I love working in an office full of women. It’s not the endless bickering over the temperature setting of the air conditioner, or the Machiavellian internal office politics that charms me so much, but the simple pleasure of being surrounded by uncritical minds which always see fit to send me e-mails full of credulous woo.
I must admit that I have had the immense honour of being able to impart a little of my critical mindset on the wonderful women around me but it seems as though no matter how much headway I make, there will always be another wad of pseudoscientific rubbish for me to try and refute. A few days ago I received an e-mail all about how one should (apparently) eat fruit. Here it is (reformatted a little bit so that it takes up less space, and I fixed most of the spelling too);
Health Guide – Correct Way of Eating Fruits
We all think eating fruits means just buying fruits, cutting it and just popping it into our mouths. It’s not as easy as you think It’s important to know how and when to eat.
What is the correct way of eating fruits?
IT MEANS NOT EATING FRUITS AFTER YOUR MEALS! – FRUITS SHOULD BE EATEN ON AN EMPTY STOMACH. If you eat fruit on an empty stomach, it will play a major role to detoxify your system, supplying you with a great deal of energy for weight loss and other life activities.
FRUIT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT FOOD
Let’s say you eat two slices of bread and then a slice of fruit, the slice of fruit is ready to go straight through the stomach into the intestines, but it is prevented from doing so. In the meantime the whole meal rots and ferments and turns to acid. The minute the fruit comes into contact with the food in the stomach and digestive juices, the entire mass of food begins to spoil.
So please eat your fruits on an empty stomach or before your meals!
You have heard people complaining – “every time I eat water-melon I burp, when I eat durian (fruit from Asia with a foul smell yet delicious flavour) my stomach bloats up, when I eat a banana I feel like running to the toilet etc.”
Actually all this will not arise if you eat the fruit on an empty stomach. The fruit mixes with the putrefying other food and produces gas and hence you will bloat!
Greying hair, balding, nervous outburst, and dark circles under the eyes – all these will not happen if you take fruits on an empty stomach.
There is no such thing as some fruits, like orange and lemon are acidic, because all fruits become alkaline in our body, according to Dr. Herbert Shelton who did research on this matter. If you have mastered the correct way of eating fruits, you have the Secret of beauty, longevity, health, energy, happiness and normal weight.
When you need to drink fruit juice – drink only fresh fruit juice, NOT from the cans. Don’t even drink juice that has been heated up. Don’t eat cooked fruits because you don’t get the nutrients at all. You only get to taste. Cooking destroys all the vitamins.
But eating a whole fruit is better than drinking the juice. If you should drink the juice, drink it mouthful by mouthful slowly, because you must let it mix with your saliva before swallowing it.
You can go on a 3-day fruit fast to cleanse your body. Just eat fruits and drink fruit juice throughout the 3 days and you will be surprised when your friends tell you how radiant you look!
KIWI: Tiny but mighty. This is a good source of potassium, magnesium, vitamin E & fibre. Its vitamin C content is twice that of an orange.
APPLE: An apple a day keeps the doctor away? Although an apple has a low vitamin C content, it has antioxidants & flavonoid which enhances the activity of vitamin C thereby helping to lower the risks of colon cancer, heart attack & stroke.
STRAWBERRY: Protective Fruit. Strawberries have the highest total antioxidant power among major fruits & protect the body from cancer-causing, blood vessel-clogging free radicals.
ORANGE: Sweetest medicine, eating 2 to 4 oranges a day may help keep colds away, lower cholesterol, prevent & dissolve kidney stones as well as lessens the risk of colon cancer.
WATERMELON: Coolest thirst quencher. Composed of 92% water, it is also packed with a giant dose of glutathione, which helps boost our immune system. They are also a key source of lycopene – the cancer fighting oxidant. Other nutrients found in watermelon are vitamin C & Potassium.
GUAVA & PAPAYA: Top awards for vitamin C. They are the clear winners for their high vitamin C content. Guava is also rich in fibre, which helps prevent constipation. Papaya is rich in carotene; this is good for your eyes.
Drinking Cold water after a meal = Cancer! Can you believe this??
For those who like to drink cold water, this article is applicable to you.
It is nice to have a cup of cold drink after a meal. However, the cold water will solidify the oily stuff that you have just consumed. It will slow down the digestion. Once this ‘sludge’ reacts with the acid, it will break down and be absorbed by the intestine faster than the solid food. It will line the intestine. Very soon, this will turn into fats and lead to cancer. It is best to drink hot soup or warm water after a meal.
A cardiologist says if everyone who gets this mail sends it to 10 people, you can be sure that we’ll save at least one life. Read this…It could save your life!
That was a tad long, I’m sorry. The first claim which catches my attention is that eating fruit on an empty stomach will help to detoxify your system. There is a false assumption here that our bodies actually need fruit to help them to detoxify. This assumption is an extension of the popular misconception that our bodies retain “toxins” and need external help to remove these mysterious compounds before they do any harm.
The detoxification industry is a massive hulking behemoth of foot-pads, foot baths, uncomfortable enemas, strange tasting drinks and things which make us poop out long rubbery snakes of gunk while giving ourselves a pat on the back and trying to ignore the stretching sensation in our rear ends.
Proponents of detoxification are always eager to help you decide on which method of purification you should choose, yet they are (rather disconcertingly) unable to tell you exactly what these toxins are, or that your incredible body has a highly efficient system specifically designed for removing any harmful by-products of our metabolism, diet, or tendency to fill ourselves up with mind altering chemicals on a regular basis.
