Urban legends have long been a part of American culture. We've all heard about George Washington chopping down the cherry tree, the hitch hiker who vanished, and the gang members who strike when a car flashes its lights at them. Tall-tales and exaggerations are common—and legends about food are no exception. Here are a few of the most common myths concerning food, and the truths or fictions behind them. What you read will surprise you.

The original recipe for Coca-Cola contained cocaine: True.

Many people claim that Coca-Cola is addictive. This is largely due to its large amounts of caffeine and sugar, which can leave you coming back for more. However, when it was first launched in 1894, Coca-Cola contained extra additive: cocaine. The cocaine byproduct was derived from the coca leaves that were used to manufacture the syrup that flavored it. At that time, a glass of Coca-Cola contained nine milligrams of cocaine before it was removed from the recipe in 1903.

KFC meals do not contain real chicken: False.

For some time there had been a rumor circulating that KFC stopped using "Kentucky Fried Chicken" because the chain was using meat from genetically altered animals that the government would not allow to be called chicken. Though this tale may feed into our fascination with the mystery meat of many fast food chains, it simply holds no water. The meat served at KFC—though greasy and fat-laden—really is chicken.

Eating celery results in negative calories: True.

Yes, the age-old diet trick has been proven true. You use more calories eating a piece of celery than it actually contains. A stalk of celery contains six calories, but it takes approximately eighty calories to eat and digest. Many people run into problems when they dip celery into a fatty dressing. One tablespoon of bleu cheese dressing averages 76 calories and 7.6g of fat. If calorie cutting is your goal, be sure to eat your celery by itself.

Eating carrots will give you better eyesight: False.

Carrots are a great source of vitamin A which is important to maintain healthy skin, eyesight, and growth. Unfortunately for those of us with glasses, there isn't any research that suggests carrots improve eyesight. What is good news, however, is carrots are also a great source of beta-carotene. Research shows that beta-carotene may reduce the risk of cataracts—a lens that forms over the eye causing partial or total blindness. So, while carrots may not provide you with better eyesight, they can help prevent long-term ocular issues.

Diet soda can cause seizures: Possibly true.

Although the soda itself is not the cause of any serious health issues, the low-calorie sweetener aspartame, which many diet sodas contain, has been the subject of much debate-the U.S. Senate even investigated the claims in a November 1987 hearing. One study conducted by the Department of Emergency Medicine at Klina General Hospital, Belgium, found that excessive intake of diet soda can result in an increased risk for epileptic seizure. The study suggests that the convulsions related to the beverage are a consequence of high doses of aspartame and caffeine from the diet soda. In another study conducted at the IWK Children's Hospital, in Nova Scotia, Canada, the EEGs of children who consumed aspartame showed an increase in spike wave discharge-a type of brain activity that is a possible indication of an area that produce a seizure. However, the FDA maintains that the link is nonexistent. Until the controversy is settled, it's smart to drink diet soda in moderation.

Coffee stunts growth of children: False.

Contrary to popular lore, coffee does not stunt the growth of youngsters. How the myth was started is unclear; however, many think it may be related to the old belief that caffeine consumption caused a reduction in bone mass. Research at Creighton University found that elderly people whose diets were low in milk and other sources of calcium had less bone density because they drank so much coffee and soda instead other bone-building beverages. While large amounts of coffee may give you the jitters, it won't interrupt your child's growth spurts.