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Don't Swallow Your Gum!: Myths, Half-Truths, and Outright Lies About Your Body and Health
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Don't Swallow Your Gum!: Myths, Half-Truths, and Outright Lies About Your Body and Health

3.56  ·  Rating details ·  370 Ratings  ·  47 Reviews

People have more access to medical information than ever before, and yet we still believe "facts" about our bodies and health that are just plain wrong. DON'T SWALLOW YOUR GUM! takes on these myths and misconceptions, and exposes the truth behind some of those weird and worrisome things we think about our bodies. Entries dispel the following myths and more:

- You need to dr
Paperback, 240 pages
Published May 26th 2009 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published January 1st 2009)
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Jul 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfictions
i think everyone should read this book. and while it is full of useful things to know (like which more expensive drugs are exactly the same as cheaper versions or that you dont need to drink all that water you are drinking) there are some things that i am too stubborn to stop doing. like putting butter on my burns. it makes me feel better, even if it "doesnt help" and is "actually worse for the burn". i dont care - i dont want to know. and im still going to eat anything that falls on the floor. ...more
Jun 17, 2009 marked it as to-read
This book is actually written by a very close friend of mine. He is one of the brightest individuals I know. We had a blast listing to some of the ideas for the book and hearing his thoughts along the way. I have only heard great things about it, but haven't read it myself yet. I am going to his book signing tonight and then will report back...
Feb 25, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: wackynonfiction
Spoiler Alert...

Most things are a myth.

Abdulrahman Kauther
Oct 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A must read for everyone.
Jun 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
I highly recommend this book to anyone who has ever thought "I need to drink 8 glasses of water a day" or "Nexium is so much more effective than Prilosec" or "eating a banana will make mosquitoes like you more." The authors of the book go through these and other common myths and facts of common health care tips. It's broken up into how we get diseases (hint, they're not from bad weather or having wet hair in the cold) myths about our bodies (that hand size trick ladies. . .) pregnancy, babies an ...more
Jul 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Man, I LOVE books like this. Being a lover of trivia, I look forward to books that debunk(or prove) popular myths, not only for my presence of my mind(I don't have to worry about my head being uncovered), but because of the humorous way these doctors often present the facts. Don't Swallow Your Gum is a really good example of this. Drs. Aaron and Rachel succeed in pointing out the stupidity of believing in these myths without making you feel stupid and offer lots of good research to back their op ...more
Jul 27, 2011 rated it it was ok
I remember reading the article when they released their findings in Dec 2007. And I also remember that's where I learned that poinsettas are fine and that you don't lose any more heat from your head than you do from any exposed part of your body. Also that it is a myth that we only use 10% of our brains. It was a quick read and the only other thing I learned was that sometimes pharmaceuticals are very bad: like changing the colour of the green Prozac pill to pink, call it Sarafem and charge more ...more
Feb 04, 2010 rated it really liked it
Besides the fact that I pet sit for one of the author's pug, this is really quite informative and entertaining. All those things your mother told you were true, all those things you learned in the halls of your middle school... yeah, it's probably in here. This isn't dry and boring either - definitely quite entertaining. :)
Sep 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fic
All those body and health myths and half-truths are exposed - everything from the relationship between foot and penis size to gum stays in your stomach for seven years - with numerous delightful scientific commentary. Well researched with tons of documentation, but not dry or fussy in any way.
Apr 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Short and interesting. Does green mucus mean a sinus infection? Do you lose all your body heat through your head? Do antibiotics really effect birth control pills? In one to 4 pages, these types of questions are addressed through scientific data.
Apr 04, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-10
I love useless trivia. I love semi-useless trivia. And I love things that bust myths, even if I've never seen a certain show.

So how on earth could I have been as bored to tears as I was by this book? Seriously. Even their attempts to interject humor made me cringe and flip the page.

Mar 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
Thank goodness! The average human being does NOT swallow 8 spiders a year.

I can now sleep in peace.
Aug 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Very interesting facts that shattered a lot of myths.
Sep 09, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Everyone should read this.
Jennifer A. McDonald

Entertaining. Parents especially should read this so they don't lie to their children. This book reinforces that people are dumb and you need to think critically.
Gavin Yee
Dec 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
I found out about these two books from trying to keep up with John Green (a YouTuber/author) who talks about some of things in the book and how he is also making a YouTube channel with the author of books talking about a healthcare [that is going to explain a lot about how healthcare works].

Both books “Don't Swallow Your Gum!: Myths, Half-Truths, and Outright Lies About Your Body and Health” and “/Don't Cross Your Eyes...They'll Get Stuck That Way!: And 75 Other Health Myths Debunked” addresses
Jul 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
I love any book that says "Remember that thing you've always heard about (fill in random old wive's tale or folk myth here)? Well, it's complete bulls**t." I HATE folk lore, I HATE people who take everything as it's told to them with no thought or consideration, and I HATE ignorance. I read this book and just kept thinking "there are people I know that I want to smack in the face...with this book."

