All about fruitarianism with a long-term fruitarian, Lena

toxins

  • One-Day Fruit Diet

    Consulting nutritionist and clinical dietitian in India, Pooja Makhija, on fruitarian diet:

  • Glycotoxins, Advanced Glycation, dAEG and Cooking

    Modern diets are largely heat-processed and as a result contain high levels of advanced glycation end products (AGEs), also known as glycotoxins. Dietary advanced glycation end products (dAGEs) are known to contribute to increased oxidant stress and inflammation, which are linked to the recent epidemics of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

    Dry heat promotes new dAGE formation by 10-100 times above the uncooked state across food categories. Animal-derived foods that are high in fat and protein are generally rich in glycotoxins and prone to formation of new glycotoxins during cooking. Carbohydrate-rich foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains (but also milk) contain relatively few glycotoxins, even after cooking.

    The formation of new glycotoxins during cooking was: 

    • prevented by the AGE inhibitory compound aminoguanidine
    • and significantly reducedby
      • cooking with moist heat,
      • using shorter cooking times,
      • cooking at lower temperatures,
      • and by use of acidic ingredients (such as lemon juice or vinegar).

    Advanced glycation end products (AGEs), are a diverse group of highly oxidant compounds with pathogenic significance in diabetes and in several other chronic diseases. Glycotoxins are created through a Maillard or browning reaction - it is a part of normal metabolism, but if excessively high levels of glycotoxins are reached in tissues and the circulation they can become pathogenic, which is related to their ability to promote oxidative stress and inflammation by binding with cell surface receptors or cross-linking with body proteins, altering their structure and function.

    Glycotoxins also exist in foods: they are naturally present in uncooked animal-derived foods, and cooking results in the formation of new AGEs: grilling, broiling, roasting, searing,and frying propagate and accelerate new AGE formation. Recent studies clearly show that dAGEs are absorbed and contribute significantly to the body’s AGE pool.

    Avoidance of dAGEs, glycotoxins in food, helps delay chronic diseases and aging in animals and possibly in human beings.

    Glycotoxins in the diet represent pathogenic compounds that have been linked to the induction and progression of many chronic diseases. High temperature and low moisture consistently and strongly drive their formation in foods. Comparatively brief heating time, low temperatures, high moisture, and/or pre-exposure to an acidified environment are effective strategies to limit new formation in food.

    A significantly reduced intake of dAGEs can be achieved by reducing intake of solid fats, fatty meats, full-fat dairy products, and highly processed foods, and by increasing the consumption of legumes, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. 

    Low-AGE–generating cooking methods are 

    • poaching,
    • steaming,
    • stewing, 
    • boiling.

    For example, the high AGE content of broiled chicken (5,828 kU/100 g) can be significantly reduced to 1,124 kU/100 g when the same piece of meat is either boiled or stewed. 

    Future studies should continue to investigate the health effects of AGEs and refine recommendations for safe dietary intakes. However, current data support the need for a paradigm shift that acknowledges that how we prepare and process food may be equally important as nutrient composition.

  • Brain Protectors

    Dr. Neal Barnard's "brain protectors" against Alzheimer's: almonds, apricots, beans, chickpeas, blueberries, grapes, leaves and sweet potatoes.

    Avoid saturated and trans fats, excess iron, copper and aluminum.

  • Fluoride in Water and Dental or Skeletal Fluorosis

    There is no good evidence of any adverse medical effects associated with the consumption of water with fluoride naturally or artificially added at a concentration of 0.5 – 1.0 mg / litre other than the increase in dental fluorosis. US studies in areas with natural fluoride levels of up to 8 mg / litre found no clinical evidence of harm. However there is clear evidence from India and China that skeletal fluorosis and an increased risk of bone fractures occur as a result of long-term excessive exposure to fluoride (total intakes of 14 mg fluoride per day), and evidence suggestive of an increased risk of bone effects at total intakes above about 6 mg fluoride per day.

  • Common Plant Toxins

    Food plants are known to produce a wide array of chemicals. The levels of many of the more toxic ones have been reduced by hybridisation, but many of these natural toxins are still present at low levels. Eating very large amounts of one type of such foods can possibly be somewhat toxic.

