Week of Nov. 8, 2016 - Top Ten Worst Diet and Healthcare Choices - Sprouts

Wednesday, November 09, 2016 7:30 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

Top Ten Worst Diet and Healthcare Choices
& Ten Better Choices

Susun Weed 2016 ©

9.    Sprouts may be health food, but they are not healthy food. In fact, eating sprouts may be the biggest mistake of your life.

Mike Doyle, director of the Center for Food Safety says "I consider sprouts to be among the most risky foods sold at retail."

•    Sprouts have caused the two worst e-coli outbreaks in history.
•    In June 2011 sprouts in Germany killed 53 people and sickened more than 3,950.
•    In Japan in 1996 sprouts caused 9,441 illnesses, and killed 12.
•    In the US there were about 40 sprout-caused illness outbreaks between 1990 and 2010, causing kidney-failure, hospitalizations, and death.
•    In 2010 tainted alfalfa sprouts sold by Walmart sickened 22 people.
•    According to the World Health Organization, sprouts caused $1.3 billion in losses for farmers and industries and $236 million in emergency aid payments.
•    If the number of deaths and illnesses caused by sprouts were caused by terrorists, we would be outraged. But the real risks of eating sprouts are downplayed by those devoted to them.

FDA recommends: "If you purchase a sandwich or salad at a restaurant or delicatessen, make sure that raw sprouts have not been added." (I always remove any sprouts from food I am served.) Furthermore, according to the FDA: "Rinsing sprouts first will not remove bacteria."
Growing sprouts yourself is not safer. It is the nature of sprouts to be poisonous to humans. Sprouts are, after all, plant babies, and all babies have some protection. There are three major problems with sprouts: 1. Any bacteria on the seeds used for sprouting reproduce rapidly in the conditions ideal for sprouting. 2. Pathogens are created by the process of sprouting. 3. They are practically devoid of nutrition.

Note that when sprouts are successfully used by humans – as in malting grain prior to making beer or the addition of mung bean sprouts to Chinese dishes – they are well cooked and often allowed to grow to the stage of first true leaves.

Problem 1.
Disease-causing bacteria on seeds can double their numbers every 20 minutes in the warm, moist environment provided for sprouts. Since it takes days to grow sprouts big enough to eat, the bacterial count can reach astronomical numbers.  In nature, UV light kills off the bacteria, but sprouts are usually grown indoors, allowing any bacteria on the seeds (from animal feces) or in the water used to rinse them to thrive and multiply.

Problem 2.
Dr. Ames, UC Berkeley, was the first to identify carcinogens created by sprouts. Alfalfa sprouts contain up to 2% by weight canavanine, an arginine analog (arginine is an amino acid) that is incorporated into proteins, and has been shown to be associated with the development of lupus erythematosis (an autoimmune disease) in monkeys.

Dr. Ames maintains that many foods normally eaten contain carcinogens -- like hydrogen peroxide and methyl glyoxal in coffee, estragole in basil, safrole in saffron, symphitine in comfrey tea, psoralens in parsley and celery, hydrazines in mushrooms, piperine in black pepper, and allyl isothiocyanate in cabbage-family plant like broccoli.  And that the carcinogenic hazards of Nature’s pesticides are far greater than the minute traces of man-made pesticide in our diets. He estimated the average daily intake of pesticide residues in the U.S. at 150 micrograms, which is 10,000 fold less than the levels of naturally occurring pesticides we ordinarily eat.

It is telling that nothing in nature eats sprouts. Even the cut worms and flea beetles in my garden wait until true leaves appear on the baby plants before munching them down. And, as further evidence, the only culture that regularly eats sprouts – Chinese – lets their mung beans sprout until true leaves have emerged before cooking and eating them.

Problem 3.
Soaking a seed starts a complex chain of chemical and hormonal events which results in the growth of a radical (the root) and the emergence of the cotyledons (the seed leaves). This immature plant is called a sprout. When true leaves appear, the chemical and hormonal signature of the plant changes and it is now called a “micro-green.”

In the process of sprouting, the nutrition in the seed is first converted to sugars and then used up to create the root and seed leaves. Slightly-sprouted grains, like barley, when roasted, make malt, a sweetener.

Even if sprouts were nutritious (The Center for Science in the Public Interest puts them at last place in their list of nutrition in vegetables), those who eat them raw would not get those nutrients. And even if sprouts were nutritious and we could get nutrition from raw sprouts, we would still come up far short of the promises for sprouts weigh so little that one could eat a huge amount and still get very little.

Drink nourishing herbal infusions daily. Eaten well-cooked leafy greens. If you want fresh greens, grow your own salad mix; lettuces need little soil, grow fast, tolerate shade, and are unlikely to poison you.

Learn More:

Ames, BN. Dietary Carcinogens and Anticarcinogens. Science, September 23, 1983, 221: 1256-64.

Ames BN. Profet M, Gold LS, Dietary pesticides (99.99% all natural). Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., October 1990, 87: 7777-82.


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