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Old 01 April 2010, 08:45 PM
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rhiandmoi rhiandmoi is offline
 
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Default Rat experiment with corn flakes

From a whole lot of blogs on healthy eating:

Quote:
Another unpublished experiment was carried out in the 1960s. Researchers at Ann Arbor University were given 18 laboratory rats. They were divided into three groups: one group received corn flakes and water; a second group was given the cardboard box that the corn flakes came in and water; the control group received rat chow and water. The rats in the control group remained in good health throughout the experiment. The rats eating the box became lethargic and eventually died of malnutrition. But the rats receiving the corn flakes and water died before the rats that were eating the box! (The last corn flake rat died the day the first box rat died.) But before death, the corn flake rats developed schizophrenic behavior, threw fits, bit each other and finally went into convulsions. The startling conclusion of this study is that there was more nourishment in the box than there was in the corn flakes.

This experiment was actually designed as a joke, but the results were far from funny. The results were never published and similar studies have not been conducted.
I've been googling all day but can't find anything but statements just like this. A tiny experiment by unnamed researchers sometime in the 60's. Sounds totally UL to me. If anyone has any leads to debunk this, I would really appreciate it.

Also, if anyone knows if the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor is/was called Ann Arbor University, or if there is an actual school Ann Arbor University. 'Cause I'm pulling up nada on that front too. Which makes the first search seem all the more fruitless and UL chasing.
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  #2  
Old 01 April 2010, 09:11 PM
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Old wives tale, trying to pretend to be scientific. Mythbusters covered it: http://tv.ign.com/objects/877/877717.html
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Old 01 April 2010, 09:41 PM
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RivkahChaya RivkahChaya is offline
 
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I wonder if that was an article in The Journal of Irreproducible Results, or something, that someone couldn't figure out was a joke, like when people think Onion articles are real, or keep asking Snopes and Barbara if there really is a boy with a bag of leaves for a body.

ETA: Does Kellogg's even claim that it's safe for people, let alone rats, to eat nothing but corn flakes? If the commercials are to be believed, you are supposed to have juice and milk with your corn flakes just to have a good breakfast. I don't think the company would endorse corn flakes and water as a sound meal. If this had ever been a real experiment, I think Kellogg's would have a statement denouncing it somewhere.

Yes, I know there are those stupid Special K commercials, that tell women to lose weight by eating Special K, but even those, IIRC, want you to have it with skim milk, and still have lunch and dinner; they don't advocate eating nothing but Special K and water three meals a day.

Last edited by RivkahChaya; 01 April 2010 at 09:50 PM.
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Old 02 April 2010, 07:25 AM
Sjö Sjö is offline
 
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I don't know anything about the ethic guidelines for animal experiments in the 60-s, but this is such a silly experiment that I can't imagine anyone spending research time and money on it. Testing the nutritional value of a cardboard box and a one-item diet, ffs?
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Old 02 April 2010, 07:37 AM
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"The box is more nutritious than the cornflakes" has been a long running joke for as long as I can remember. I can't say I've ever heard a "scientific research program" being attached to the joke though.
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Old 02 April 2010, 09:49 AM
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I have heard this mentioned in connection with the Montréal olympic games as the experiment was supposed to have been made in Canada. According to this story there were three groups that ate; 1) corn flakes and water, 2) corn flakes and milk, and 3) whatever they wished. The first group died from malnutrition, the second group survived because of the milk and the third group thrived well on their varied diet.
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Old 02 April 2010, 12:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Floater View Post
I have heard this mentioned in connection with the Montréal olympic games as the experiment was supposed to have been made in Canada. According to this story there were three groups that ate; 1) corn flakes and water, 2) corn flakes and milk, and 3) whatever they wished. The first group died from malnutrition, the second group survived because of the milk and the third group thrived well on their varied diet.
In more news: water is wet.

There's a children's book by well-known author Beverly Cleary who wrote the "Ramona" series. She also wrote about another set of kids, whose main characters were a boy named Otis Spofford, and a girl named Ellen Tebbits. In the book titled Otis Spofford, Otis and Ellen's teacher does and experiment where she procures two mice, one of which is fed food from the school cafeteria, and the other of which is fed candy, cookies, cake, and soda pop. The book was written in 1953.

There's also an episode of a TV show of about the same vintage, which I'm thinking was Leave It to Beaver, but I have not paged through a list of LITB episodes, and google is not popping up anything obvious, where the teacher conducts a similar experiment. It's possible that the LITB writers copied from Beverly Cleary, or Cleary copied from the show, but I'm wondering if they were both writing about something teachers used to do in the 1950s to make a point about nutrition to their classes.

If so, stories about that experiment could have mutated into this rumor.
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Old 02 April 2010, 02:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rhiandmoi View Post
Also, if anyone knows if the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor is/was called Ann Arbor University, or if there is an actual school Ann Arbor University. 'Cause I'm pulling up nada on that front too. Which makes the first search seem all the more fruitless and UL chasing.
I just got back from a week in Michigan in Lansing, having had to drive past Ann Arbor 4 times going to and from the airport - had to go back there with my parents to help my dad with my grandfather's arrangements and funeral.

Both University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) and Michigan State (Lansing) came up in the conversation rather often due to my dad's reminiscings and also discussions of Where My Daughter Is Going To College which is the main topic these days. I've never heard it referred to as Ann Arbor University - they call it Ann Arbor, but I think that's the same way we Texans say "San Marcos" and everyone knows we are referring to Texas State University, in San Marcos, or we say "Denton" and everyone knows we mean University of North Texas, in Denton.

I'll ask my dad, who grew up there, if it was ever referred to as Ann Arbor University, but I seriously ever doubt it was in recent history; sometimes the wee first small years of a college history reveals a different name, but it changes when they join the state college system. Most of those changes happened much earlier in the century and would have predated that study you speak of. The history page of UM does not mention anything like that: It says, The University was founded in Detroit 1817 as one of the first public universities in the country. The school moved westward to Ann Arbor in 1837, when Ann Arbor was only 13 years old. Which makes it really seem unlikely it was called Ann Arbor University at it's conception.

http://vpcomm.umich.edu/aboutum/home/history.php


This link shows no school called Ann Arbor University. http://www.50states.com/college/michigan.htm

I would say with fair confidence there isn't an Ann Arbor University, so either the study was very sloppily written, (referring to University of Michigan) or there's some serious question as to it's veracity.
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