• Giulianni Giraldo

Chemicals Are Bad For You?

I’m going to begin this article with a quote that I found that drew my attention.

“If a third grader can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it”. – Food Baby

For some people this may sound reasonable, but to me? Well, you’ll find out in a minute. But first, I’m going to put YOU to the test.

Read the following:

Alpha-Linolenic-Acid, Asparagine, D-Categin, Isoqurctrin, Hyperoside, Ferulic-Acid, Farnesene, Neoxathin, Phosphatidyl-Choline, Reynoutrin, Sinapic-Acid, Caffeic-Acid, Chlorogenic-Acid, P-Hydroxy-Benzoic-Acid, P-Coumaric-Acid, Avicularin, Lutein, Quercitin, Rutin, Ursolic-Acid, Protocatechuic-Acid, Tryptophan, Threonine, Isoleucine, Leucine, Lycine, Methionine, Cystine, Phenylalanine, Tyrosine, Valine, Argenine, Histidine, Alanine, Aspartic Acid, Glutamic Acid, Glycine, Proline, and Serine...

A lot of scary words in there huh? How many times did you stutter while reading this list? And I’m guessing you’re not a third grader. And want to know where they all come from?

They are the chemical constituents of an apple. Yeah that’s right, an APPLE!

Now I’m going to take a wild guess here and assume you consider an apple a healthy part of any diet, as you should. Because damn; apples are awesome, and they are full of vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytonutrients. Plus they taste great! Why do you think so many diet books have apples on the cover? Because they are the image of health!

Remember that old saying: An apple a day keeps the doctor away?

Well, because apples are good for you! And just because you can’t pronounce more than half the things in it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat it!

Fear mongering is easy, all you have to do is use big words and maybe even throw in the word “chemicals” and you got yourself a terrifying claim. But we have to learn to see throw this fear mongering and exercise skepticism, and not just fall for any claim that someone makes. We need to question their claims, ask for evidence, study the evidence and conclude whether or not the claim is reasonable.

The reason why I will not take the “chemicals are bad” claim seriously is because whoever does this immediately shows their lack of knowledge on the subject. And there’s a very simple reason for that…

We ARE a chemical reaction! Life on earth and everything around you is made up of chemicals. It’s the reason why we are alive and we exist in this universe. So to make such a nonsensical claim like “chemicals are bad” is fundamentally wrong!

Another important point you need to take into account is the dosages. It’s the amount that makes the poison. Pretty much anything can be deadly in the right amount. Even things such as water and vitamins can be lethal in excess. So we need to see whether or not certain compounds can be detrimental to us, and how much of said compound is needed to cause harm.

Cashews contain urushiol, a chemical compound found in poison ivy. Chilies contain capsaicin, a chemical used as a paint stripper. Potatoes and domestically grown tomatoes contain glycoalkaloid poison. