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Dont floss, peel veg or wash your jeans: 40 things you can stop d...


Dont floss, peel veg or wash your jeans: 40

things you can stop doing right now
A group of senior doctors has released a list of 40 procedures it considers to have little or
no benefit. Could we apply similar thinking to everyday life?
Stuart Heritage
Monday 24 October 2016 18.44BST

f youve ever washed out a wound with saline instead of tap water or requested an
x-ray for lower-back pain, youre a fool. According to a list drawn up by the Academy
of Medical Royal Colleges, both practices are pointless; doctors only go along with
them because theyre terried that you will turn on them if they dont. The list of
useless procedures runs to 40 items, covering everything from wrist fractures to
palliative chemotherapy, and has been released in the hope that medical professionals
will eventually reconsider using the treatments.
But medicine isnt the only area where were coerced into taking action unnecessarily.
Here are 40 more things you shouldnt bother doing.

1 Eating five portions of fruit and vegetables a day

The British government advises that we each eat ve portions of fruit and vegetables a
day. In Denmark, its six. In Australia, its seven. In 2014, campaigners tried upping it to
10. Just eat some vegetables and be done with it.

2 Taking vitamin C supplements

If you feel a cold coming on, its pointless to reach for the vitamin C tablets. Study after
study has concluded that unless you live in a frozen wilderness, smoke an incredibly
large number of cigarettes or subject yourself to extreme physical stress on a regular
basis vitamin C wont do anything.

3 Flossing
In August, the British Dental Associations scientic adviser declared ossing to be
pointless, adding that all oss-based studies of the past 25 years have been of very low
quality. If youve never ossed your teeth, you were right all along. Go out there today
and ash the world that foul-smelling, grey-green smile of yours. Youve earned this.

4 Washing your jeans

The sensible thing to do with dirty clothes is to wash them. But the CEO of Levis has
advised that you should never do so with jeans, because washing them makes them look
bad. Instead, why not try rubbing o stains with a toothbrush, leaving them to air
outside and never having any friends because you smell of dirt and sweat?

5 Having a landline
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Dont floss, peel veg or wash your jeans: 40 things you can stop d...


No one calls your landline telephone. You never call anyones landline. No one will have
a landline at all 10 years from now. They exist purely to complicate the act of changing
your broadband provider.

6 Drinking eight glasses of water a day

You dont need to drink eight glasses of water a day. The gure rst appeared in a
recommended dietary allowance guide in the US 70 years ago, and it doesnt take into
consideration your age, your height, your weight or your activity level. Instead, just
drink until your wee is no longer dark. That means youre hydrated.

7-14 Overusing your fridge

Dont put tomatoes in your fridge, because it stops them tasting of anything. Dont put
potatoes in your fridge, because it will muck up their starch and make them taste funny.
Dont put bread in the fridge, because it will go stale faster. Dont put onions in the
fridge, because they need to be well ventilated. Dont put bananas in the fridge, because
theyre tropical fruits. Dont put avocado in the fridge, because they will never ripen.
Dont put ketchup in the fridge, because it doesnt need to be kept in the fridge. Dont
put eggs in the fridge, because I saw Stephen Fry say on TV once that he didnt, and he
seems like a man whos got his stu together.

15 Washing your hair every day

Nobody in the history of the world washed their hair as much as we do now. Daily
washing is thought to be unnecessary. Every couple of days is good, or less if your hair is
curly. Or never at all, if you want people to avoid you like the plague.

16 Taking a polling card with you to vote

Obviously, democracy is rigged and one vote never changes anything anyway. However,
if you do go out to vote, leave your polling card at home. In Britain, if youre on the
electoral register, you dont need it.

17 Peeling vegetables
Most of a vegetables insoluble bre is in its peel. Stop throwing away delicious bre, you

18 Owning more than 10 items of clothing

A Canadian pilot called Matt Souveny recently spent a year getting by on just one pair of
trousers, one pair of shorts, a shirt, two T-shirts, a sweatshirt, trainers, boots and a belt.
This proved that people own too many clothes, or something. Anyway, look, you should
do it.

19 Communicating with words

Still using words? Please. Emoji is now the fastest-growing language in history, thanks to
its ability to bypass international barriers. Whichever way you look at it, thats pretty
smileyface smileyface thumbs-up dancing-lady smileyface.

20 Pressing the close door button in a lift

As tempting as it is to hammer the close door button in a lift when you see your
arch-enemy approaching, theres no point. Its most likely a placebo button, designed to
give you the illusion of control and stop you remembering that youre in a metal box

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dangling from a wire 45 metres in the air.

21 Ordering anything in the top-right-hand corner of a menu

Menu design is a skill rooted in complex psychology. Knowing that your eye will
naturally fall on the top-right corner of the menu, this is where restaurateurs often place
their most protable items. Why not help run these crooks out of business by ordering
from the bottom of the menu, where youll nd items with smaller margins?

22 Discarding out-of-date food

When food reaches its sell-by date, that doesnt mean it suddenly becomes poisonous it
means that the supermarket has guessed this stock should be rotated. Unless it smells
terrible or is covered in mould, youre probably ne.

23 Playing the lottery

Youre far more likely to be struck by lightning twice than to win the UKs Lotto draw.
Just give up and accept your miserable fate.

24 Taking toothpaste on holiday

If you must buy toothpaste (see 30-34), stop wasting your luggage allowance on it. There
are shops where youre going. Buy toothpaste there.

25 Napping
Last month, a doctor from the University of Tokyo claimed that regular, hour-long,
daytime naps can boost the risk of type 2 diabetes by up to 45%. So, basically, its been
nice knowing you. (That said, many studies have extolled the benets of a quick

26 Pressing C on a calculator multiple times

Its called the clear button, not the incremental clear button. Stop bludgeoning it every
time you nish doing a sum.

27 Buying antivirus software

Earlier this year, the US Department of Homeland Securitys computer-emergency
readiness team issued a warning about a popular brand of antivirus software after
nding that it contained critical vulnerabilities. Most browsers now have contentverication systems that do the job better.

28 Stretching before exercise

Its unlikely to improve performance or minimise injury. All it does is make you look like
a bendy, Lycra berk.

29 Standing in line at the departure gate at the airport

You have a ticket with a designated seat and aeroplanes are uncomfortable. It wont take
o without you. Calm down.

30-34 Buying expensive products

Why buy air freshener when you can just ll an orange peel with salt? Why use rinse aid
in a dishwasher when you can just use white vinegar? Why buy laundry detergent when
you can just grate some soap and put it in a jar with washing soda? Why buy deodorant

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Dont floss, peel veg or wash your jeans: 40 things you can stop d...


when you can just rub coconut oil and baking powder on your armpits? Why buy
toothpaste when you can basically wipe your homemade deodorant on your teeth?

35 Filing a tax return

If you owe less than 3,000 in tax, its often unnecessary to ll in a self-assessment
sheet. Just ring HMRC and settle up over the phone instead.

36 Visiting a travel agent

Use the internet like everyone else.

37 Learning to drive
The driverless car revolution is only a few years away. You can get the bus until then.

38 Learning how to tell the time on analog clocks

Hey, Siri, what time is it? Also, why did I waste so much of my childhood working out
how dials work?

39 Maintaining a CD collection
CDs are expensive and bulky. I have no idea why Im moving house with all of mine.
Youre right, Ill just bin them.

40 Reading the news

According to Professor Graham Davey, consuming a non-stop torrent of negative news
stories can signicantly contribute to the deterioration of your mood, and to the
development of depression, anxiety, stress and PTSD. This article does not count as
negative news and has therefore saved your life. Please thank me accordingly.

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