One Carrot Won't Change Your Eyesight and Other Health Myths Debunked
Remember when you were little and the only way in HELL you were going to eat vegetables was if your parents either a) disguised them so that they did not look or taste like vegetables, b) threatened to punish you, or c) told you all the many ways they were good for you and how they were basically going to turn you into a super human? Well, that’s not always the case. Not that mom and dad were wrong, but the truth has been stretched out (and in some cases completely falsified) over time.
During World War II, the UK Ministry of Food asserted that the British Air Force was able to gun down German aircraft in the dead of night because they ate carrots. This campaign urged people to eat carrots so that they too could have brilliant eyesight, even at night! Well, it was later discovered that the British Royal Air Force used the beta-carotene rich veggie to cover up their newly developed radar technology so the Germans wouldn’t find out.
So, are carrots good for our eyes us, or what? The answer is yes, but one would have to eat A LOT of carrots to improve night vision. A study (whose control group was pregnant women with night blindness) found that a regular diet of cooked carrots for six weeks straight helped these women respond better in darkness.
However, if you already have bad eyesight, going on a carrot bender won’t do your eyes any good. According to Scientific American, “Once you have enough beta-carotene in your body it often will no longer convert to vitamin A.” So, go ahead and snack on some baby carrots, but don’t expect natural Lasik surgery.
Here are 10 more debunked health myths to snack on:
1. Cold weather won’t make you sick
In fact, cold weather may actually stimulate your immune system, according to a study by the Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine. So when your grandma tells you to put a sweater on so you don’t catch cold, you should just politely tell her that’s not scientifically plausible (but thank her for the concern).
2. You don’t lose most of your body heat through your head
In 6th grade camp, our counselors instructed us to ALWAYS wear our hats if we were ever stranded in the wilderness, because if all our body heat escapes through our head, we will get hypothermia and die. That’s just not true, according to Dr. Aaron E. Carroll and Dr. Rachel C. Vreeman, authors of “Don’t Swallow Your Gum! Myths, Half-Truths and Outright Lies About Your Body and Health.” You can lose body heat via hand, food, knee, thigh, wherever.
3. Sugar doesn’t make all children hyper
At least 12 different studies have shown that sugar doesn’t affect behavior across the board with kids—that it’s just a placebo effect. In a particular study, parents who were told that their kids consumed a sugary beverage, were more likely to report behavioral issues, even though their kids were really given a sugar-free drink.
4. Calories consumed at night are not more damaging than the ones consumed during the day
Calories are calories, according to Eating Well magazine. It doesn’t matter when you eat them. However, if you ate breakfast, lunch, dinner, and THEN snacked on a huge plate of nachos at midnight, then you might feel kind of icky in the morning. But that’s just overeating which has nothing to do with time of day or night.
5. Sprouted potatoes don’t have to be thrown away
I was always told that whenever I see a tiny spud starting to grow from a potato, I should get rid of it because that’s a sign the potato has gone bad. However, if the potato spud is in its early stages of spudness, you don’t have to worry about it.“If the sprouts are small white buds, peel them out and you won’t notice any taste loss,” Lea Jepson, produce category director for Walmart, told Woman’s Day.
6. Iceberg lettuce isn’t just made of water
Iceberg isn’t exactly the super food of the veggie world, but it’s not like eating notebook paper, either. Although it’s not the as super-powered as say, kale, iceberg lettuce does contain vitamins A, C, K, and B6.
7. Spinach won’t give you super-powers
Oh, Popeye, you gossip girl. Spinach doesn’t magically make your muscles grow, nor does it contain insane amounts of iron. It’s believed that the iron content of spinach was simply miscalculated by a German chemist when he misplaced a decimal point. There are only 3.5 milligrams of iron in a 100g serving of spinach, but it accidentally became 35 milligrams (or so the story goes). Sure spinach is good for you, but it’s not made of magic. According to Dr. Philip Kern, M.D., of University of Arkansas’s Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism, spinach has about the same iron content as other green veggies and it also contains oxalic acid which prevents iron absorption.