December 18, 2008

Holiday Myths Busted

For every holiday ailment - extra pounds, hangovers, late night sweets - there is a remedy offered. Many of these remedies, like aspirin or coffee for hangovers, are some of the common myths two researchers set out to prove false.

The authors of the study, Rachel Vreeman and Aaron Carroll, looked at the data to find out if the myths had any validity.

"In the pursuit of scientific truth, even widely held medical beliefs require examination or re-examination," Rachel Vreeman and Aaron Carroll of the Indiana University School of Medicine wrote in the British Medical Journal.

"The holiday season presents a further opportunity to probe medical beliefs recounted during this time of year," she added.

The pair looked into prior scientific examinations for confirmation to hold up or disprove common beliefs like that poinsettia plants are poisonous. Have no fear, they aren't.

A lot of parents fear that sugar from sweets, chocolates and cookies makes children hyper, but research indicates that this is not true. Instead, the effect is in the parents' minds, the researchers state.

"Regardless of what parents might believe, however, sugar is not to blame for out-of-control little ones," the researchers announced.

People worry that the holidays cause weight gain after heavy holiday meals. However, having a late meal or snack is not an issue in gaining weight, say the study.

Another falsehood is the idea that body heat flees out of the head, thinking that woolen hats are vital when chilly weather starts, they added.

"If this were true, humans would be just as cold if they went without trousers as if they went without a hat," they said. "But this patently is not the case."

For the party goers certain they have the perfect hangover cure, researchers insist that moderation is the only preventative to take when trying to avoid the nausea and headache the next day.

"From aspirin to bananas to Vegemite and water, Internet searches present seemingly endless options for preventing or treating alcohol hangovers," they wrote.

"No scientific evidence, however, supports any cure or effective prevention for alcohol hangovers."

So, have a good time this holiday season! Remember- a late night cookie won't kill your diet.


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