Autoimmune Thyroid Disease

An Unfortunate and Lengthy Adventure in Misdiagnosis

The "five a day" rant

with one comment

So mentioning fruit juice in the last post has got me going. This subject makes me so annoyed, especially when it comes to children’s nutrition. I am so sick of hearing this misleading hype in the media about fruit juice being healthy for you and all the rot about “five a day”.

I guess a lot of people contemplating the failsafe diet worry about not getting enough vitamins from fruit and vegetables. What they don’t know is that fruit and vegetables really aren’t a good source of vitamins and minerals.

Fruits and vegetables contain:

  • Carotinoids including beta-carotene
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin K

And that’s it. Nothing else in more than trace quantities. They also contain:

  • Salicylates (cause food chemical sensitivity)
  • Lectins (cause arthritis, stomach ulcers, type I diabetes, autoimmune conditions)
  • Goiterogens (thyroid depressants)
  • Oxalic acid and oxalates (cause kidney stones, inhibit mineral absorption causing deficiencies)
  • Phytic acid and phytates (inhibit mineral absorption causing deficiencies)
  • Fructose (raises insulin levels abnormally)

But back to the vitamins.

  • Beta-carotene is just a poor source of Vitamin A, which is found in egg yolks, butter, and liver.
  • Vitamin C can be taken as a supplement, and its requirement is increased by dietary carbohydrate. Eat less carbs and you require less vitamin C. (This was the principle that kept Vilhjalmur Stefansson scurvy-free in the arctic).
  • Vitamin K is found in fermented foods like yoghurt, is made in the colon by bacteria, and is found in the best form in animal foods like eggs and grass-fed butter.

The rest of the vitamins and minerals in your diet are all provided largely by other, mainly animal sources. Even much-maligned bread contains more vitamins than fruits and vegetables per serving. Furthermore, most fruits and vegetables contain barely any vitamin C. Oranges, peppers, blackcurrants and sprouts are the exceptions rather than the rule. You could quite easily eat your “five a day” and completely fail to achieve your RDA of vitamin C. Why? Because “five a day” is rubbish advice. “Fresh, frozen, chilled, canned, 100% juice and smoothies all count, as do dried fruit and vegetables” says the NHS (who couldn’t help me with my eczema, fibromyalgia, or my chronic ear ache).

So as part of your “five a day” you could eat:

  • An orange (picked prior to ripening and shipped from California and found not to contain even trace amounts of vitamin C)
  • Some tropical fruit juice (AKA “rocket fuel for kids”, packed full of delicious salicylates and also lacking in vitamin C, and containing enough fructose to make you hungry before lunch)
  • Some dried currants (vitamin content destroyed due to heat-drying process, also contains added sugar, salicylates, and sulphites for your asthmatic child to wheeze on)
  • Some canned apples in syrup (mmm makes your teeth feel great. Vitamin content? Nil.)
  • Some frozen spinach (containing beta-carotene, goiterogens, salicylates, oxalates, phytates, poorly absorbed iron, and really tasty to boot)
  • Some bagged salad (packaged in modified atmosphere packaging, thus neutralising the vitamin content entirely but leaving the salicylates, and phytates intact)

Hey, that’s six a day! But see what I mean? Rubbish advice. The government has kow-towed to food industry arm-twisting. Most people don’t even know that potatoes don’t count!

But wait a minute, what about all those flavinoids and bioflavinoids and antioxidants they talk about that make fruit and vegetables so ‘healthy’?

Well. They actually haven’t found a purpose for them. There is no such deficiency as a flavinoid deficiency. Indeed, the most powerful antioxidants are vitamins A, D, E, and K, all found in fats, not fruit and vegetables. Cholesterol is also a powerful antioxidant, and the body makes that for itself completely independently of the cholesterol content of your diet. Uric acid, which your body makes from protein is a powerful antioxidant. Ketones are actually antioxidants. Glutathione, which is made in your liver from the precursor cysteine – found in eggs – is a very powerful antioxidant. Selenium, found in meat, is a very powerful antioxidant. In fact the body’s main built in antioxidant system is a combination of vitamin C, E, selenium, and glutathione.

What “five a day” doesn’t acknowledge is that many fruit and vegetables are lacking in nutrients due to the way they have been farmed and shipped around the world. Nor does it acknowledge that fruits and vegetables contain many harmful or even poisonous substances and must be chosen and prepared very carefully. “Eat five of them” is meaningless to the nutritional value, as the nutritional value varies wildly depending on what kind of fruit or vegetable you eat.

Back to fruit juice in particular. One of the most disturbing things I heard of was a health worker recommending that a child be fed 100% fruit juice instead of “fatty” milk! When fruit juice is fed to children it displaces milk, and therefore displaces the calories and essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals that milk provides. Children don’t have big appetites or stomachs, but they need to eat almost as many calories as adults in order to grow and develop correctly mentally and physically, and one way they can do this is by drinking milk. Full fat milk is far, far more nutritionally dense than fruit juice, and full-fat milk does not come with the same high-GI sugar-rush or salicylate load. I can’t think of anything worse to feed a child than fruit juice, with the exception of dried milk formula with the milk fat replaced by vegetable oil. Rest assured, if you’re doing the failsafe diet, you’re not depriving your child of vitamins by banning fruit juice, you’re doing him or her a favour. Treat them to some thick, cream-coloured Jersey cow milk instead.


Written by alienrobotgirl

6 March, 2006 at 5:26 pm

One Response

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  1. Aaaahhhhh, my daughter and I are both intolerant to milk..what should we do…I just want to find some food to eat!


    7 April, 2007 at 6:18 am

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