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15 Seemingly Smart Health Tips That Are Actually The Worst

END CARBOHYDRATE HATE.

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When it comes to your health, there is a LOT of advice out there, and it can be hard to tell what's real and what's BS.

To help, we talked to experts about the most common crappy health tips you probably believe. Some just won't get you anywhere, and some are actually TERRIBLE for your health — either way, here's all the advice not to take, and what to do instead.

1. Don't eat after a certain point at night or else you'll gain weight.

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You've probably heard of the importance of ~not eating after 8 p.m.~ or something similar when you're trying to be healthy. Timing does play into how your eating habits affect weight loss, because unhealthy foods are the worst when you eat them at inactive times, but there's not much of a difference between eating a cookie at 3 p.m. at your desk and before you go to bed, Albert Matheny, C.S.C.S., R.D., co-founder of Soho Strength Lab in New York City, tells BuzzFeed Life. You're inactive at both hours of the day, so your body will store that sugar as fat either way. But when it comes to snacking healthily at night, it's all about moderation, not time.

Better advice: "Apply the same rules of healthy eating you would at any other time of day, and you'll be fine," says Matheny.

2. Take Tylenol or another OTC medicine to deal with a hangover.

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Do you love your liver? DO NOT DO THIS. Mixing alcohol and acetaminophen (Tylenol) can cause liver damage. In fact, you should be super careful when you mix OTC medication with alcohol in any capacity — that Advil you took for your headache yesterday might still be in your system when you go out tonight. For more details on how to be safer when popping pills and popping bottles, read this.

Better advice: The National Institute of Health suggests drinking slowly and on a full stomach to prevent hangovers, as well as drinking lots of water (if not between every drink, then at least before bed). Then, if you wake up in the morning feeling wretched, sports drinks and bouillon soup are good for replacing the salt and potassium you've lost after drinking booze.

3. Vitamins and supplements will help you be healthier.

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Nope. You do need vitamins to be healthy, yes, but the thing is, if you eat a balanced diet, you will probably get all the vitamins that you need. In fact, unless you have a specific need (like if you're a vegan supplementing your plant-based diet with B12), vitamins could actually be hurting your health.

Better advice: Load up on vitamin-rich foods and talk to your doctor on what deficiencies you might need to supplement.

4. Stop snacking if you want to lose weight.

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Snacking isn't the enemy — mindless snacking on crappy foods is. Eating between meals is actually essential to keeping your blood sugar up and preventing you from overindulging later out of hunger, says Matheny.

Better advice: "If you know you’re going to go more than three or four hours without any food, it’s a good idea to have at least some kind of protein," Matheny says. If you need some ideas, check out what healthy people actually snack on here.

5. Cut fat from your diet, because it will make you fat.

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"Fat helps speed digestion, regulate your blood sugar and hormones, and keep you full and energized," says Matheny. Translation? You do NOT want to cut it from your diet — you just want to make sure you're eating the right kind. If you want to cut fat from your diet, says Matheny, it should be fat from processed foods (mostly saturated fat and trans fat).

Better advice: Everyone's needs are different, but as a general rule, Matheny says you should aim to get 30% of your daily calories from protein, 40% from fat, and 30% from carbohydrates. The simplest way to make sure you're getting the "good" fats is to consume any fat that comes "in its whole food form." Think: avocados, coconut, eggs, nuts.

6. Carbs are terrible for you, and you should avoid them.

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NOPE. It's fine if you decide you want to cut out some of the more unhealthy carbs, like highly refined flour products like white bread, but to cut them out completely will lead to problems. "Carbs are your body's main energy source," says Matheny. "If you cut carbohydrates completely, your body will get its energy from fat and you'll feel dizzy and nauseous." As long as you're keeping it within reason and getting your carbs from the right places, carbs should be a staple of a healthy diet.

Better advice: Always have a baseline of at least 50 grams of carbohydrates a day, says Matheny. Get them from sweet potatoes, bananas, whole wheat, and any number of healthy options that don't deserve to be nixed from your diet.

7. Make sure you're bundled up in the cold or rain or else you'll get sick.

Despite the fact that you probably heard it a million times growing up, shielding yourself from the weather doesn't have anything to do with catching a cold or flu, says Donnica Moore, M.D., author of Women's Health for Life. "The belief comes from the fact that cough, cold, and flu season is the winter, and so people think it's from being cold. It's not," she says. "In part, it's because we're indoors a lot more and we're around contagious people. But the cold is also optimal for viruses to spread."

Better advice: Obviously, you still want to make sure you're dressed appropriately for the weather for other reasons. But if it's getting sick you're worried about, concentrate on hand-washing, says Moore. AKA do it a lot. Go here for more information on staying healthy.

