All about fruitarianism with a long-term fruitarian, Lena

Feces (poop) from people or animals is a source of germs like Salmonella, E. coli O157, and norovirus that cause diarrhea, and it can spread some respiratory infections like adenovirus and hand-foot-mouth disease.

These kinds of germs can get onto hands after people use the toilet or change a diaper, but also after handling raw meats that have invisible amounts of animal poop on them.

One gram of human feces (~ the weight of a paper clip) can contain one trillion germs (1,000,000,000,000). Germs can also get onto hands if people touch any object that has germs on it because someone coughed or sneezed on it or was touched by some other contaminated object. When these germs get onto hands and are not washed off, they can be passed from person to person and make people sick.

Handwashing with soap removes germs from hands and thus helps prevent infections because:

  • People frequently touch their eyes, nose, and mouth without realizing it - germs can get into the body through the eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Germs from unwashed hands can get into foods and drinks while people prepare or consume them - germs can multiply in some types of foods or drinks under certain conditions.
  • Germs from unwashed hands can be transferred t objects like table tops or toys - and from there to other people.

Removing germs through handwashing therefore helps prevent diarrhea and respiratory infections and may even help prevent skin and eye infections.

Teaching people about handwashing helps them and their communities stay healthy:

  • Reduces the number of people who get sick with diarrhea by 31%,
  • Reduces diarrheal illness in people with weakened immune systems by 58%,
  • Reduces colds in the general population by 16-21%.

Stanley Milgram

The disappearance of a sense of responsibility is the most far-reaching consequence of submission to authority.

Protein Structure, Cooked and Denatured Proteins

Proteins are chains of amino acids. The sequence of amino acids in a chain is known as the primary structure of a protein. The chains fold up to form complex three dimensional shapes. The chains can fold on themselves locally (secondary structure) and wrap around themselves to form a specific three dimensional shape (tertiary structure).

The secondary / tertiary structure of a folded protein is directly related to its function. For example, enzymes are proteins that catalyze reactions. They have binding sites that interact with other molecules. These binding sites are created through the folding of the amino acid chains that gives rise to the three dimensional shape of the enzyme.

Denatured Protein

Denaturation of proteins involves the disruption and possible destruction of both the secondary and tertiary structures. Since denaturation reactions are not strong enough to break the peptide bonds, the primary structure (sequence of amino acids) remains the same after a denaturation process. Denaturation disrupts the normal sheets in a protein and uncoils it into a random shape.

Denaturation occurs because the bonding interactions responsible for the secondary structure (hydrogen bonds to amides) and tertiary structure are disrupted. In tertiary structure there are four types of bonding interactions between "side chains" including: hydrogen bonding, salt bridges, disulfide bonds, and non-polar hydrophobic interactions. which may be disrupted. 

Proteins can be denatured through exposure to heat or chemicals. Denatured proteins lose their three dimensional structure and thus their function. 

Digestion of Proteins and Cooking

Protein digestion begins in the stomach, where the acidic environment favors protein denaturation. Denatured proteins are more accessible as substrates for proteolysis than are native proteins. The primary proteolytic enzyme of the stomach is pepsin, a nonspecific protease that is maximally active at pH 2. Thus, pepsin can be active in the highly acidic environment of the stomach, even though other proteins undergo denaturation there.

Heat disrupts hydrogen bonds and non-polar hydrophobic interactions. This occurs because heat increases the kinetic energy and causes the molecules to vibrate so rapidly and violently that the bonds are disrupted

Foods are cooked to denature the proteins to make it easier for enzymes to digest them. Cooking food denatures some of the proteins in it and makes digestion more efficient. Heating to denature proteins in bacteria and thus destroy the bacteria.

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