Keep a close eye on current food trends

EXCESSIVE consumption of “trendy” foods, “green” supplements and “detox” products can be harmful to health, warns one of Spain’s main consumer organisations.

The OCU says aloin, a bitter yellow-brown compound, and one of the main aloe vera components, can be toxic above a certain dosage. The exact volume is “under investigation” and safe levels for humans have not been determined.

The OCU warns: “Many European countries do not have adequate monitoring systems” for this plant-based substance. The milder downside is that aloin can create a laxative effect, and, if this is apparent, consumption of aloe vera juice or supplements should be cut down considerably.

Taking green-tea supplements, or drinking it in huge quantities, can also be associated with liver damage, according to the OCU.

Catechins are abundant in green tea, and these are the elements associated with the natural antioxidant effect, which helps prevent cell damage. But consuming more than 800 milligrams a day is harmful to the liver.

This quantity would not come from three or four cups of green tea a day. But in the case of green-tea extract supplements, often taken by those who want the benefits but don’t like the bitter taste, exceeding the daily catechin maximum could be a significant risk.

“Detox” smoothies, such as “green juice”, which is popular in the US and is made from a combination of green vegetables and fruit, are not proven, scientifically, to clear the system of toxins.

In fact, in fact, nutritionists point out that humans do not need to “detox”, since their kidneys, liver, lymph glands and other bodily functions do so quite adequately.

Oxalic acid, naturally present in green, leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale, can cause extremely painful kidney stones if more than 180 milligrams a day is consumed.

High doses of oxalic acid are also associated with the body’s failure to absorb other necessary minerals, such as calcium, iron and potassium.

The nitrate content in these types of drink are of particular concern, since green, leafy vegetables contain much higher concentrations of this type of chemical than other plant-based products.

Many types of processed meat have nitrates added, to improve their colour and preserve them. But high levels of nitrates and nitrites can create nitrosamines in the human body, increasing the risk of cancer. Also, nitrates have been associated with migraines.

And, unless cooked thoroughly, fresh greens also carry the risk of passing on bacteria, or certain types of virus, since they have not been subjected to any type of preservation treatment. Raw, shiitake mushrooms, another “fashionable food” which has shot up in recent years, has been associated with a much higher incidence of dermatitis, especially in France.

That’s because it has a high content of lentinan, a natural sugar found in these vegetables, which is killed off when exposed to the cooking heat.

Symptoms can last for between three and 21 days, and patients end up having to be treated with cortico-steroids or antihistamines, or both.

Seaweed, in excessive volume, can lead to an iodine overdose, says the OCU. It also contains a high content of heavy metals, such as arsenic, and can be carriers of chemical and microbiological pollutants.

Seaweed, used as feed for livestock or in arable farming, can be toxic for the animals and can contaminate the soil.


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Posted by on Mar 15 2019. Filed under Food. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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