Last updated on April 20, 2014 at 13:20 EDT

Researchers debunk Christmas health myths

December 19, 2008

Two U.S. researchers debunk several holiday myths, such as sugar makes kids hyperactive, suicides increase during the holidays and poinsettias are toxic.

This holiday conventional wisdom is commonly accepted not only by the general public, but also by many physicians. However, the notions are unsupported by medical research, said Dr. Rachel Vreeman and Dr. Aaron Carroll of the Indiana University School of Medicine and the Regenstrief Institute in Indianapolis.

In at least 12 double-blinded, randomized, controlled trials, scientists have examined how children react to diets containing different levels of sugar, the researchers said in a statement. None of these studies, not even studies looking specifically at children with attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder, could detect any differences in behavior between the children who had sugar and those who did not.

The stresses of family get-togethers, loneliness, and the cold, dark winter months are commonly thought to increase the number of suicides at Yule time. However, studies conducted around the globe show suicides are actually more common during warm and sunny times of the year.

The largest study of poinsettia toxicity to date involved an analysis of 849,575 plant exposures reported to the American Association of Poison Control Centers. None of the 22,793 poinsettia cases revealed significant poisoning — no one died from poinsettia exposures or ingestions, and more than 96 percent did not even require treatment in a health care facility.

The findings are published in the British Medical Journal.

Source: upi