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Bad for YouHealth risks can sometimes turn up in the most unexpected places. From getting licked by your dog to checking social media, researchers are uncovering hidden hazards that may be lurking in our daily lives that may possibly cause people harm or be unsafe.
Here are nine things you might do or experience while going about your day that could affect your health in surprising ways.
Going gluten-freeSlide 2 of 19
Going gluten-freeFor some individuals, a gluten-free diet is not a choice, but a necessity: People with celiac disease, a rare condition in which eating gluten triggers an immune response that damages the small intestine, must avoid gluten. People with a diagnosed wheat allergy should cut back on gluten by avoiding wheat.
But as gluten-free diets have gained popularity, many people believe that avoiding gluten is healthier for them. Some say that they feel better and lose weight after cutting back on gluten or cutting out foods containing the protein, such as most breads, cereals, pastas, desserts and many processed foods.
However, nutrition experts say these health benefits could result from the foods people may be eating in place of those with gluten, such as more fruits and vegetables, and fewer sweets and junk food, as opposed to the benefits stemming directly from avoiding gluten. Nutrition experts also say that gluten-free products tend to cost more, and some gluten-free packaged foods may be higher in fats and sugar than products with gluten.
What's more, cutting out gluten could be risky for some people. For example, eliminating this protein from children's diets, when they don't have celiac disease or a wheat allergy, could lead to certain nutritional deficiencies, experts say.Slide 3 of 19
Getting too much sleepSlide 4 of 19
Getting too much sleepMany Americans get too little sleep. But sleeping too much can also have its pitfalls.
In a study that was presented at the American Heart Association's medical meeting this year, researchers found that getting too much sleep was linked to poorer heart health in older women.
Researchers found that older women who slept more than 9 hours a night had an estimated 13 percent risk of developing heart disease in the next 10 years, compared with an estimated risk of 12 percent in women who slept for 7.5 to 8 hours a night.
Other research has also shown that too much sleep can affect the risk of heart disease. But previous studies have asked people to remember how much they typically slept, whereas the new study used a more objective measurement of actual sleep, which may provide a more accurate estimate.
The researchers noted that the study had limitations. For example, it did not factor in whether these women took sleeping pills or had a sleep disorder, which could have impacted the results. The findings have not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal.Slide 5 of 19
Taking vitaminsSlide 6 of 19
Taking vitaminsPeople may take a multivitamin to cover nutritional gaps in their diet or to stay healthy. But researchers have shown that these popular supplements may not protect against chronic disease, and could be a waste of money.
Three studies done in 2013 found no evidence that taking a daily multivitamin prevents or slows the risk of developing chronic diseases, such as cancer and heart disease, or delays the progression of cognitive decline.
Results from earlier studies have also shown no benefits from taking antioxidants or B vitamins and even suggested some possible harm. Despite these findings, supplement sales in the U.S. remain strong.
In 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration outlined another potential harm from taking supplements. They issued a warning to consumers about the risks of high doses of biotin, a B-complex vitamin.
High levels of biotin in the blood can skew the results of some lab tests, including tests that measure hormone levels and tests that detect heart attacks, the FDA says. These faulty test results have been linked to one death, the FDA says.
It's not clear how much biotin may interfere with lab results, but researchers are investigating the amount. The Institute of Medicine recommends 30 micrograms of biotin daily, whereas some supplements can contain more than 650 times the recommended amount.Slide 7 of 19
Sitting all daySlide 8 of 19