'Do carrots help your eyesight?' - 13 popular food myths explained

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Every reluctant vegetable eater has probably asked themselves, "do carrots help your eyesight?"

Any parent knows that telling a carrot-averse toddler that they'll gain X-ray vision as soon as they eat an orange forkful is a great bargaining chip. However, the question remains over whether there's actually any truth to the rumours.

Do carrots help your eyesight?

To help shed some light on the various white lies we've told ourselves about our dinner, we've prepared a collection of famous foodie myths

We've brought together falsehoods from fast food, nutrition and cooking into a rogue's gallery of misinformation.

Read More: Is coffee actually bad for you?

Some of the results might be a little surprising, and some might leave you scratching your head. All of them, however, should help relieve some concerns you might have about your next meal.

Here are our 13 top food myths.

Do carrots really help your eyesight? Do carrots really help your eyesight? - Credit: Pexels

1. Fast food will save you money

While fast food may be cheaper than other restaurants, it is still hugely expensive when compared to what you can cook at home.

To feed a family of four on fast food will typically set you back about £20 - by buying the ingredients yourself you can prepare a healthier meal for a fraction of the price. Though still delicious, fast food should not be the refuge of the savvy home economist.

Fast food expensive Fast food is actually more expensive than you might think (Credit: Pixabay)

2. Fast food is worse than “proper” restaurants

It's easy to demonise chicken nuggets, but proper nutrition is much more complicated. According to a recent “Drexel” study, an average two-course meal at a typical “sit-down” restaurant will tip the scales at a whopping 1,500 calories - before you even consider dessert and drinks.

For the health-obsessed, it’s probably best to not leave the house under any circumstances.

restaurant food unhealthy Food in a restaurant can be just as unhealthy (Credit: Pixabay)

3. Flour never goes off

You might think that the bag of bread flour that’s been sitting in your cupboard for a few years is indestructible, but it’s actually more fragile than you might think.

Though it lasts a relatively long time, especially is sealed correctly in a cool, airtight container, flour can and will turn bad. The telltale signs are a rancid smell and the presence of “flour bugs”, which look like moth larvae.

Pile of flour Flour can and will go bad - Credit: Pixabay

4. Microwaves remove nutrients

Microwaves are so convenient that we all assume there must be something evil about them. However, from a health point of view, they are harmless.

In fact, because food cooked in the microwave is typically exposed to heat for a relatively short period of time, some have suggested that microwaving actually helps to retain nutrients.

microwaving Microwaves removing nutrients is one of the top food myths - Credit: Pexels

5. Well-done meat is safer

There’s a reason that sensible people shake their heads when someone orders their steak "well-done". Not only does it ruin the flavour and texture, but there is no evidence that cooking meat until it looks like shoe leather does anything extra to kill bacteria.

In fact, all that’s needed is to get the internal temperature to 145 F.

Do carrots help you see myth Rare steaks are just as safe - Credit: Pexels

6. Salt makes water boil faster

Though almost every chef under the sun seems to sprinkle salt liberally in their water before whacking up the heat, the only effect this will have is to add flavour.

In actual fact, salting water can actually increase the time it takes it to boil, thanks to a phenomenon known as boiling point elevation.

Noodles in boiling water Credit: Pixabay

7. Red liquid from meat is blood

The less carnivorous members of society might turn pale at the sight of red liquid oozing from a side of beef, but the reality is that there is nothing to fear.

The juice is actually myoglobin - a protein released when red meat is heated, and not nearly as blood-thirsty as the alternative.

Steak on a plate Credit: Pixabay

8. You can't reheat rice

Uncooked rice can be contaminated with a bacterium known as bacillus cereus, which can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. If the spores survive the cooking process, which itself is unusual, rice that is left for a substantial period of time at room temperature can help the remaining spores to multiply and cause illness.

However, with proper preparation, you can still enjoy old rice. Refrigerate within an hour and heat thoroughly throughout and all will be well.

Bowl of rice with a wooden spoon Credit: Pixabay

9. Do carrots help your eyesight

It might seem like sacrilege, but it's true. While carrots do contain high quantities of Vitamin A - essential in allowing the body synthesise the pigment that helps eyes to operate in low light - they cannot elevate the levels of this pigment to improve your night vision beyond that of a normal person.

This food myth was actually instigated by the British during World War Two to mislead Nazi generals about the night-visionary potential of Londoners during the Blitz.

do carrots help your eyesight? Do carrots help your eyesight? The answer is surprising - Credit: Pixabay

10. Dairy is best for bones

Everyone knows that calcium is key to healthy teeth and bones. Equally, most people know that milk and dairy products are great sources of calcium. However, they are not the only means of getting this essential nutrient into your body.

Dark leafy greens, such as spinach and kale are also great sources of calcium, as well as providing additional minerals such as Vitamin K - also key for bone health and conspicuously absent from dairy products. While dairy should not be disregarded, it is definitely not the sole solution.

top-down view of a pot of spinach Credit: Pixabay

11. Eight glasses a day

While it’s certainly true that we should look to stay hydrated throughout the day, the eight glasses “rule” is rubbish. The amount you should drink varies massively on your body’s metabolism, as well as your daily activity.

It’s also worth remembering that fruit, vegetable and other drinks also contain water, so will inadvertently help your body remain hydrated.  

water being poured into a glass Credit: Pexels

12. All alcohol is poison

The health benefits of a glass or two of red have been touted for a while by relieved dipsomaniacs everywhere. Wine possesses small quantities of antioxidants and is also capable of raising HDL (“good” cholesterol) levels in the body.

However, the latter property is not limited to wine. All alcohol, when consumed in moderation, can help reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke. If ever there was a reason to head to the off licence, this is it.

alcohol only being bad for you is one of the top food myths Credit: Pexels

13. Sharp knives are the most dangerous

For the acicularly averse, it’s easy to fall into the trap of trying for cut veg with what is, essentially, a big pointy spoon. This is, in fact, how most accidents happen.

Trying to force a blunt knife through tough ingredients is a common cause of kitchen injuries, as the blade can slip with pressure and injure the cook. Sharpening your knives will mean a lot less effort is required to cut.

sharp kitchen knives causing injury is one of the top food myths Credit: Pixabay

It can be difficult to force yourself out of bad habits. You might not even want to believe half the food myths on this list, but the truth is for your own good. At least now you can move on and stop living in the past.

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