    Common Plant Toxins and Antinutrients

    Toxins (occurrence in plant foods) - possible effect on humans and animals in large amounts:
    • Cyanogenic glycosides (sweet potatoes, stone fruits, lima beans) - gastrointestinal inflammation, inhibition of cellular respiration.
    • Glulcosinolates (canola, mustard, radish, cabbage, peanut, soybean, onion) - impaired metabolism, reduced iodine uptake, decreased protein digestion.
    • Glycoalkaloids (potato, tomato) - depressed central nervous system, kidney inflammation, carcinogenic, birth defects, reduced iron absorption.
    • Gossypol (cottonseed) - reduced iron uptake, spermicidal, carcinogenic.
    • Lectins (most cereals, soybeans, other beans, potatoes) - intestinal inflammation, decreased nutrient absorption.
    • Oxalate (spinach, rhubarb, tomato) - reduces solubility of calcium, iron, and zinc.
    • Phenols (most fruits and vegetables, cereals, soybean, potato, tea, coffee) - destroys thiamine, raises cholesterol, estrogen-mimic.
    • Coumarins (celery, parsley, parsnips, figs) - light-activated carcinogens, skin irritation.
  • Toxic Acrylamide in Cooked Plant Foods

    In 2010, the Joint Food and Agriculture Organization / World Health Organization Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) concluded that acrylamide is a human health concern. Certain doses of acrylamide are toxic to animals and humans.

    Although acrylamide has known toxic effects on the nervous system and on fertility, the 2002 report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the World Health Organization (WHO) concluded the intake level required to observe neuropathy (0.5 mg/kg body weight/day) was 500 times higher than the average dietary intake of acrylamide (1 μg/kg body weight/day). For effects on fertility, the level is 2,000 times higher than the average intake.

    Acrylamide is a neurotoxin by either oral (in animals) or inhalation exposure (in humans and in animals). Toxic effects are central and peripheral neuropathy causing drowsiness, hallucinations, distal numbness, and ataxia. Recovery is possible after cessation of exposure. 

    Acrylamide is typically found in plant-based foods cooked with high heat (e.g., frying, roasting, and baking), not raw plant-based foods or foods cooked by steaming or boiling (below 120 degrees Celsius / 248 Fahrenheit). Potato chips and French fries were found to contain higher levels of acrylamide compared with other foods.

    The European Chemical Agency added acrylamide to the list of substances of very high concern in March 2010.

    Acrylamide is known to causecancer in animals. It is not clear, as of 2016, whether acrylamide consumption increases people's risk of developing cancer. 

  • Indicator of Vitamin A Deficiency Night Blindness

    The most frequently occurring clinical indicator ofvitamin A deficiency is night-blindness, which is the earliest manifestation of xerophthalmia. 

    In its mild form it is generally noticeable after stress from a bright light that bleaches the rhodopsin (visual purple) found in the retina. Vitamin A deficiency prolongs the time to regenerate rhodopsin, and thus delays adaptation time in dark environments.

    Night-blind young children tend to stumble when going from bright to dimly-lit areas and they, as well as night-blind mothers, tend to remain inactive at dusk and at night.

  • 10000 Times More Natural Pesticides - No Dirty Dozen

    According to Professor Bruce Ames, a biochemist at UC-Berkeley, our foods contain 10,000 times more natural pesticides than synthetic onesplants develop their own defenses against fungi and predators. 

    Although the minuscule amounts of synthetic pesticides in our foods pose negligible health risks, some activists actually advise consumers not to eat fruits and vegetables at all if they can’t afford organic varieties — in spite of 100 years of evidence that those who eat the most conventionally grown fruits and vegetables have half the cancer rates for practically every type of cancer and live longer than those who eat less.

    90% Of the cases “exposed” in EWG’s 2010 list involved levels of pesticides 1,000 times lower than the chronic reference dose - the level of daily exposure likely to be without an appreciable risk of deleterious effects during a lifetime of chronic exposure. 

