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  • You heard it over and over again from your mom.

  • eat your carrots, theyll help you see better!”

  • Well get ready to throw it back in mom’s face,

  • with science!

  • (reactions theme)

  • Actually before we get to the science,

  • let’s have a history lesson.

  • During world war two, british pilots

  • had this fancy new top-secret system for

  • spotting enemy planes calledradar”.

  • No not that radar. Look it up, kids.

  • Our chemist friend chad jones

  • picks up the story from here:

  • this fancy new radar system gave pilots

  • a huge advantage over their enemy.

  • To keep this advantage a secret the

  • british royal air force started a rumor

  • that their pilots ate lots of carrots to

  • help them see the enemy better at night.”

  • Of course it wasn’t the carrots, it was

  • just the radar, but the rumor actually stuck,

  • and it still circulates to this day.

  • And the funny thing is, there’s

  • actually a bit of truth to it.

  • Carrots have in them a chemical compound

  • called beta carotene

  • (andno, it’s not named after carrots).

  • When you eat foods with beta carotene,

  • your body converts it into vitamin A.

  • And that vitamin A gets turned into retinol.

  • Now retinal is found in your eyes

  • inside vision cells called "rods".

  • At the very tip of the cell you'll find

  • retinal wrapped inside of a protein.

  • That protein is twisted and compact

  • a little bit like this ball of yarn...

  • And retinal sits comfortably inside - like

  • a baby wrapped in a tight blanket. But, when

  • light shines on this happy, sleeping baby...

  • It stretches out from this form (called cis)

  • to this form (called trans).

  • This stretching unravels the protein,

  • starting a chain reaction that leads

  • down the rod cell, through the nerves,

  • and to the brain letting you know

  • it's not dark anymore.

  • And that’s how you see light.

  • So where does that leave our carrot myth?

  • Well, any food that has vitamin A will

  • be good for your overall eye health.

  • That’s carrots, lettuce, spinach, mangoes,

  • milk, cheese, cantaloupe and peas.

  • But if you already have a diet of vitamin A,

  • these foods won’t actually improve your vision.

  • So don’t forget your vitamin A,

  • but don’t count on getting rid of

  • your glasses any time soon just

  • because youre chomping on a carrot.

  • Big thanks to chad jones.

  • He hosts a great podcast called

  • the collapsed wave function,

  • well include a link in the description.

  • We talk a lot of food on Reactions.

  • Check out our video on the chemistry of pizza,

  • or find out why foods taste sweet.

  • Liked this video?

  • Well don’t forget to share it with your mom

  • and don’t forget to click subscribe button!

You heard it over and over again from your mom.

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B1 US vitamin retinal radar enemy protein carrot

Do Carrots Help You See Better? - Reactions

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    Eating posted on 2015/02/09
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