Carrots Do Not Improve Eyesight

October 17, 2011 at 2:00 am 15 comments

By Chad Upton | Editor

Like many kids, I didn’t like vegetables — especially carrots and broccoli. Adults frequently told me that carrots would improve my eyesight, so that seemed like a good reason to try liking them.

There was one person who didn’t tell me this, he actually told me the opposite. My grand father overheard somebody tell me that carrots would improve my eyesight and he let me in on a little secret — it was all a big lie. Carrots do not improve your eyesight.

Sure, carrots and many other foods do contain beta-carotene, which metabolizes into Vitamin A and everyone agrees that is essential for maintaining eye health, but it does not improve it. If you are not consuming enough vitamin A, any number of sources could help restore your vitamin A supply. Carrots themselves are not unique or magical in this way. In fact, carrots have less beta-carotene per 200 calorie serving than red peppers, kale and lettuce.

If lettuce, kale and red pepper have more beta-carotene than carrots, why do carrots get all the eyesight credit?

During World War II, the British were particularly good at shooting down Nazi bombers at night, when it’s almost impossible to see other planes. It was as if they had super-human sight, and they did. They had radar.

Once news stories started to circulate about these pilots with seemingly super-human eyes, the government needed a good explanation to prevent the Germans from learning about this technology. Carrots.

Flight Lieutenant John Cunningham, nicknamed “Cats Eyes” for his incredible ability to shoot down enemy planes, had a natural love for carrots. The story wrote itself and they explained that they were feeding other pilots a lot of carrots to improve their eyesight too.

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Sources: duke healthsnopes, self.com

Entry filed under: Demystified, Despite Popular Belief, Food and Drink. Tags: , , , , , , , , , .

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15 Comments Add your own

  • 1. ritchieinfo  |  October 17, 2011 at 11:26 pm

    Thanks for this info Chad! Me too was taught the same. I love carrots naturally like “John Cunningham”. So i am not upset ;)

    Reply
  • 2. Kevin Jackson  |  October 18, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    However when they are made with a roast, hard to “see” how any other vegetable could taste so good

    Reply
  • 3. veeyah19  |  October 22, 2011 at 11:58 pm

    Hahaha! I’ve always eaten carrots, but I also knew they didn’t improve my eyesight. Now, I’m wearing glasses. ;)

    Reply
  • 4. Sandi  |  October 29, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    Bwahaha, I always believed the old wives tale about carrots improving your eyesight, especially your night vision. Guess I was fooled. Still, they taste good, so I’m going to keep “maintaining” my eyesight. A balanced diet with lots of fruit and veg is probably one of the best things I can do for my eyesight, but the most important thing is not to become reliant on glasses or contacts, and to exercise the eyes. Thanks for the story about John Cunningham. LOL

    Reply
  • 5. lzw  |  November 6, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    It was also during the time the British had captured two Enigma Machines and broke the codes. Like you wrote the “carrot” story was to explain the success of British pilots shooting down so many German planes. So many German missions were being successfully counter-attacked by the British that the German’s thought that their Enigma codes were being compromised. The Britsish new this and so loudly broadcasted their “carrot” story on BBC nightly. Yes, The BBC was used by British intelligence in many ways. But that is another story… Deciphering the Enigma codes was the turning point of WWII. Thanks for the story.

    Reply
  • 6. Denise  |  January 16, 2012 at 11:17 am

    I really like your article Chad yet I agree and disagree at the same time. No, eating carrots in themselves will not get back your 20/20 vision, but certainly sticking with a healthy diet including carrots and other fruits and vegetables (preferably raw) will make a huge difference in your eyesight and overall health. I think these days we disregard “live organic” foods in exchange for easy less expensive “fast” foods and there lies the problem of bad overall health….and yes…this includes eyesight!

    Reply
  • 7. Dan the Man  |  February 27, 2012 at 10:13 am

    Interesting. I can’ say I would be surprised if this story is true. Afterall the entire war was funded on both sides by extremely wealthy families. To learn that the Masonic Occult Nazis always ran this world and communicate with Sigils and symbols means I am now very skeptical about the obviously controlled media. For example the BBC is a well known propaganda machine for the private government. In this vid they WANT us to believe that boiled down carrots are healthier than raw for heavens sake!!! Iam not kidding you. Look:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7998801.stm

    Reply
  • […] by evenz to todayilearned [link] [19 […]

    Reply
  • 9. Barbrady  |  June 7, 2013 at 2:51 am

    Nice story… but John Cunningham with “his incredible ability to shoot down enemy planes” ?
    He’s got 19 victories against enemy aircrafts, a rather mediocre number when compared to others….

    Reply
  • 10. Qwert Yuiop  |  June 7, 2013 at 3:19 am

    I do not carrot all for vegetables. They are the root of many problems.

    Reply
  • 11. Patrick  |  June 7, 2013 at 4:40 am

    I’m sure the you’re right that this was a propaganda campaign, but there’s truth in it too. Carrots provide beta-caratene which (after several chemical changes) provides rhodopsin. This is the key chemical which allows the rods (low-light sensing receptors) in our eyes to function correctly. See here:

    http://www.chm.bris.ac.uk/webprojects2003/rogers/998/Rhoeye.htm

    So whilst it may have been an excellent way to throw The Hun off the scent of radar, it is nonetheless true that carrots improve your eyesight in low light conditions!

    Reply
  • 12. John  |  June 7, 2013 at 4:57 am

    Source?

    Reply
  • 13. Carrots Do Not Improve Eyesight « Soiled Hands  |  June 7, 2013 at 6:28 am

    […] http://www.brokensecrets.com by Chad […]

    Reply
  • […] Source, Broken Secrets: http://brokensecrets.com/2011/10/17/c… […]

    Reply
  • 15. 50 Fascinating Facts We Learned From the Internet |  |  November 26, 2013 at 2:59 am

    […] of vitamin A, which is good for eyesight, but the link between carrots and good vision actually stems from a lie told by the British Army during World War II. The Brits didn’t want anyone to know why they […]

    Reply

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