12 'Healthy' Habits That Can Actually Be Harmful

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OVERDOSING ON PREVENTION

A healthy lifestyle is a goal for many people, but some common practices can actually do more harm than good. Whether it's getting too much of a good thing or buying stuff you probably don't need, here are some allegedly healthy habits that may not be all that great for you in the long run.

Related: 20 Secrets to Long-Term Health and Wealth

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OVERDOING EXERCISE

Exercise is crucial for overall health, but overdoing it can lead to strains, sprains, or other injuries. Warm up, work out, cool down, and don't overextend to the point of injury in the name of good health.
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TOO MANY ANTIBIOTICS

When you fall ill, there's an urge to head to the doctor and get medication. But over-prescribing of antibiotics has led to antibiotic resistance, which means some drugs are less effective than they used to be. Discuss the issue with your doctor and resist the urge to ask for an antibiotic if you don't need one.

Related: 12 Frugal Tips for Fighting the Common Cold

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HEAPING ON HAND SANITIZER

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that hand sanitizer is the next best thing to washing with soap and water, the Food and Drug Administration is still investigating the safety of the ingredients. There is also concern that using hand sanitizer too often can lead germs to develop resistance. If possible, scrub well with soap and water instead.
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DRINKING TOO MUCH WATER

Water is necessary for life, but it really is possible to overdo it. Too much water can dilute electrolytes in the blood, which can be fatal. People who do a lot of athletic training (such as marathon runners) are at greater risk.
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SKIPPING MEALS

Eschewing breakfast may seem like a good weight-loss tactic, but it can lead to impaired glucose tolerance and may actually result in more weight gain down the road.

Related: Don't Fall For These 12 Weight-Loss Gimmicks

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SLEEPING TOO MUCH

Getting enough sleep is vital to physical and mental health. If you think you're being even healthier by sleeping in, think again -- studies show increased body fat and other health problems (particularly psychiatric issues) in people who get more Z's than they should.
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TAKING VITAMINS

Vitamins can help fill the gaps in a not-so-perfect diet, but the jury is still out on whether or not they prevent chronic disease. Instead of investing in several individual supplements, try an inexpensive multivitamin instead.
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BRUSHING AFTER EVERY MEAL

Although experts recommend frequent brushing, you may be damaging tooth enamel if you brush your teeth right after consuming acidic drinks or foods, such as sweets and citrus fruits. Wait up to an hour before brushing.
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TOO MUCH SOY

For those trying to eat more non-meat protein, soy is often seen as a good substitute. Some soy can be part of a healthy diet, but intake should be moderate. Animal studies reveal that too much soy may have detrimental effects on the reproductive system.
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GOING GLUTEN-FREE

Those who have a medical need to avoid gluten (like celiac disease) should avoid it, of course. But the gluten-free fad, which suggests that people should abstain from gluten to eat a healthier diet, can have the opposite effect for those who eat prepackaged, high-calorie substitutes, like gluten-free cookies and snacks.
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SUGAR SUBSTITUTES

Reducing sugar intake is a healthy habit, but switching to diet soda or artificial sweeteners in other foods isn't the way to go. Studies have shown that sugar substitutes can lead to more weight gain.

Related: 15 Foods Diabetics Should Avoid

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HARDCORE DIETING

Making a healthy change in eating habits is a good thing, but going on a hardcore crash diet is not. Crash diets can deplete nutrients and lead to severe health problems.