5 Insane Myths Your Grandma Told You (Science Says Are True)

#2. Eating Bananas While Pregnant Means You'll Have a Boy

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The Myth:

If you're expecting a baby, it's likely that your mother has descended upon you like a hawk on a squirrel spouting centuries-old handed-down mother knowledge about how to keep that baby healthy, how to tell if it'll be a boy or a girl, and every other fucking thing. Things like, if you're trying for a boy, you should add more bananas to your diet.

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We always assumed that was figurative.

We can only assume that old-timey superstitions were based on the idea that the more phallic the food you ate, the more chance you had of spitting out a small human who was hung like Ron Jeremy, because that's just the kind of logic they ran with back then.

The Science:

Scholars at the prestigious Oxford University teamed up with those at Exeter to settle this grand debate and concluded that bananas do indeed make boys. In the study of 740 pregnant women, they found that "women who consume more calories around the time of conception, and, in particular, eat more bananas, are more likely to have sons." In conjunction, they discovered that skipping breakfast gave a greater likelihood of a baby girl.

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"Yeah, I'm going to go over this video data in my office. Alone."

The researchers believe that it has something to do with the high potassium levels in bananas that tipped the scales toward the penis end of the spectrum. But before you go bingeing on bananas and blaming Cracked when you still give birth to a dreaded girl-baby, we should note that the high-banana diet only increased the male birth rate to 55 percent of the time, which is slightly more than the usual 50-50 coin toss, but far from rigging the game. Nature still has its ways of ensuring that the entire human race doesn't become one giant sausage party.

And, incredibly, this is only the second-stupidest baby-related old wives' tale on the list ...

#1. Heartburn While Pregnant Means You'll Have a Hairy Baby

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The Myth:

Yes, another longstanding tall tale is that if a mother experiences heartburn during her pregnancy, she'll give birth to a hairy child. Because, what, the pain in her stomach is due to her werewolf child trying to claw its way out?

The Science:

A group at Johns Hopkins University conducted a study intending to put this myth to rest, but during the course of their investigation, they accidentally proved it true, and nobody was more surprised than they were. The study followed 64 pregnant women, with 78 percent of them reporting some kind of heartburn during pregnancy. When the women had their babies, they were judged by impartial witnesses on their hairiness (we want to reiterate once again how really ridiculous the life of a scientist is).

Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images, Tay Jnr/Digital Vision/Getty Images
"Let's call this an 8."

It turned out that, out of 28 mothers who reported having moderate to severe heartburn, 23 had babies deemed to be either moderately or spectacularly hairy. On the flip side, 12 of the mothers reported no heartburn, and 10 of these women had kids with little or no hair. And as weird as it sounds, the explanation could be fairly simple. They think it has something to do with high levels of estrogen in the mother, which has been shown both to trigger relaxation in the esophagus (causing heartburn) and also to create hairier babies.

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"We had to look all over town, but we finally found a place that sold flannel onesies and tiny corn cob pipes."

Please note that it's not that heartburn causes a hairy baby, so don't feel like you can just chug a bunch of chili for nine months in hopes of adding fur to your infant. We know one of you freaks was going to try that, don't bother denying it.


You can see a lot more of Hossey in a lot less here and here. Poke XJ on Twitter and follow him on Facebook.

Related Reading: And hey, did you know chicken soup really is good for your cold? Not every myth about healthcare is true though. If you believe heart attacks always hurt you might be in for a painless, but deadly, surprise. And we're not even getting into all the ridiculous sex myths from history we're sure you believe. But if you click that link, we'll get to busting them.

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