The truth behind health myths - 01-31-2009, 03:58 PM
Myth #1: You lose most of your heat through your head.
This old wives' tale is one most of us have probably followed for years without question - heat rises, so it seems logical that it would leave via your head. Not according to Prof Vreeman, whose study shows that heat is lost equally from all parts of the body. The original myth is in fact based on research conducted by the US Army which showed that 45% of body heat is lost from the head, only problem was, they forgot to put hats on the soldiers while they were out in freezing temperatures so the heat left their bodies from the only place that was exposed to the cold. D'oh!
Myth #2: Taking aspirin cures a hangover.
A little too much alcohol and a late night: we've all been there, but apparently downing a litre of water and taking aspirin will do nothing to ward off the impending hangover, according to Vreeman's research.
Myth #3: Eating at night makes you fat.
This is a classic health myth, but again, another untrue one. Eating late at night might get your metabolism going and prevent you from sleeping, but it won't make you pile on the pounds. Prof Vreeman claims that it's not about when you eat, it's what you eat and how much of it.
Myth #4: Eating sugar gives you a rush.
A whopping 12 studies have been conducted on the effects of sugar, but all found no proof that the sweet stuff causes a rush or hyperactivity.
Myth #5: Depression increases over the festive season.
Winter might seem like a depressing time, but a 35-year-long US study has shown that there is no connection between people's mental wellbeing and the festive season.
Myth #6: Poinsettias are harmful to your health.
They are the pretty red-leafed plants that adorn our mantelpieces at Christmas, but contrary to popular belief they are not harmful to humans according to a study conducted by the American Association of Poison Control Centres.
Myth #7: We only use 10% of our brains.
Prof Vreeman debunked this myth in one of her earlier studies last year. She found that we actually use up to 60% of our brains, even while sleeping!
Myth #8: We need eight glasses of water a day.
This is true according to Vreeman, but the common misconception is that other drinks such as juice and milk count towards your daily fluid intake when in fact, they do not.
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