Common Holiday Myths Debunked

1. Poinsettias are toxic.

For years parents and pet owners have feared having this holiday plant around due to a belief that it is highly poisonous. However, there has not been anyone any hospitalized from eating the plant and even in animal trials the mice didn’t die even after eating between 14 to 30 leaves. While the plant is not poisonous and does not cause death or serious injury, it will cause a stomach ache and perhaps vomiting in extreme cases.

2. That we lose 50 percent of our body heat through her head.

This old wives’ tale has been around for a long time but when you think about it, it doesn’t make much sense. Scientists state that it’s much more likely that we lose about 10 percent of our body heat through her head. Because the exposed surface area of the average human head is about 10% in relation to the rest of the body. Therefore, the amount of heat lost is proportional to the surface area of the exposed body part to the rest of the body.

3. Turkey was served at the first Thanksgiving

While it is true that there were plenty of wild turkeys in the New England area during the time of the first Thanksgiving historians say it’s much more likely that venison was served at the first Thanksgiving. The modern meal was not popularized until Josephine hail the editor of a popular women’s magazine Godey’s Lady’s Book featured it in her publication in the mid-1800’s.

4. Suicides greatly increase during the holidays / winter

While the holidays can be emotionally straining for a lot of people, there is no research to back up the myth that suicides increase during the holiday seasons. On the contrary, there is plenty of scientific evidence that points to there being a spike in suicide during the summer months. This is particularly true for adolescents going on summer break most likely because they have lost a school-based support system.

5. The tryptophan in Turkey is what causes sleepiness after the holiday meal.

There is tryptophan in Turkey which the body does turn into serotonin that later becomes melatonin that does of course you to feel tired. However, there is not enough tryptophan in Turkey to produce enough serotonin to be the sole culprit of the holiday coma. Not to mention there are plenty of other meats that we regularly eat in abundance such as chicken that have just as much if not more tryptophan in them. It’s more than likely the outrageous amounts of carbs and second helpings are the causes for post-holiday stupor.

6. You gained a huge amount of weight during the holidays.

Most people assume because of all the piles of turkey and side dishes to that you’re down to gain a massive amount of weight during the holiday season. However, studies have proven that people gain only 1-2 pounds on average during the holiday season. In truth, it’s your everyday eating habits that have a much greater effect on your body weight.