The Brits lied to us: carrots don’t let you see in the dark

carrots-nightsight-advert

When we were growing up back in the days, our parents or guardians usually claim if we eat lots of carrots, our eye sight would magically improve so much we could see in the dark. I thought this was true for a while, until I grew up and realized I can’t see for dear life in the dark without light. So where did this magic carrot lie came from you ask? The Brits, they are to blame for your disastrous carrot eating childhood.

The truth about carrots is that it contains high amounts of Vitamin A, this means eating a lot of the thing could increase the health of your eyes. However, not so much that you can see German airplanes in the dark of night and shoot them down. If carrots really helped with eyesight that much, then by Odin’s luscious long white beard, we as humans would never require a flashlight in the dark.

So, how did the Brits lie to us all to make us believe such madness? Well, apparently the British Royal Air Force got really good at shooting down Nazi airplanes in the dark back in World War 2. The Royal Air Force accomplished this feat by using a new radar system; they wanted to keep it a secret, so they based their success on eating carrots. Since then, carrots have been the poster boy for good eyesight, and even till this day many still believe in this myth.

The Royal Air Force was able to repel the German fighters in part because of the development of a new, secret radar technology. The on-board Airborne Interception Radar (AI), first used by the RAF in 1939, had the ability to pinpoint enemy bombers before they reached the English Channel. However, to keep that under wraps, according to Stolarczyk’s research pulled from the files of the Imperial War Museum, the Mass Observation Archive, and the UK National Archives, the Ministry provided another reason for their success: carrots.

Now you know the truth about carrots, that doesn’t mean it is time to stop eating it. This vegetable might not allow you to view things in the dark like Riddick, but it is good for the health of your eyes.

[via Smithonian]

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  • etim

    [@Ted] Please refrain from comments like this–you’ll just encourage ’em. Today it’s just carrots, tomorrow it’ll be those tasty Canadians.

  • jayesstee

    [@Seamus McSeamus] Rumour has it that Jagger did!

  • David Roper

    [@Ted] Ted, I enjoyed your movie, too. Say hello to Seth for me.

  • Ted

    Sometimes I come here just for a good laugh. You guys just break me up. Must be the funniest nerds on the planet.

    Keep it up!

  • Seamus McSeamus

    [@jayesstee] Sorry, not trusting a Brit again. I’ll bet Mick Jagger *could* get satisfaction, Clapton & Winwood had no trouble finding their way home, and there never was any anarchy in the UK.

  • jayesstee

    [@Seamus McSeamus] The message was for the (then) enemy, not the Yanks.  Of course, if the Yanks wanted to believe it . . . .

  • kevbo

    [@David Roper] LOL – that was my first thought too as I was reading the article. That’s the reasoning I used to get my kids to eat their carrots and salads when they were little.

    In any case, this seems like one of the most innocuous lies any government has told. I completely forgive Her Majesty’s Government for the disinformation campaign, and thank Her for helping me to get my kids to eat vegetables.

  • Ashraf

    [@OldMalden] I believe the point was carrots don’t help enough to help Brits shoot down German airplanes in the night :-P

  • OldMalden

    As we all learned in Biology (in the UK :-) ) – Carotene is pro-Vitamin A which becomes Vitamin A in the body as a retinyl group – helps the rods to develop and so see better in lower light – q.e.d. helps to see in the dark!! Even Wikipedia has a picture of carrots in the Vitamin A blurb! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitamin_A

    OldMalden

  • David Roper

    It *IS* true that Carrots improve eyesight.

    I have never seen a rabbit wearing glasses in my life.

    It HAS to be the carrots… what else?

  • RogueBase

    [@Seamus McSeamus]
    Well, there is the myth that the yanks beat us and won ownership of the US, but the truth was we were actually pretty happy to leave you to it. lol

  • etim

    The same was said about bilberry–that it improved night vision. They even gave pilots, etc. bilberry supplements to help keep radar a secret.

  • Seamus McSeamus

    Great. Now we have to rethink everything the Brits have told us. Was Isaac Newton peer reviewed?