3A Spoonful of Sugar Cures the Hiccups
Hiccups are the mother of half of the world's folk remedies. History has suggested everything from holding your breath to putting a plastic bag over your head to cure hiccups (the latter presumably through death), but many of you probably best remember Mom's old placebo cure: a spoonful of sugar. It won't really do anything, but the kid will probably forget all about his hiccups once he's bouncing off the walls, right?
"Yeah, you just stay your ass outside for an hour or two."
But Science Says ...
Actually, the New England Journal of Medicine published a study by Dr. Edgar Engelman touting ordinary white granulated sugar as a cure for the hiccups way back in 1971. So there's a chance that our moms were just really well-versed in the medical literature.
"And the red square represents why you are genetically predisposed to cystic fibrosis."
What Engelman found was that a spoonful of sugar immediately cured the hiccups in 19 out of 20 patients. That may not sound like much, until you find out that some of those patients had the hiccups for more than six hours, while others had been suffering from them for weeks. Presumably Engelman's clientele consisted mainly of stereotypical cartoon drunks.
But why does it work? The most likely explanation is that the sudden influx of sweetness overstimulates the vagus nerve (the nerve that connects your brain to your abdomen), effectively distracting it from the task it was previously focusing on, which in this case is jackhammering your diaphragm. The old "scare the crap out of the kid" tactic can sometimes work on this same distraction principle, although sugar is the preferred method of moms who don't keep a ready stash of clean underwear on hand.
"Hiccup again, motherfucker! I'm daring you to hiccup one more goddamn time!"
2The Crust Is the Most Nutritious Part of the Bread
Kids seem to have a natural aversion to that gross brown part on the outside of bread, while moms have a natural aversion to the pain in the ass of having to trim sandwiches every day. So generations of mothers have told their children that the crust is the most nutritious part of the bread. It gets moms out of a pointless task and simultaneously teaches kids that little white lies are an effective means of getting out of unnecessary work.
"I'm ... uhhh ... on my period. Yeah. Totally perioding it up, sorry."
But Science Says ...
A group of German researchers led by Dr. Thomas Hofmann decided to get to the bottom of this by studying the chemical makeup of bread crust versus the rest of the loaf. And their research only proved that their mommies were right all along.
How is this possible, considering that both parts of the bread are made from the exact same stuff? It's because when it's baked, bread undergoes a process called the Maillard reaction, which is what gives it a crust (it's the same thing that gives meat and even beer that distinctive brown color). Besides giving the bread much of its flavor, studies have shown that this reaction produces antioxidant compounds that act as Batman to your body's Gotham City, stalking and then beating its degenerate citizens (cancer cells) into an acquiescent pulp.
Or a posse of vigilantes unleashed upon the horse-thieving cancers of your body.
When Hofmann and company scienced their bag lunches, they discovered that the bread contained a specific antioxidant called pronyl-lysine -- a compound that further study showed was the most important component in bread for leveling up your body's cancer prevention points (CPP). And here's the kicker: This compound was eight times more abundant in the crust than in the rest of the bread. And stuffing is even better, since it involves breaking the bread into smaller pieces, giving it more surface area to brown.
So consider this an official endorsement from Cracked to take a double serving of crusty bread and turkey stuffing next Thanksgiving. Or, at the very least, to cherish your kids' faces when they find nothing but bread crust in their sandwich box.
"So, legally, what can they actually do to us if we ... 'retaliate'?"