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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.