8. If a workout doesn't hurt, you're not going to see results.

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Just like you don't need to stay at the office till 11 p.m. every night to be a good employee, there's no point in working out until you're in pain, either. "Ninety-nine point nine percent of people are not trying to win a gold medal, so there's no reason to push yourself to the absolute limit," say Matheny. Not only is pushing yourself as hard as you can totally unnecessary for seeing results, but the harder you push, the higher your risk for injury.

Better advice: Aim for a sweet spot of exerting 85% of your effort. And if you find yourself super sore after every workout, even weeks after you get started, something isn't right and you should consult a doctor or a trainer, says Matheny.

9. Take vitamin C when you’re feeling sick.

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Despite the urge you probably have to reach for it once your symptoms start, vitamin C supplements don't do you any good. SORRY. That said, keeping up on your vitamin C regularly (and not just when a cold hits) might makes your colds shorter and more bearable.

Do this instead: Build up your immune system before the fact so you're less likely to get sick. "The main foods that build up your immune system are green cruciferous vegetables, berries, mushrooms, and onions," Joel Fuhrman, M.D., a board-certified family physician and author of Super Immunity, previously told BuzzFeed Life. Again, though, this isn't an instant fix — a healthy immunity takes months to build up, and it involves not only a healthy diet, but getting enough sleep and exercise too.

10. Drink eight glasses of water a day.

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Staying hydrated is AWESOME, and you should definitely drink water throughout the day. That said, everyone has different hydration needs, and the eight-glass rule isn't backed up by any research.

Do this instead: Drink enough water so that your pee is a pale-yellow color. These tips will help you drink more throughout the day.

11. Do cardio to get lean, and lift weights to bulk up.

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Here's the thing: You're not going to get huge unless you actively try (which involves more than just lifting weights), AND you're not going to get super lean from doing cardio alone. "While cardio will burn calories, it won't increase your resting metabolic rate the way having more muscle does," Matheny previously told BuzzFeed Life. "Basically, the more muscle mass you have, the more calories you'll burn naturally each day."

Do this instead: Mix cardio with weight lifting and body-weight exercises for whole-body health — and don't get married to one exercise if you want the best results. "I always say don't do anything exclusively, unless you're going to have problems," says Matheny. "If you just cycle all the time, your upper body will be neglected and you won't have good bone density. If you only lift weights all the time, you won't have good cardio health. It's important to have variety."

12. The longer you work out, the better.

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Logging more hours at the gym doesn't necessarily mean you're getting a better workout. In fact, if you can work out for hours, you're probably not going hard enough. Matheny previously told BuzzFeed Life: "The key to getting lean and seeing fitness improvement is varying up the intensity of your workout. Going on an occasional long jog is fine, but a higher intensity workout will engage more muscles, which will help increase your metabolism in the long run."

Do this instead: Go for high-intensity interval training and high-intensity circuit training, like these no-equipment-necessary workouts.

13. Go vegetarian if you want to be super healthy.

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Vegetarian ≠ healthy unless you do it right. It's just as easy to be an unhealthy vegetarian as it is to be unhealthy when your diet includes meat — you still have to avoid eating junk and processed foods. And no, going meat-free will not automatically lead to weight loss unless you're making an active effort, either.

Better advice: If you want to stop eating meat, this is what you need to know about doing it the RIGHT way. If you're looking to lose weight, meat or no meat, start with these healthy tips from people who have been there.

14. Drink lots of milk for strong bones.

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Ah, milk. The biggest lie of your childhood. Just kidding — the calcium in milk is great for your bones, but milk isn't the be-all and end-all of bone health, since calcium alone won't cut it. You also need vitamin D to help your body absorb the calcium, either from your diet or from exposure to sunlight. Also, regular exercise is as important as your diet in osteoporosis prevention, according to the NIH.

Better advice: Drink milk if it suits you for calcium (you can also eat dark leafy greens, like kale; cheese; low-fat yogurt; broccoli; green beans; and almonds), but make sure you're paying attention to vitamin D and exercise too.

15. You should avoid packaged foods at all costs because they're awful for you.

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Less processing is generally better, because it means you're eating more nutrients per calorie, but sometimes you need to turn to packaged foods and that's totally OK. It won't ruin a well-balanced diet. Also, thinking about food in terms of what's "packaged" and "whole" could scare you away from things that are actually great, like frozen fruits and vegetables, which are easy and useful to have on hand to add to meals.

Better advice: If your goal is to eat healthily, focus on eating more vegetables and fruits as well as other whole foods, but don't turn away from packaged stuff. Sometimes portion control or having convenient healthy options is more important than sticking to a super-strict all-natural diet, because in the long run it might be easier to adhere to.

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