Boston (ChatterShmatter) – What do Santa Claus and hyperactive children, hangover cures, a rise in suicide rates or toxic plants we call poinsettias? According to recent studies they are all mythical.
Now it didn’t take a research team from Brigham & Womans to reveal the truth about jolly ole Saint Nick, but a research team from the University of Indiana did report on their findings around common holiday and wintertime health myths.
BMJ’s Christmas edition published online on December 18 reveals the findings of studies into six commonly held beliefs. The results showed one thing for that is not a myth, people are more willing to suspend disbelief and rational thought for the magical answer during the holidays.
In the case of hyperactivity amongst children, it is not necessarilly the sugar that induces the behavoir. While all parents point to this especially around the holidays. Twelve double blind controlled studies were held where some children were given sugar and others the parents were just told the children had sugar. In the end there was no evidence supporting the myth that sugar consumption resulted in hyperactivity.
Depression and anxiety are feelings we have all had throughout the holidays but are people more prone to suicide? Not necessarily, studies had shown no statistical increase in suicides during the holiday season over other times of the year.
Maybe instead of throwing yourself off the roof because you didn’t get little Johnny that Xbox he wanted you have a drink. No one would blame you but the next morning what will you reach for to cure the hangover that a night with old friend Jack Daniels caused? Asprin? Research shows cures like acetaminophen and asprin can actually create more problems for you rather than help. Stomach irritation and liver problems are two examples of common issues for those who have taken such medication to cure what ails them.
So you thinking of getting mom that poinsettia? Worried that your sister’s kid might eat some of the plant, maybe a lot of it, because at that age he puts everything in his mouth? Certainly you would back off the Christmas plant because you heard they were deadly if eaten. While doctors don’t recommend them to replace the Christmas goose they are not as deadly as the old wives tale suggests.
What about making sure your head is properly insulated as a means of staying warm in the cold? The truth is your head is no different from the rest of your body!
Everyone gains weight during the holidays. It is a fact, or at least that is what I tell myself. Want to beat the trend? Research shows that holiday food is no different than at all other times during the year. If you do not want that holiday spare tire don’t consume more than your daily caloric intake and you will be fine. And what about late night snacking? Research has shown the calories consumed later in the night are just that a snack in addition to your three regular meals!
So this holiday season go ahead let the kids have sugar, they will be hyperactive anyway, have the drink you wanted just make sure you don’t reach for the Tylenol and please leave the cookies and milk for the fat guy in the red suit, unless that is you.