Paavo Airola - Nutrition Forum - Let's Live - June 1976 Index

Live Longer on Fried Foods?

Q. Enclosed is an article from the National Enquirer stating that a survey made of more than 422,000 men over a period of three years, shows that the more fried foods they ate, the longer they lived. This is against everything I've heard or read about eating fried foods. I think it is important enough for someone like yourself to comment on it. I will be watching Let's LIVE for your report. Wm. C.L., San Clemente, CA.

A. First, the Yale professor, Harold Morowitz, who drew this astonishing conclusion that eating more fried foods will extend life, did not conduct any actual research, but used data from the old so-called Hammond Report, which made a statistical link between cigarette smoking and cancer. Secondly, among a long list of factors related to longevity covered in the survey, eating habits was only one, and, therefore, cannot be taken out of context and used as a determining and even as contributing factor, without relating it to the other factors surveyed in the study. Studies show, Dr. Morowitz said, "The death rate decreased as the amount of fried foods eaten increased." He never considered, however, the possibility that heavy smokers may have eaten less regular meals with fried foods, so it may not have been the lack of fried foods that killed them, but the excessive smoking. True and reliable scientific conclusions must be based on all factors involved, not just this or that isolated phenomenon. An example: "Watching T.V. causes obesity", because a survey may show that among T.V. watchers, there are more fat people than thin people. But, is such a conclusion scientific? Here are some possible reasons why more people who watch T.V. are fat: There are more fat people than thin people, period. 60% of all Americans are considered to be overweight. T.V. watching is associated with snacking so it is not the T.V. watching, but eating during T.V. watching, which is actually causing obesity. Excessive T.V. watching takes up the time which could be used for exercise or other forms of physical activity. So, it is lack of sufficient exercise associated with T.V. watching that contributes to obesity, not T.V. watching as such.

Now, you can understand why I often say that so-called scientific research is like the Bible - you can prove anything you want with it! This is especially true regarding nutrition research. There is virtually no independent research on nutrition in this country. All research, whether in universities or private centers, is funded by commercial interests. And, "He who pays the piper calls the tune." That's why, when I hear of "new research", my trained mind automatically reacts with a question: who sponsored and paid for this research? Were oil or shortening industries involved in any way with this survey which showed that eating fried foods makes you live longer? My definite opinion, based on life-long studies, mostly empirical, is that fried foods will not improve your health or help you to live longer especially if you fry them with vegetable oils. Actually, vegetable oils, when heated to a very high temperature (as in frying) become carcinogenic. If you do any frying at all, you should use butter, or other animal fat, since saturated fatty acids are less vulnerable to damage by extreme heat than are unsaturated fatty acids, as in oils. And, of course, you should never use hydrogenated margarines for frying or eating in any form.

B15 and Arthritis

Q. I read your article in Let's LIVE regarding vitamin B15. I am in perfect health except for arthritis of both hips. The M.D.'s recommend hip replacement. I am trying to avoid this procedure. Could you tell me if vitamin B15 would help this condition. If so, where can I get it? D.M.F., Daly City, CA.

A. Vitamin B15 should be added to other vitamins and supplements which are routinely recommended in a biological program for treatment of arthritis, because it does help in the synthesis of corticosteroid hormones (vital for an arthritic) and also because B15 is an excellent detoxifier and helps to neutralize and excrete poisons from the system, particularly the excess of pyruvic and lactic acids. Since I wrote on B15 in Nutrition Forum (December, 1975) I have found that B15 is now sold in many health food stores although it is hard to get in California. Ask your health food store for it.

Cooking Beans

Q. In last October's issue, you listed several vegetables as well as some legumes which are healthier if eaten when cooked to remove certain toxins and enzyme inhibitors. Please list the specific legumes (in addition to peas), which you recommend to be cooked for healthier nutrition. Dr. L.H., Vancouver, Canada.

A. In addition to peas, the following legumes are better digested and assimilated when cooked: soybeans, lima beans, fava beans, garbanzo beans, pinto beans, and all other edible dry bean varieties.

Nutrition and Alcohol

Q. I know that drinking alcohol damages the liver, even if one eats an adequate diet. But I would like to know if there are any foods (or supplements, vitamins, minerals, etc.) that can minimize the damage alcohol may do. L.C., South Norwalk, Conn.

A. There are, indeed, nutritional factors that can have a protective effect and will minimize the damage alcohol may do, not only to the liver, but also to the whole body. Here they are:

  1. Vitamin C. Alcohol or rather the acetaldehyde into which alcohol is converted in the body is toxic. Vitamin C is a powerful detoxifier and, therefore, will help the "intoxicated body" to detoxify itself.
  2. Vitamin B1 (Thiamine). It is believed that B1 combines with acetaldehyde to form acetyl Coenzyme A, a beneficial factor involved in energy production.
  3. Zinc. Zinc is an important nutrient needed by the liver enzymes which convert alcohol first into acetaldehydes and then into a harmless substance, acetic acid. Thus, plentiful zinc in the diet will help the body to dispose of the harmful by-products of the alcohol.
  4. B-complex. Being a concentrated carbohydrate, excessive alcohol depletes the body of B vitamins (naturally occurring carbohydrates are always accompanied by B-complex). Taking supplementary B-complex will protect the liver from the damaging effect of alcohol and prevent B vitamin deficiencies often associated with excessive drinking.
  5. Brewer's yeast. In addition to being an excellent natural source of B1, other B-complex vitamins, and zinc the above mentioned protectors against the damaging effects of alcohol brewer's yeast is also an excellent source of high quality proteins, including the sulfur-containing amino acid, cysteine, which was found in animal studies to possess a specific protective property against acetaldehyde toxicity, especially in combination with vitamins C and B1. Other good natural sources of cysteine (or rather menthionine and cysteine, from which cysteine is derived) are: sesame seeds, sun flower seeds, Brazil and cashew nuts, peanuts, soybeans, and eggs.
Needless to say, alcohol is best left alone. But those who can't leave it alone would be wise to adhere to the Optimum Diet and take the above mentioned supplements as extra protection in minimizing the damaging effects of drinking.

