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Holiday Health Myths

Holiday Health Myths

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There are six things even doctors accept as common knowledge, some of which we hear during the holidays. But it turns out, they're not true.

Myth #1: Sugar makes kids hyperactive
In at least 12 well-controlled clinical trials, researchers found no differences in behavior between kids who ate sugar and those who did not, even among children diagnosed with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). You may think your kids are wound up, but it's not the sugar. Myth #2: Suicides increase over the holidays
The holidays can be stressful, and the dark cold winter months are often thought to increase suicides, but they're actually more common during warm and sunny times of the year. Suicidal thoughts should be taken seriously at all times.

Myth #3: Poinsettias are toxic
In a study of nearly 23,000 poinsettia exposures or ingestions reported to poison control centers: not one fatality. Also, more than 96 percent did not even need treatment in a health care facility.

Myth #4: You can cure a hangover with nothing
There's no scientific evidence supporting any cure. A hangover is caused by drinking too much alcohol. The best way to avoid one is to drink only in moderation or not at all.

Myth #5: Eating at night makes you fat
People gain weight because they take in more calories than they burn up, regardless of when they eat them.

Myth #6: You lose most of your body heat through your head
This one is a favorite of moms around the world, but there's no science to back it up. Any uncovered part of the body loses heat and will drop the core body temperature.

That last myth comes from an old military study. The volunteers were dressed in arctic survival suits without hats; so yes, they lost most of their body heat through their heads. But if you repeat the experiment in bathing suits, no more than 10 percent body heat would be lost through the head.


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Dr. Kim Mulvihill


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