My liver, kidneys, lungs, stomach and intestines all work in a finely balanced and highly efficient manner to filter and process every particle which enters my body. From the air I breathe to the water I drink and everything in-between, my body is tirelessly scrubbing every molecule which enters it and removing the excess and the harmful in my routine bodily excretions.
Not only are proponents of detoxification not able to tell us which toxins might be building up in our bodies, nor how they do so, they are also not really able to tell us how their detoxification products work. Detox footpads (those sticky plasters which you attach to the soles of your feet before bed and remove upon waking to find that their clean white surface has been marred by a smelly brown stain) have been PROVEN to contain no more “toxins” after being applied to your feet than before. Furthermore, you could detox your morning tea by placing the tea cup on a foot pad.
The footpad sellers claim that this stain is the toxins which have been drawn out of your feet while you sleep but they are lying to you! Fleecing you! Misrepresenting the truth so that they can make money out of you. And it does not stop there. In his excellent book Bad Science, Ben Goldacre further exposes the detox industry by detoxing a plastic doll in a foot bath and revealing what those long rubbery sausages really are (I’ll give you a hint – they are clever chemistry, not toxins).
A running theme of the fruit eating guide is that you should eat fruit raw and on an empty stomach and the author gives a number of reasons why he/she thinks it is better to do so. We have already addressed why it is not necessary as an aid to detoxification (your body detoxifies itself without your conscious interference).
The claim that “fruit is ready to go straight through your stomach and into your intestines” is demonstrably false. Your stomach is an organ full of acid and bacteria. The stomach is also the first major stop your meals make on their way through your body. After being chewed and swallowed our food is digested in the stomach until it has been sufficiently softened to start the trip through our intestines. Everything stops here, fruit, bread and biltong. What would make raw fruit special? It cannot be the consistency; some fruits are very soft (such as papaya or kiwi) while others are rather hard (apples). It is difficult for me to address this claim further because the author of the fruit guide does not bother to provide any evidence of WHY fruit might skip the stomach. All I can do is speculate about the possible reasons and, to be honest, I can’t think of any which do not invoke some kind of special fruit-magic.
The claim that food rots, ferments and spoils in our stomachs and will turn to acid if it encounters fruit is just plain strange and betrays the author’s ignorance about body chemistry. The food in our stomachs is not rotting, it is being digested, broken down into proteins and sugars and being absorbed into our bodies for use in the metabolic process. Furthermore, the lining of parietal cells in our stomachs is what produces the hydrochloric acid, not fruit.
More interesting (for me, anyway) is the claim that eating raw fruit on an empty stomach will prevent “Grey hair, balding, nervous outbursts and dark circles under the eyes” as well as being the “Secret of beauty, longevity, health, energy, happiness and normal weight”. You might want to believe that you can escape the terror of becoming a greying, balding, emotionally unstable, baggy-eyed, ugly, unhealthy, lethargic, obese person on the way to an early grave simply by eating raw fruit on and empty stomach, but I demand EVIDENCE that there is any validity to this claim. None is provided. Simply wanting something to be true does not make it so and I am highly suspicious of any conscious habit which promises to rid me of so many highly varied and serious conditions which have complex causal factors.
The nutritional wunderkind vitamin C is mentioned many times and we have all heard that it will keep us healthy and prevent colds and flu’s. While the benefits of vitamin C in the treatment and prevention of scurvy cannot be underestimated (and it is the lime which is prized in this endeavour because of it’s high vitamin C content – a fruit the author failed to mention), there is very little evidence that it had any benefit at all for treating colds and flu, and mounting evidence that vitamin C in high doses can do more harm than good.
Now for the claim that drinking cold water after a meal will cause cancer, I always find that the threat of cancer causes people to clutch their pearls and break out in a cold sweat. The truth is that there are many factors which cause cancer. There are environmental factors (such as tobacco smoke and fibreglass fibres), viral causes (there is now a vaccine against cervical cancer) and many causes which are not understood. It seems that every week there is a new compound which might cause cancer. This leads to us being highly sensitive to, and concerned about, what may cause this frightening disease. I suspect that this makes the threat of cancer an exceptionally effective method of convincing people to spread your misinformation.
Is there any validity to the claim that cold water will congeal the oils in our meals, such congealed sludge will line our intestines, turn into fat and cause cancer? I am not sure. Fat may cause cancer; it certainly increases your risk of a heart attack. But without any evidence to back up tis claim, I will file it under “S” for “suspiciously unlikely”.
Finally I would like to point out a fallacious argument which the author uses. On two occasions he/she appeals to the authority of professional scientists in an attempt to lend more weight to his essay of bollocks. People often do this when the weight of the argument is not sufficient to influence your behaviour on its own and so they try and convince you by invoking stereotypical figures that most people will trust automatically and hoping that that will be enough. It isn’t.
He tells us that “Dr. Herbert Shelton” researched the acidic fruit matter without providing any further details, an omission which makes me highly suspicious. Exactly what research did Dr Shelton do and where was it published for me to read it and make sure it is legitimate?
He/she also tells us that “a cardiologist” recommends we forward his essay in order to save lives. I would love to save lives; I’d do anything in my power to do so. But forwarding an e-mail full of rubbish is not going to save anybody, except maybe from the terror of eating a cooked banana. However, this e-mail has nothing to do with cardiology and so is not within the area of specialisation of a cardiologist. It’s the same as telling me that Jesus wants me to spam my friends and I don’t have to tell you why that is not going to work, do I?