Top 5 Craziest Health Rumors

1. Baby carrots are preserved with bleach

Not exactly… and there’s no reason to stop eating them, says Randy Worobo, PhD, an associate professor of food microbiology at Cornell University. Baby carrots are rinsed (not preserved) in a chlorine wash, recommended by the FDA, to kill bacteria like salmonella and E. coli, which cause foodborne illness. Most precut produce, including frozen veggies and fruit salad, is washed with this or a similar sanitizer.

2. Working out on an empty stomach burns more fat
It does, but don’t expect any fat-melting miracles. When you exercise, your body burns calories from both fat and carbohydrates. Recent studies show that working out on an empty stomach might burn a few more fat calories since you don’t have as many carb calories to spare, but overall calorie burn is about the same. And, based on research so far, that’s what really counts when it comes to fitting into a smaller size.

2. Eating too much sugar causes diabetes
Not in the same smoking-gun way that cigarettes cause cancer, but research shows that sugar may play a part-and it’s smart to limit your intake. First and foremost, being overweight does increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and consuming too much sugar can contribute to weight gain. Still, some emerging research suggests that excess sugar intake can increase diabetes risk regardless of weight. A landmark JAMA study found that women nearly doubled their diabetes risk when they increased the number of sugar-added drinks they consumed from one or fewer a week to one or more per day over a 4-year period.

4. Does Listerine mouthwash help keep mosquitoes away?
No. Although Internet postings swear it’s true, scientists beg to differ. Our research has found that people who sprayed Listerine on their arms were just as likely to be bitten as those who didn’t use any repellent, says Grayson Brown, PhD, a University of Kentucky public health entomologist. The myth persists thanks to a strong placebo effect and because Listerine has eucalyptol, an ingredient found in some botanical bug sprays. But the concentration in mouthwash (less than 1%) is too low to have an impact.

5. Spicy foods boost metabolism
I wish! Your metabolic rate is determined by your gender, height, present weight/body composition, and age. These factors determine the amount of calories the body will burn to maintain the basic functions of life that occur even when we sleep-the energy used by the heart, brain, lungs, intestines, etc. Eating spicy foods cannot significantly increase metabolic rate and help you burn more calories at rest. Although your body temperature may temporarily rise and your heart may beat a bit faster after eating “hot” foods, over the long term spices will not make any changes in the rate of metabolism.