You may have heard the myth that eating carrots is good for your vision. Your parents may have even convinced you that you would have superpower-like night vision if you ate enough of the orange veggies. Oh, the things parents will tell kids to get them to eat their vegetables… The rumor started during World War II when the British government put out propaganda that credited the orange veggie with giving British soldiers powerful enough vision to shoot down enemy German planes. It went over pretty well with the masses. But was there even a shred of truth to the claim?


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The answer is yes, carrots are connected to vision, but not in a way that will give normal, healthy people super-powered eyes. Cue the scientific jargon: Carrots are packed with a nutrient called beta-carotene that your body converts into vitamin A, which is necessary for healthy eyesight. Beta-carotene goes through your blood stream to your retina where it is converted into a chemical called retinal which, through a complicated process, eventually results in vision. More carrots equals more beta-carotene equals more vitamin A equals better eyesight. Makes sense. Right? Wrong. Scientists explain that you only need a small amount of vitamin A to satisfy the need, and after that, extra vitamin A doesn’t do anything for your vision. Basically, the only people whose vision would benefit from eating carrots are people with severe vitamin A deficiency. These are generally malnourished people in developing countries. For a normal, healthy person with average to poor vision, sorry. You’re out of luck and should probably just make plans to see your eye doctor. In developing countries where many people do not receive adequate nutrition, vitamin A deficiency is a pretty common problem. This deficiency causes significant trouble with dark adaptation, or seeing at night. For these select people, eating large quantities of carrots may help them eventually reach normal levels of darkness adaptation. So why did people fall for this propaganda in the first place? The British Air Force was covering up for the fact that they had developed radar technology that helped them shoot down the Germans. They were just being shady and using carrots as a cover up. Bonus Fact: Eating too many carrots can turn your skin orange! Don’t worry, it’s not dangerous and it goes away when you stop eating them. But you may look like a weirdo oompa loompa for a while…

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