The Neatest Little Paper Ever Read ®

Issue 974



by Janet Spencer

Come along with Tidbits as we clear up some facts and myths about the human body!


Q: Does sugar make kids hyperactive?

A: There have been no definitive studies proving this to be true, while a variety of studies have shown it to be false. What is true is that sugar is a readily available source of energy, and kids tend to be hyperactive at events where lots of sugar is served, such as birthday parties, Halloween, and Christmas. One double-blind survey showed that parents tended to claim their children were hyperactive when they were told the kids had just consumed large amounts of sugar, even though the children had not been given sugar, and in spite of the fact that their behavior had not substantially changed.

Q: Will listening to Mozart make babies smarter?

A: Listening to Mozart does soothe a baby somewhat, and learning to play a musical instrument will help develop the brain, but there is no evidence proving that Mozart makes babies smarter.

Q: Does shaving hair make it grow back darker?

A: No, but it will give each hair a blunter end after being shaved.

Q: Why does asparagus make pee smell funny?

A: Asparagus contains the sulfur compound called mercaptan which is also found in onions, garlic, rotten eggs, and skunks. Not everyone contains the specific enzyme responsible for breaking that enzyme down in the digestive tract, so about half of the population will have stinky urine after eating asparagus. Sometimes it shows up in urine as quickly as 15 to 30 minutes after consuming asparagus. Even Benjamin Franklin described the odor as “disagreeable” in his essay on flatulence called “Fart Proudly.”

Q: Do cucumbers make your eyes less puffy?

A: Not really, but cold water does, and cucumbers are mostly made of water, and they are usually pretty cold. A cold wet wash cloth would probably do just as well.

Q: Should you put a steak on a black eye?

A: The thought is that the steak provides coolness and a little pressure, aiding in preventing swelling, but doctors say that bacteria on the steak would make it a bad choice. Instead, just use an ice bag or a sack of frozen vegetables.


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