Answer by Bart Loews:

The tricky thing with some of these things is that there often isn't one true cause, it could be any number of things. 

The study you read was probably pointing out the fact that most of the content of sweat is water and not electrolytes.

As it relates to cramping, they may have determined that (not SALT loss) but electrolyte loss may not be the sole cause of it. In reality, a lack of electrolytes can cause some muscle spasms, and it's not a bad thing to make sure you have enough electrolytes. Electrolyte Imbalance, Muscle Spasms, Cramps, and Charley Horse: Causes and Treatments.  Calcium and potassium are electrolytes just like sodium (sodium is not necessarily salt).

The other crazy part about this is that sport drinks that claim electrolytes now-a-days don't have much in the way of electrolytes and more in the way of sugar.  They do have a lot of sodium, but they also have potassium and chloride, other electrolytes.  You're better off generally just drinking water and getting your electrolytes in balance before you perform.

It's funny that you'd ask this question when it's not entirely true. Electrolyte imbalance CAN cause cramps, but it's obviously not the only cause. Heat cramps ARE best treated with saline drips, rest and stretching. [Ways To Stop Muscle Cramps And What Really Causes Muscle Cramps? This article in particular highlights most of what I'm talking about] [The role of sodium in 'heat cramping'.]

The biggest exercise "general ignorance" I can think of is an example of this:

That your body is a simple machine that works like a mechanical machine.  The truth is the body is extremely complicated and each input can do different things. Your body grows and adapts to the stimulus you provide it. Most of the exercise fads and diet fads you read about make a lot of sense on paper but don't stand up to rigor. 

If you feed your body a particular way: say you give it testosterone injections. Your body realizes it's getting more testosterone than it thinks it needs. Your testes shrink and stop making it naturally. You've become dependent on the drug.  In other cases, your body becomes accustomed to the drug and it becomes less effective, like with caffeine. 

With any health study you need to understand what is being reported, not just the headline. Understand the methodology and understand how the methodology could fail.  When they say that "this doesn't do this", they usually don't take a microscope and see what's actually happening, they apply the stimulus to an experimental group and see if it works. If it does, winner! If not, try something else. 

On a lighter note:

  • You lose 90% of your warmth through your head
  • You only use 10% of your brain
  • Sit ups are good for you
  • You need to take something to "detoxify" your body
  • You can exercise your face
  • Steady state cardio is all you need
  • 7 minutes is all you need to get ripped
  • HIIT is the only thing anyone needs.
  • You will get taller by playing basketball (correlation-causation issues)
  • There is only one exercise you need to do

I read this week that the theory that salt loss during exercise as a cause of cramping has been debunked. What are some other examples of…