It started something like this: Someone started testing things in a test tube. The results were different than what they expected, because it was happening outside the complex environment of the digestive system – without the digestive acids and enzymes that are normally present, and outside the combinations of other nutrients present in the digestive tract. Test tube results are NEVER the same as those in the body, because test tube tests are run in isolation, without the presence of other naturally occurring elements.
The results were published – “This substance may cause harm, because it does this horrid thing. We don’t know for sure, because we only tested it in a test tube (in-vitro), and we have no idea whether the same thing happens in the body or not.”. It was enough for the food bloggers! Off they went! A good harmful substance, after all, is never to be wasted, especially if it is one that is found in a lot of food that we commonly consume! And especially if it fits their agenda!
So now we have people running around wringing their hands, and worrying over three things: Phytates, Oxalates, and Anti-Nutrients.
Guess what, people? You don’t have to worry about ANY OF THEM! Seriously!
Ok, so if you are vegan, you may have more of a TENDENCY to have a higher amount of improperly processed phytates. Even then, it is doubtful that it would ever cause a problem, because if it did, societies that have a high consumption of grains (almost all that have lower meat consumption) would have illnesses related to high phytates. Nope. Doesn’t happen.
If you have serious kidney disease, you MIGHT have a tendency for build-up of oxalates in the form of kidney stones. Then again, you might not. The fact is that even on a low oxalate diet, kidney stones develop (I have seen this personally). And they usually do NOT in the presence of a high oxalate diet. Generally when kidney stones develop, it is due to specific medical issues, not due to the presence or absence of oxalates in your diet.
Oxalates bind to heavy metals and other similar toxins, and are used in some chelation therapies to remove harmful substances from the body. There are, in fact, NO CREDIBLE SOURCES that recommend reduction of oxalates for anyone other than people with serious kidney disease. (For the uninformed, I do NOT consider WAPF to be a credible source, there is too much evidence to suggest that they make it up as they go, and their conclusions indicate that they rarely study the actual facts behind the issue – the only valid info they have is what they took from someone else – often INCONSISTENT with the works of Dr. Price, their own lab tests have been shown to be flawed by many other sources and are not respected within the scientific community.)
Anti-nutrients are also a myth. Pure fallacy. There are one or two plants, sometimes used as food in emergency situations (as in, we got lost in the Peruvian Jungle and had to survive on whatever did not kill our taste tester within an hour or two), which, if consumed in VERY LARGE (unnaturally massive) quantities, can interfere with the absorption of a nutrient or two. But really, people, they are NOT foods you find on your grocery store shelves! They are not foods you CAN eat much of on a daily basis, you just won’t be able to gag them down when your body has had enough of them. And they are not things that will sneak up on you unawares. Nutrients do not cancel out other nutrients. That does not happen in the human body in any way that is actually significant or meaningful, if it did, the human race would have been doomed long since! Anti-nutrients are a NON-ISSUE!
So what are phytates? Another word for phytic acid. They are found in common foods, which have been staples of ALL societies and cultural diets from time immemorial. (That should give us a clue, especially to those who CLAIM to have respect for traditional diets!) In the body, they break down, and become a vital source of phosphorus. Know what happens when you don’t have phosphorus? Here’s a list of symptoms that indicate low phosphorus:
- changes in your mental state (e.g. anxiety, irritability, or confusion)
- bone issues, such as pain, fragility, and poor development (in children)
- irregular breathing.
- loss of appetite.
- muscle weakness.
- weight gain or loss.
Pretty significant. In cases of malabsorption due to digestive tract issues, it may also be combined with low niacin (take niacinamide, or flush free if you supplement), low D (mostly D3, but not exclusively), and low Folic Acid. The combination of deficiencies in these, and sometimes magnesium, can lead to a schizophrenic type reaction, involving psychotic symptoms, and insomnia.
There is ABSOLUTELY NO evidence that lacto-fermentation reduces the presence of, or converts, phytic acid. There are many CLAIMS that it does so, but no actual studies to support those claims.
What about oxalates? Anything else we need to know?
Oxalates are SOUR. When you have them in high concentrations in a food, you CANNOT eat much of it! It makes your tongue sore! When it is in high enough concentrations to actually harm you, the effect they have on your body will prompt you to stop eating it! Very high oxalates (such as in water lettuce) will burn your tongue. You won’t keep eating it!
Oh, and heat neutralizes them. Breaks oxalates down, makes them no longer harmful. Again, NO evidence that fermentation affects them in any significant way whatsoever, the tests have not been done. It is all speculation.
In small amounts, they work in the body like many other substances that are a positive thing in small amounts, a negative thing in large amounts (true of most nutrients, by the way, if that were not the case, there would be no such thing as a vitamin or mineral overdose). You may crave those foods. If you do, eat them. Your body needs them. If you don’t feel like eating them, don’t. Your body doesn’t need them!
Remember, food bloggers make their money on problems, not on telling you there is NOT a problem. And heaven knows I have no motive to put this out there! If I wanted to profit from it, I’d be telling you the dangers, and I’d be quoting the unsubstantiated sources to persuade you that lacto-fermentation is the answer to the mythical ills! I don’t feel there is a need to make a tempest in a teapot over ordinary everyday foods that have been consumed for thousands of years. Those are, after all, the tried and tested things upon which traditional diets rely.
Enjoy your bread. Love your veggies. Eat those fruits! Savor the meat and dairy.
The ORIGINAL one-way valve fermenting airlock! Imitation IS the sincerest form of flattery, and we have noticed that our product has been copied by other sellers of fermenting products. Remember, if you see someone else selling a one-way valve airlock for fermenting, THEY copied US, not the other way around! Fermenta Lock is still the only original invention, handmade in the US. If it isn't orange, it isn't the original!
We invented Fermenta Lock, Fermenta Free, and the valve used for Fermenta Fido and other Fermenta Airlock products. We invented Fermenta Dunk Extender. Patents are prohibitively expensive, and designed by the government not to protect the rights of individuals, but to provide another source of revenue and control for the government and lawyers. We are good at what we do. We have endless ideas and endless creativity, and competition does not scare us. Impatient thieves do not scare us - they are too busy taking shortcuts to make a success of it anyway, and they won't want to take the effort to actually MAKE a product and fill orders.
So if you want to copy our idea, go right ahead. If you want to market and sell a competing product, you are welcome to do so, as long as you do not patent our idea - we had it first, and our posts on FaceBook announcing the invention and launch of it will prove that. This idea is officially in the public domain, placed there by us. We will NOT release supply sources, or part names unless you want to buy them - we'll be happy to sell you an instruction kit. If you buy our product, or look at the images and figure it out for yourself, good on you. Compete with us if you like, just don't screw us, and we'll get along just fine. Big companies who might want to screw us may have more money, and more lawyers than we do, but we have more to gain by suing the pants off a big company, and believe me, we will be well motivated to do so if anyone patents our idea and claims it as their own - this is a free idea. Everybody now owns it.
Published June 23, 2012
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