World's ‘greatest food myth’: carrots for night-vision
Are you among those who vouch for grandma’s rule eating carrots to boost night vision? Well, then you certainly need a reality check, for an eye specialist has called it the “greatest food myth”.health and fitness Updated: Mar 24, 2009 12:56 IST
Are you among those who vouch for grandma’s rule eating carrots to boost night vision? Well, then you certainly need a reality check, for an eye specialist has called it the “greatest food myth”.
Paul Beaumont has said that eating carrots does more harm to you than good, as beta carotene rich food can actually increase the risk of blindness.
Beaumont, who has been studying human retinas since 1976, has said that the carrot myth, started in World War II, is a "complete fabrication".
"When the English ... were flying at night they used radar but the Germans didn''t know that radar existed," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Beaumont as saying from his Sydney clinic.
He added: "The English certainly didn''t want them to know so they put out a myth saying they were feeding their pilots carrots to improve their night vision and that''s why they could fly and see things at night. I think that is the greatest food myth".
Beaumont is the director of the Macular Degeneration (MD) Foundation, which has just released a cookbook, Eating for Eye Health - outlining the connection between what we eat and our eyesight.
He said: "If you don''t eat fish, don''t eat nuts and have a whole lot of bad fats you are likely to get MD. If we could have everyone who is at risk of macular degeneration basically eat food from the cookbook then we would not have an epidemic of this disease."
The cookbook, compiled by chef Vanessa Jones and Australian icon Ita Buttrose, both of whom have MD in their family, is laden with recipes full of lutein-rich food like spinach, corn and egg yolks.
Beaumont said that the lutein helps protect the eye from sight-damaging light that causes MD and blindness.
On the other hand, foods rich in beta-carotene - like carrots - can damage the eye''s protective shield, doubling a person’s risk of contracting the disease.