All about fruitarianism with a long-term fruitarian, Lena

Antinutrients

antinutrients

  • 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.

Leonardo da Vinci

I have from an early age abjured the use of meat, and the time will come when men such as I will look upon the murder of animals as they now look upon the murder of men.

Overnutrition

Overnutrition, a type of malnutrition, is emerging with rates of obesity and related chronic diseases associated with urbanisation, aging populations, technological development and globalisation of food supplies and industry. Billions of dollars are spent annually by the food industry to promote the consumption of highly refined, high-calorie foods with little or no nutritional value. 

At least 35 million overweight children are living in developing countries and 8 million in developed countries. Children are increasingly exposed to high-fat, high-sugar, high-salt, energy-dense, micronutrient-poor foods which tend to be cheaper than healthy foods. General imbalance in energy intake compared to physical activity levels is driving the obesity epidemic. In industrialised countries, child obesity risk is associated with lower household income, women with less education, and single parent households.

Obesity is increasingly prevalent among adolescent girls and women, as access to a greater quantity of inexpensive, tasty, and convenient foods increases. 

Taxation on high-calorie, low-nutrition foods can play a significant role in reducing the consumption of such products. Population-wide weight-control campaigns that raise awareness among medical staff, policy-makers and the public at large can also help to reduce obesity. Particularly important is the promotion of health literacy. Additional measures include restrictions on the marketing of unhealthy foods and sugary drinks to children, and controls on the use of misleading health and nutrition claims; mandatory front-of-pack food labelling helps consumers to identify healthier options. 

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