Iron-Vitamin E Antagonism

Q. Does a ferrous gluconate tablet of 30 mg., when taken with, or too near, a vitamin E supplement, have an adverse effect on the E? L.E.D., Wisconsin Dells, Wisc.

A. Yes, it does, Iron tablets should be taken at least 10-12 hours before or after taking vitamin E. This applies only to supplementary iron and vitamin E. When these factors are present naturally in foods (often both in the same food), they are not antagonistic in their biological action.

Where to Study Naturopathy

Q. Can you give me an address to write to for more information about naturopathy, where to study it, and how to get certified, etc.? N.H., Grand Rapids, Mich.

A. To my knowledge, there is only one accredited, "on-campus" 4-year naturopathic college in the U.S. at present:

The N.D. degree from the National College is recognized by licensing boards in all states where naturopaths are allowed to practice. The correspondence-type of naturopathic education can also be obtained from:

Please write to these schools for additional information.

Increasing Height

Q. I've always been short for my age I suppose it is mostly heredity and there is little one can do about it ... but I keep trying! Do you have any nutritional suggestions for one who is tired of looking at belt buckles? Mr. D.J., Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

A. Heredity can be just a series of nutritional deficiencies, passed from generation to generation, as in certain zinc deficient areas of the Middle-East. When zinc supplements were given to some of the dwarfed individuals of the region, dramatic growth results were seen, establishing zinc as a definite growth factor. Good food sources of zinc include pumpkin and sunflower seeds, nuts, green leafy vegetables, onions, eggs, wheat bran and fresh wheat germ, oysters, and herring. Two of the most important foods for growth are milk and brewer's yeast. Milk seems to contain special growth factors, especially cow's milk. People in nations which consume lots of milk and milk products are definitely taller than in those who don't use much milk. Milk contains vitamin B13, or orotic acid, in the whey portion, and is a good source of calcium, which is known to play an important role in body growth. Brewer's yeast provides high-quality proteins, phosphorus (though extra calcium should be taken to offset its excess), B vitamins, especially B6 and B12 (only in B12-fortified yeast), zinc, and trace minerals, especially chromium and selenium, which are all important for proper growth. These minerals are found in such foods as green leafy vegetables, apricots, the bran of nuts and grains, citrus fruits, peas, raw egg yolk, fresh wheat peas, raw egg yolk, fresh wheat germ, blueberries, and kelp. Kelp contains iodine and a wide variety of minerals. Vitamins A and D affect growth, especially in children, D primarily in its metabolic relationship with calcium. Finally, the essential unsaturated fatty acids, or vitamin F are also related to growth. They are found in vegetable oils which should never be heated in processing or cooking as well as in seeds, nuts, and grains.

All mentioned factors are important to insure every possible growth support assistance for those concerned about their height.

One possible consolation: J.I. Rodale (who was short) maintained that short people are healthier, and he had plenty of evidence to prove it! Certainly, tallness is not an indication of good health. The Masai, THE TALLEST TRIBE IN Africa, are also the sickest and shortest-lived.

The Value of Food Enzymes

Q. I really enjoy your columns, and I hope you can answer my question about enzymes. I understand that food enzymes are destroyed by cooking. However, since they are also destroyed by the acidity of the stomach, what is the purpose of eating raw vegetables for their enzyme value? Could you please explain the importance and purpose of food enzymes? C.H., Norridge, IL.

A. At present, there is no specific evidence that enzymes in food play a useful enzymatic role in man's nutrition. With the exception of papain in papayas, and bromelain in pineapples, which do help in the digestive processes, most enzymes present in food are destroyed in the stomach, and digested and utilized as simple proteins. Enzymes are extremely important for one's health, and indeed, for one's very life. They trigger and direct virtually all functions within our bodies. But, all enzymes needed for such functions - thousands of different kinds of enzymes - are produced within our own bodies. The enzymes in the carrot exist for the metabolic processes within the carrot - our bodies cannot use them as enzymes.

This does not mean, however, that you can safely cook all your food to death and disregard the advice of most nutrition authorities regarding eating as much of your food as possible in a natural, raw state. Eating as much as possible of your food raw is important for many other reasons than protecting the enzymes. Cooking destroys many of the vitamins, leaches out many minerals, and changes the chemical structure of proteins or fats so that they become less assimilable. It is also possible that in the future we'll discover some other advantages of eating as much food as possible in the raw state. Perhaps even food enzymes in their raw state will be found to have some favorable health-promoting or disease-preventing effect - but not as enzymes. Remember, all the enzymes needed for the enzymatic functions in your body, are produced within your body. I know that this answer will be misread and misquoted, especially by fanatic raw food advocates. And, it will shock many readers who have heard and read so many unscientific notions about the benefit of eating raw foods because of enzymes. Please, don't crucify me for what I did not say! What I did say is that at this state of scientific knowledge, we do know that it is important to eat as much as possible of your food in its natural, raw state; cooking and frying destroys many vitamins, leaches out minerals, and changes the chemical structure of proteins and fats, rendering them less assimilable. These are the main reasons for eating most foods raw - not for the enzymes they contain.