4 medical myths debunked



March 31, 2021

From hangover cures to eating habits, we bust some common beliefs to help you and your family stay healthy ahead of the Easter holidays.

1. Sugar makes kids hyperactive

The kids are bouncing off the walls or tearing around the garden – but before you blame a dozen Easter eggs for their hyperactivity, know it’s probably not the sugar sending them crazy. While artificial colours, flavours and preservatives have all been shown to exacerbate hyperactive behaviour, research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association has revealed that sugar itself does not affect a child’s behaviour. A diet high in sugar is linked to other disorders – such as obesity and tooth decay – just not hyperactivity on the egg hunt.

2. Eating at night doesn’t make you fat

According to University of Pennsylvania research, when people ate between noon and 11pm – compared with people who ate between 8am and 7pm – not only did their weight increase, but so did their levels of insulin, glucose and cholesterol. Research from the Physiological Society also found that eating at night is linked to higher risk of heart disease and diabetes.

3. Hair of the dog will cure a hangover

It’s commonly thought that an alcoholic beverage consumed the next day (also known as the hair of the dog) can cure a hangover. The myth has existed literally for centuries, first appearing in print in 1546. However, there’s actually no scientific evidence to support this notion. While a drink the next day may delay the inevitable hangover, it won’t cure it. Only rest, hydration and time can do that.

4. Ice is good for burns

If you burn yourself on the barbecue or oven, St John advises that once the heat source has been removed, you need to cool the affected area for up to 20 minutes using cool running water from a tap or shower. In the absence of water, any cool, clean fluid (beer or soft drink, for example) can be used. Do not use ice or iced water because the extreme cold may cause constriction of the blood vessels and can worsen injury by reducing blood supply. Butter, ointments, oil and creams also shouldn’t be used as they may retain heat and worsen injury.

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