Holiday Health Myths, health myths

Less to Worry About This Year: Holiday Health Myths Debunked

December 23, 2009 05:00 PM
by Rachel Balik
A study published last year by the British Medical Journal found evidence disproving some popular holiday health myths.

Holiday Health Myths Untrue

Last year, pediatrics professors from the Indiana University School of Medicine collected available scientific research that disproved various holiday myths. For example, late-night Christmas cookie-eaters may have less to worry about: you won’t gain more weight if you eat before bed. According to a Swedish study found by the researchers, it’s the number of calories, not when you consume them, that affect weight gain.

Unfortunately, the researchers also discovered that there is no medical evidence supporting any hangover cures. In fact, some of the newer hangover cures sold in stores can be dangerous. The only tried-and-true method for avoiding hangovers is simply not to drink too much.

Poinsettias, on the other hand, are not dangerous. Although many people believe that the plant is toxic, this is largely untrue. Even in cases when children ate large amounts of the plant, they did not need medical treatment. The study also reports that children who eat large amounts of sugar won’t suffer, either—at least not from hyperactivity. The study found that double-blinded children who consumed sugar and those who didn’t exhibited the same behavior.
Contrary to the common belief that there are more suicides during the holiday season, the global suicide rate is actually at its lowest during the winter.

The final health myth debunked by the study is that you lose 40-45 percent of your body heat through your head. That statistic is actually included in a U.S Army manual, reports The Independent, but it is completely false. You lose body heat at an equivalent rate from any portion of exposed skin.

Background: Even physicians believe health myths

The researchers published a similar study last year investigating eight common health myths. These myths, including the necessity of drinking 8 glasses of water daily, eating turkey makes you sleepy and dim light ruins your eyesight, are all prevalent online. Many are even believed by doctors. However, despite ample anecdotes concerning these myths, there is no credible scientific evidence to support them.

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