    Dr. Carl Winter and Josh Katz, UC-Davis:

    The potential consumer risks from exposure to the most frequently detected pesticides on the ‘Dirty Dozen’ list of foods are negligible and cast doubts as to how consumers avoiding conventional forms of such produce items are improving their health status.

  • Toxins in Beans

    Green beans, red kidney beans, and white kidney beans - contain naturally a toxin known as phytohaemagglutinin. Food poisoning caused by this toxin in raw and inadequately-cooked beans has a short onset time (1-3 hours) with symptoms of nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. However, this toxic substance can be destroyed by soaking and then cooking thoroughly at boiling temperature. Tinned beans which have been subjected to thorough heat-treatment are safe to eat without further cooking.

  • Toxins in Root Vegetables and Greens

    Several different glycoalkaloids are produced naturally by potatoes, the most common being solanine and chaconine. Low levels of glycoalkaloids produce desirable flavour in potatoes. However, exposure to elevated levels of glycoalkaloids when eating potatoes can cause a bitter taste or a burning sensation in the mouth - indicating a state of toxicity. Glycoalkaloids are not destroyed by cooking; even by frying in hot oil. The majority of this natural toxin found in potatoes is in the peel, or just below the peel. Greening of the potatoes may be indicative of the presence of the toxin. Red skinned or russet potatoes may camouflage the greening.

    Avoid eating potatoes that show signs of greening, physical damage, rotting or sprouting. Potatoes should be stored in a cool, dark, dry place at home, such as a basement, and away from the sun or artificial light. Wash potatoes before cooking and peel or cut away green areas prior to cooking. Potatoes with pronounced greening or damage should be discarded. 

    Off-flavours such as a bitter taste, aftertaste and/or petroleum-like flavour have been associated with the consumption of fresh carrots. In contrast to sweet flavour, these off-flavours are usually as a result of stored carrots being exposed to ethylene. Ethylene is a normal fruit ripening hormone that may react with natural chemical compounds found in carrots creating off-flavour sensory attributes. Thus, carrots should not be stored with ethylene-producing commodities such as apples, avocados, bananas, pears, peaches, plums, cantaloupes, honeydew melons and tomatoes. Carrots properly handled and stored in perforated plastic bags at a low temperature retain the most acceptable taste. 

    Cyanogenic glycoside toxin is also found in the cassava root and fresh bamboo shoots, making it necessary for them to be cooked before canning or eating. Cassava is classified into two main types - sweet and bitter. Sweet cassava is defined as having a concentration of cyanide less than 50 mg per kilogram of fresh weight, while bitter cassava has a concentration greater than 50 mg per kilogram. The sweet cassava only requires cooking in order to reduce the cyanide content to non-toxic levels. However, the bitter cassava contains more toxins and should be prepared and cooked properly prior to consumption. Grating the root and prolonged soaking of the gratings in water will leach out the cyanide, reducing the levels of toxin. In addition to soaking, cooking will further detoxify the roots before consumption. Cyanogenic glycoside found in fresh bamboo decomposes quickly when placed in boiling water, rendering the bamboo shoots safe for consumption. It has been found that boiling bamboo shoots for 20 minutes at 98 C removes nearly 70 percent of the cyanide, while higher temperatures and longer intervals remove up to 96 percent. The highest concentrations are detoxified by cooking for two hours.

George Berkeley

If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?

Seeds

Seed is an embryonic plant enclosed in a protective outer covering. The formation of the seed is part of the process of reproduction in seed plants. Seeds have been an important development in the reproduction and success of gymnosperms and angiosperms plants, that now dominate biological niches on land. 

The term "seed" also has a general meaning of anything that can be sown, e.g. "seed" potatoes (tubers), "seeds" of corn or sunflower "seeds". 

Many structures commonly referred to as "seeds" are actually dry fruits. Different groups of plants have other modifications, the so-called stone fruits (such as the peach) have a hardened fruit layer (the endocarp) fused to and surrounding the actual seed.

Nuts are the one-seeded, hard-shelled fruit of some plants with an indehiscent seed (acorn, hazelnut).

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