Thursday November 18, 2004
Â· Imagine what would happen if I just went crazy one day and started making stuff up. I mean, we’ve built up such a relationship of trust over the years. But I’ve found my evil twin (thanks to reader Deirdre Janson-Smith), and he’s working for the Bucks Free Press. Peter Marcasiano claims “some health foods are just as bad as junk snacks,” and the joy is he’s got buckets of science to back it up. Debunk away, Peter.
Â· First he rails against fruit juice: “What it actually does when you drink it is go straight to the liver – fructose does not enter the blood stream like other sugars – and the liver readily turns it into fat.” Now, I’d be really interested to know how this boy thinks absorbed nutrients are getting out of the 30 feet of well-vascularised gut that’s jumbled up in his tummy, and then across to his liver, if it’s not in his blood. Some might naively read medical textbooks and suggest that the answer lies in the hepatic portal vein. Perhaps in his world it gets absorbed into some amorphous mush behind his belly button, and then diffuses over to the liver under its own steam. I’m also enjoying the idea that every last fructose molecule gets picked up the moment it passes through the liver, without any getting into the systemic circulation. If anything, of course, the liver has to play around with what fructose it picks up to turn it into the glucose that your body can use, so the blood glucose levels from fruit don’t peak so high, and it doesn’t mess with your insulin so much. Which is one of many reasons why fruit is better than a Mars bar.
Â· He goes on. Commercially-treated vegetable oil is bad because it’s had sodium hydroxide bubbled through it, and “just in case you didn’t know what that is, it’s the substance you put down blocked drains to unplug them”. It is therefore a “poison”. Although to be fair, Peter, it’s not like you’re eating highly concentrated alkali, any more than the hydrochloric acid in your gut is going to melt your toes. But no, I was wrong, it’s been proven with science: “The trans-fats that are produced during the pre-frying have been isolated by researchers and injected into animals.” Gosh, what happened next, Peter? Er, that’s the end of the story. I guess that someone scientifically injecting it into animals is scary enough. Margarine “will damage your heart like no other spread,” pasteurising dairy “denatures the beneficial fats and proteins” and … Sigh. Just eat your greens. You’ll be fine.