Some of my favorite stupid beliefs that they totally debunked:

--Vaccines cause autism (no freaking
Mar 19, 2015 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Gwen by: The Incidental Economist
Shelves: well-being
A breezy, easy-to-read debunking of many medical myths. The authors have clearly done their research (complete with 50+ pages of endnotes!) and make compelling arguments, but very little in here is surprising if you're a regular reader of Carroll's Incidental Economist site or The New York Times' health section. I already knew most of these before reading the book, but I have high hopes for the next two books in the "series": Don't Put That in There!: And 69 Other Sex Myths Debunked and Don't Cr ...more
Jul 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
I enjoy books such as this well-supported by solid research. Each section is short, easy to read, and accessible. The myths exposed are popular which adds to the interest, and debunking the myths make for good smalltalk when done in moderation. Unlike trivia, some of the knowledge (such as how to select sunscreen) is practical.

However I have some objections. First, the section on concussions (page 49) downplays the risks of "mild" concussions and seems to contradict the research of Dr. Bennet Om
Lucas Healey
Oct 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Dr. Aaron Carroll and Dr. Rachel Vreeman have written one of the greatest science books. The book Don't Swallow Your Gum! maintains the reader's attention by telling past experiences and how the things mentioned in the book can be related to the reader. This book made me laugh whilst also connecting to what I was reading. I don't get that feeling very much when reading nonfiction.

Don't Swallow Your Gum! tells the truth about myths frequently told about the human body, often correcting them. The
Jun 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
It's a decent book--I'll admire any book that addresses common misconceptions and backs them up with science. A lot of the facts are repetitive, though, same old myths being busted from book to book (but then again, it's the same myths that people continue to buy into, like Vitamin C for colds, eyestrain from reading in the dark, etc.) I'm actually going to read Ken Jennings' mythbusting book Because I Said So! : The Truth Behind the Myths, Tales, and Warnings Every Generation Passes Down to Its ...more
Oct 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a fun book that introduces and concludes different myths about health and how the body works. It tells what people have said about the myth, and then says if what they think is either true or false by giving scientific evidence with experiments people have taken.
Obviously, this a non-fiction book of facts, so you're not going to find a huge story with one giant meaning that all ties together. Although, don't get me wrong this book has enjoyable, fun facts that give you checkpoints to
Dec 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Most of those terrifying facts you learned at middle school sleepover parties are wrong. You probably know that already, but this book explains the scientific evidence that shows how wrong those facts are. One of my favorite chapters is about the unstoppable urban legend that strangers hand out poisoned candy on Halloween. It's probably the longest chapter and for good reasons -- the myth will not die. (That they needed to debunk the idea that vaccines cause autism is incredibly depressing.) My ...more
Courtney Stoker
Oct 27, 2016 rated it it was ok
It was surprising to see the old weight loss=calories in vs. calories out canard in a book specifically meant to challenge myths about the human body. And it certainly wasn't the only positive claim made by the authors. While they provided lots of evidence for debunking the myths/negative claims throughout the book, none was provided for the handful of positive claims they made.

It's normally difficult to make myth debunking boring. It's like writing a boring book about sex. But the only reason
Kristy Hawley
Jul 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a fun book for health professionals and non-health professionals alike. I was very surprised by a few of the myths and I'm glad I won't make the mistake of believing them in the future. The book also has an extensive list of references which is nice for people on the clinical end of things and want to read more of the studies. It was a quick read as it's broken down by one-to-two page myths -- easy to read on public transport!
Jan 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is an interesting book and it is written is a entertaining and casual style. It is good to hear about the real science (or lack of it) behind the common and frequent advise you often get. Some of my favorites are how the myth of 8 glasses of water a day got started, looking at the 5 second rule and the lack of any evidence that anyone has ever poisoned Halloween candy. Also, since it is in short articles about various subjects, it is perfect for sporadic reading.
Jun 29, 2012 rated it liked it
Quick, easy read. If you're looking for a skimming book, both in its ability to be picked up at any point and skimmed, as well as a book that skims the surface of a topic, this is the book for you. Each myth is touched upon in just one, maybe two pages (and in some cases, just one paragraph). If you're one that likes an in depth description of studies, this perhaps is not the book for you, but it's a good overview in an attempt to debunk common myths.
Nov 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I'm not sure if the main reason I enjoyed this book, was because is dispelled so many old-wives tales about your health that I've been told throughout the years. Or if the scientist in me just enjoys learning new things like this. But this was a must read. I'll never again put hydrogen peroxide on a cut. Just have to convince those around me that its a bad idea...
Aug 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
This was an interesting read. The only thing I don't believe is the flue portion. They said the flu vaccine given is the dead virus. My inquiry, is if it's dead why would the body create antibodies to fight it? It would have to be a very weak virus, instead of dead, so the body can create antibodies.
Louisa Keron
Mar 29, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science
It was a decent book. The issue with it is that you could just read the title of each section and then skim the rest. Honestly, you aren't missing much if you do that. There were attempts of humor which was good, but it didn't feel natural. It was as if they read the book once they were done, decided it was too dry and sprinkled jokes in it.
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