing,” which is the practice of cutting clothes larger and labeling them smaller.
Why do they do this? So women can feel better about wearing the clothing. The average US woman, weighs 164 pounds in 2006 compared to 140 in 1960. Probably most would rather not admit to needing a larger size. When people want to lie to themselves, businesses are always there to help.
True or False – If It Says ‘Wheat Bread’ It’s Healthier
This is a myth that keeps people happy, but not healthy. It is false because virtually no product that simply says “wheat” is whole wheat. Most “whole wheat” breads, crackers and pastas use just white flour, with just enough whole wheat flour thrown in to color them a pretty brown – but not enough to add any real health advantage. Producers try to meet consumer demand, but the demand is as often for the illusion of healthy food as it is for the real thing.
Even if products say “whole wheat,” they may be dressed-up white flour products. Look at the ingredients. If the first one listed is anything but “whole wheat,” or “whole wheat flour,” it isn’t a whole wheat. More often, you’ll see “wheat flour,” “unbleached flour,” “enriched wheat flour,” or something else. These are not whole wheat. They are just other ways to say “white flour.”
White flour is bad for you. It lacks the good enzymes, protein and fiber of whole wheat. It contributes to diabetes. And it is hard enough to avoid it without being tricked into eating it. So it is true that whole wheat is healthier, but false that you can count on the word “wheat” to know you’re getting the real thing.