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CHEM 115 (2)

world of chem: food

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CHEM 115
Joe Schwarcz

Chemistry Lecture10The Health Food BusinessThere is no doubt a connection btw our health and what we eat Food is the only raw material that goes into our bodyHippocrates let thy food be thy medicine but also thought that pigeon droppings were good for baldness He did suggest that flax is great for the intestinesFlax is good for the intestines it is a laxative and a source of alphalinolenic acid an omega 3 fatty acidsThe emphasis back then was to cure things that went wrong but not prevention of disease by food Only in the 1800s was any attention paid to eating to prevent disease This was when Sylvester Graham 17941851 preached not only religious sermons but also told ppl to abstain from alcohol People did not like this He then became the worlds first nutritionist He counseled ppl on what to eat to prevent disease He came to be called Dr No since he told people No meat cuz it makes you horny inflames the passion no spices bc they were irritant no caffeine bc it was a stimulant no alcohol no doctors doctors were pretty useless and dangerous back then He suggested that ppl who ate too much meat would have sex and so rob the body of energy that should be used to maintain health He said that masturbators were doomed to bad health and that they masturbated bc they ate meat So since ppl could not eat meat what should they eatGraham crackers were introduced as the first antisex food one of Grahams followers made Graham crackersYou are what you eat Eat whole grains and vegetablesPeople used to go to Grahamite rooming houses where you would go to learn how to eat in a Graham fashionToday you could go to the Imperial Herbal Restaurant in Singapore You sit down and look at menu The menu lists a host of ailments you might be suffering from and you pick out the ailment you are suffering from and the chef conjures up a meal to cure your ailment For example youd get deep fried drunken scorpion to soothe nerves and cure migraines Another example deer penis wine for impotence There is no evidence that this done anything however We have health food stores we tell them what we suffer from and they give us supplements to take in order to be healthy What we actually need is scientific evidenceHeath FoodNatural no additives Natural does not equate to safe biggest myth The only way to know if something is safe is to test it scientificallySocrates and Greeks of his time would execute ppl using the hemlock plant since it contains coniine which induces deathThere are many natural things that are deadly or dangerous bee sting snake venom scorpion venom poison ivyOrganic more expensive since they are grown without the aid of most agrochemicals which means you have lower yields and have to deal with most pestsno additives no chemical fertilizers only manure no synthetic pesticides no genetically modified componentsRight now the organic industry is rampant with fraud Things labeled organic may not be organic and so in Canada right now they are in the process of regulating this People buy organic for three reasons1For what it does not contain pesticide residue2For what they perceive it contains more nutrients3Environmental concerns This is the only one that can be scientifically sustained as an argumentGrowing organic food is less invasive to the environment less pesticides less fertilizersThere is pesticide contamination but it is not so worrisome Just bc it is there it doesnt mean it causes you harm But only the dose makes the poison and the dose of pesticide residue on food are very small Eighty percent of fresh foods tested in 200304 were residuefree For processed foods the residuefree portion was 90 percent
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