Saturday, 16 April 2016

“Peanuts are nuts”—and Other Myths That Need Cracking

Artist extraordinaire James Grasdal is putting the finishing touches on the 13th book in the Superman Duffy comic series—MYTHCONCEPTIONS. Which, you may have guessed has a little something to do with common “myths.” I love myths! So for this year’s A to Z Blogging Challenge, I’m going to “bust” as many of them as I can—every day (except Sundays) on the blog, throughout April.

Not familiar with the A to Z Challenge? Get the detailshere, and then hang on, because I’m about to blow your mind with my myth-inspired posts. P.S. Comment on the blogs throughout the month for a chance to WIN a complete set of the Superman Duffy comics, including lucky #13, MYTHCONCEPTIONS.
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MYTH: Peanuts are nuts.

Peanuts are a food with an identity crisis. Despite popular myth, they’re not nuts—they’re legumes, like lentils, clover, or red kidney beans. Unlike real nuts, which are grown on trees, peanuts grow underground. Bet you didn’t know that!

And that’s not all. While researching peanut myths, I found some pretty amazing facts. For instance, did you know that the average peanut farm is about 100 acres? That’s massive! On second thought, maybe not, when you consider that the average Canadian farm is 778 acres.

Or did you know that it takes 540 peanuts to make a 12-ounce jar of peanut butter? Who shells all those peanuts?!

Although Alberta doesn’t have a thriving peanut industry, we’re just like the rest of North America in that we consume a lot of peanut butter. Which is, of course, a bit controversial considering the seriousness of peanut allergies. (No peanut butter or peanut products allowed in my school!)

With that in mind, here are some other “nut” myths I cracked…er, with the help of Google and the library, of course.

MYTH: About a quarter of the world’s population has a peanut allergy.
Not even close. The most recent estimate is that while 20 percent of the population has a “nut” allergy, 90 percent of allergies are related to tree nuts…not legumes (and thus, not peanuts). Unfortunately, many people with allergies can have serious—potentially deadly—reactions, so it’s best to remain vigilant.

MYTH: Peanuts are the most common food allergy in the world.
Nope. That distinction belongs to the power threesome of milk, eggs, and shellfish. 

MYTH: Children will never outgrow a peanut allergy.
The good news is, recent studies show that about 20% of kids actually DO outgrow a peanut allergy. There’s hope for my cousin yet!  But it’s hard to get past the fear of an allergic reaction, so it’s not a risk many people want to take.

MYTH: You can have an allergic reaction to the smell of peanuts?
Touching, smelling, or inhaling airborne peanuts will not cause a severe reaction. But of course, if you’re nervous, just steer clear.

MYTH: If you are allergic to peanuts, you’re allergic to nuts.
Peanut allergy is a type of allergy due to peanuts—it’s different from nut allergies. (Especially since, as we covered above, peanuts are legumes…not nuts.) It’s possible to be allergic to both, but that’s not always the case.  

Whew! I think I’m going to make myself a peanut butter and jam sandwich while I research my next post. The #AtoZChallenge takes a break tomorrow, but I’ll be back Monday for myths about a surprise “O” word. See you then!

~ Chase Superman Duffy

P.S. Comment on this post, or share it on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for a chance to WIN a complete set of the Superman Duffy comics. A winner will be chosen at random on May 1.

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