You've probably heard while growing up that 'you are what you eat.' Well, if that saying holds any truth, then Leo Barnett might as well be a carrot. The three-year-old boy from Britain was written about in the Daily Mail as living with a condition known as hyper-beta carotenemia. Other than being a mouthful, the condition prohibits Barnett's body from digesting carotene.
You might be more familiar with beta carotene as the compound the body converts to vitamin A after eating certain foods, or as the pigment that gives some fruits and vegetables their orange colour. But for Barnett, eating something like a carrot or an orange will leave the toddler looking, well, orange. Since Barnett's body can't handle the carotene due to a missing enzyme in his liver, the beta carotene builds up within his body and the result is an orange tinge to his skin that would give any tanning salon a run for their money.
While Barnett is believed to be the only one in Britain with the disease, he's not the only one with adverse reactions to certain foods. Health Canada reports that as many as five to six per cent of young children and three to four per cent of adults in westernized countries have some sort of food allergy that ranges from mild to fatal. While hyper-beta carotenemia is usually non-fatal, when combined with a weak immune system, the lack of vitamin A can lead to illness.
Think hyper-beta carotenemia is strange? Check out the gallery below to find out what other foods have strange effects on the body.