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10 Surprisingly Believable Bits of Malarkey


Sugar Makes Kids Hyper

Can candy really make kids hyper? Maximilian Stock Ltd./Photographer's Choice/Getty Images
Can candy really make kids hyper? Maximilian Stock Ltd./Photographer's Choice/Getty Images


It flies in the face of generations of experiential evidence, but the fact remains: Controlled scientific studies have never been unable to uncover any proof that sugar causes hyperactivity in children [source: Sachs].

In fact, sugar consumption is tied to the release of serotonin in the brain, a chemical that produces a calming effect [source: Sachs].

Some parents are simply going to reject the findings against what they have seen with their very own eyes. And who can blame them? Just drop by a candy-laden birthday party and watch the truth in action.

Science's response: Birthday parties are exciting, and excitement can make kids hyper. The candy has nothing to do with it [source: Rothman].

Admittedly, in this case the malarkey may be too "surprisingly believable" to dismiss, no matter what science says. And that may not be a bad thing. The fear of hyperactivity can encourage parents to limit kids' sugar intake, an excess of which is detrimental to their (and everyone else's) health.

So, who knows. Maybe a little malarkey is all right.

For more information on these and other bits of malarkey, check out the links below.

Author's Note: 10 Surprisingly Believable Bits of Malarkey

In this article's first draft, entry 5 was not flu-related. Originally, that entry read "Tanning Beds are Safer than Sunlight," a topic I wanted to address due to the shocking amount of damage resulting from that particular misconception (fueled, of course, by the tanning industry).

But I changed it to a brief mention in the introduction for consistency's sake, since (in my opinion) that malarkey is not "surprisingly believable" at all. But it seems a wasted opportunity to leave it at that, so how about a few stats for good measure?

People who use tanning beds regularly are 50 to 100 percent more likely to develop skin cancer than those who don't [source: Robb-Nicholson]. This includes melanoma, one of the deadliest cancers out there. Those who have ever used a tanning bed are up to 15 percent more likely to develop melanoma, and that goes up to 75 percent when the first use is before the age of 35 [source: Skin Cancer Foundation].

Young women are doing the majority of the indoor tanning, so they're most at risk. If you know any tan-happy teens-to-20-somethings, you may want to pass along the statistics, especially this one: Roughly 10 to 20 percent of melanoma patients are dead within five years [source: Skin Cancer Foundation].

There. I've said it. Thanks for listening.

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  • Dobson, Roger. "Sausage dogs are the most aggressive dogs." The Telegraph UK. July 5, 2008. (Oct. 30, 2012)
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  • Kunin, Audrey. "The Ugly – and Deadly – Side of Tanning." Dr. Oz. (Oct. 30, 2012)
  • Lamont-Djite, Tara. "Oily Skin Myths Solved!" Beautylish. June 21, 2012. (Oct. 30, 2012)
  • Layton, Julia. "How Bottled Water Works." HowStuffWorks. (Oct. 30, 2012)
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  • Neighmond, Patti. "Think You're An Auditory or Visual Learner? Scientists Say It's Unlikely." NPR. Oct. 29, 2011. (Oct. 31, 2012)
  • Oz, Mehmet. "'Safe' Tanning Beds? Think Again." Dr. Oz. (Oct. 30, 2012)
  • Paturel, Amy. "6 High-Fat Foods That Are Good For You." SELF. Aug. 10, 2011. (Nov. 4, 2012)
  • "Reducing Fat Intake." Cleveland Clinic. (Nov. 8, 2012)
  • Ricciotti, Hope. "Heart Disease – Differences Between Men and Women." Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. (Nov. 4, 2012)
  • Riener, Cedar and Daniel Willingham. "The Myth of Learning Styles." Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning. Sept/Oct 2010. (Oct. 31, 2012)
  • Robb-Nicholson, Celeste. "By the way, doctor: Is a tanning bed safer than sunlight?" Harvard Women's Health Watch. Harvard Health Publications. Sept. 2009. (Oct. 30, 2012)
  • Rothman, Josh. "Surprise: Sugar Doesn't Make Kids Hyper." Boston Globe. Nov. 2, 2011. (Oct. 30, 2012)
  • Sachs, Jessica Snyder. "Sugar: Does It Really Make Kids Hyper?" Parenting. (Oct. 30, 2012)
  • Webb, Merryn Somerset. "Diamonds: don't buy into the illusion." Money Week. March 1, 2010. (Oct. 30, 2012)
  • "Worried about the flu shot? Here are myths, debunked." TODAY Health. Nov. 7, 2012. (Nov. 8, 2012)


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