There are often times we consume and pass on absurd concepts as truths… just because mama says so. When actually, it just feeds powerful interests. But of course, we don’t really care to fact check because we’re humans and when we see wordy things, and headlines are good enough as an example. But I think it’s about time we differentiate between facts and fiction. So let’s start with 6 of these:
I’m pretty sure everyone, whether they love vegetables or not, has heard this from their parents. And I’ve even heard cases where in the event your eyes turned yellow due to over consumption of carrots, you’ll probably have x-ray vision. But the truth is rather hilarious.
During the 1940 Blitzkrieg, the Luftwaffe usually struck under the cover of darkness, and in order to make it more difficult for the Germans to hit targets, the Brits issued citywide blackouts. In addition to that, the Royal Air Force (RAF) were also able to repel the Germans because of their new secret radar technology. But in order to keep that a secret and throw the Germans off, the Brits told everyone that their pilots ate a lot of carrots, which allowed them to see better at night. So, it was carrots – and not their top secret epic radar technology. Though the ruse was meant to send the German tacticians on a wild goose chase, there was never any proof that they actually fell for it. But we know at least some of them did… because today, most of the world does.
P.S: To be fair, carrots are actually good for your eye health. It just doesn’t magically make you have perfect eyesight.
Source: Owl Turd Comix
You know that whole stereotype thingamajig.
If you’re wondering how this type of reductive categorisation takes hold in our culture, you can look at cigarettes. Turns out that for years, the tobacco industry was financially influencing studies relating to the idea of this binary personality system.
They needed to come up with a reason as to why people who smoked were more likely to get heart attacks but didn’t want to say “Ooops. Our bad”. So, they got the idea that some people are naturally on the verge of getting a heart attack anyway because they’re always on edge (i.e. type A people), that those people tend to use nicotine to feel more relaxed, hence smoking and heart attacks were just “coincidentally connected”. And they made sure to fund every study that pushed the 2 personality types thus ensuring the American public would accept it. Daaang!
In case you missed it, there was a huge flu outbreak in 1918-1919 which hit the whole world simultaneously. The virus was 25 times more lethal than previous outbreaks and about 100 million people worldwide died from it. The saddest part was that nobody wanted to report it because there was a world war happening and many decided that this was ‘discouraging news’.
However, Spain, being a neutral party during the world war was the first to report the massive numbers of death because… well, they figured that massive numbers of death was definitely a thing to report. And of course, because the world is such a great place, countries started reporting their casualties has having the ‘Spanish Flu’. Though we can’t exactly pinpoint the exact place it started, there are reports tracing the ‘Spanish Flu’ all the way back to Kansas 2 months before there was even a case in Spain.
You always think ‘tulips’ when you think about Dutch flowers and… it’s also often used as an example about the dangers of economic bubbles. Unfortunately, the wild stories about the economy collapsing, people being imprisoned for accidentally eating a tulip bulb and more… were actually made up by Calvinists – a once influential division of the Protestant church. Indeed, rare breeds of the flower did fetch a high price, but they were luxury items. If Tiffany & Co’s went bankrupt tomorrow, you probably wouldn’t call that an economic crisis, and nobody even went bankrupt when tulips fell out of fashion.
Basically, the Calvinists began circulating pamphlets talking about the dangers of the tulip crisis and the tales caught on. Why though? Well, they felt that rampant consumerism, as symbolised by the tulip industry, would lead the country away from God and turn the Netherlands into a den of ‘sin’. And… well…
When you think of vitamins, you’ll instantly think of it as a source for additional boost to your health, right? Sadly, decades of studies have proof that multivitamins are useless and can even be harmful. But of course, thanks to 2 hard-core lobbying groups who keep lobbying against any more studies done, the world will continue to think that multivitamins are great. Here, I’ll let Adam ruin it for you.
Ever since I was young, I remembered my father telling me that I should not eat candies that were sugar free since they used aspartame, which causes cancer. Y’know, since everything ‘artificial’ = cancerous. But I also received many chain emails from my dad about the dangerous of everyday household items, how cancerous onions are and all those other “Pass this to 10 people and save a life” type emails. I just never put two and two together; that him telling me aspartame is cancerous + his love for chain emails = FAKE NEWS. Sad.
Me to my dad.
The first artificial sweetener, saccharin, was discovered by Constantin Fahlberg in 1879 whilst working on coal-tar derivatives and, for some reason, licked an unknown substance off his body which he found tasted sweet. Saccharin was about 300 times sweeter but sadly it had an unpleasant metallic aftertaste, hence cyclamate came into the market and by 1968, Americans were consuming more than 17 million pounds of the calorie-free substance per annum.
In 1970, studies performed on lab rats found an association between high doses of saccharin and bladder cancer, but later on, further studies determine that it was due to a mechanism that is not relevant to humans, and hence, it was downgraded from Group 2b (possibly carcinogenic to humans) to Group 3 (not classifiable as to the carcinogenicity to humans). It’s also widely used by those who have diabetes today.
As for cyclamate, a recent study found that there was no way to link this substance to cancer and that the substance also did not show any DNA-damaging properties in DNA repair tests. However, even though it’s approved as a sweetener in at least 130 countries, it is still currently banned in the United States.
And finally, for aspartame, the FDA officials have described the substance as “one of the most thoroughly tested and studied food additives the agency has ever approved” and its safety as “clear cut”, but that it has been the subject of several controversies, hoaxes and health scares. Whilst the substance adversely affect some people – including those who are unable to metabolise the amino acid phenylalanine – it has also been tested more than 200 times with each test confirming that your Diet Coke is safe to drink.
The general consensus in the scientific community agree that artificial sweeteners like saccharin, aspartame and sucralose are harmless when consumed in moderation – as with everything else in the world. These low-calorie additives will also probably not make you any thinner or curb your appetite, but it’ll sure as hell help unsweetened food taste better without harming you. Sweeet.
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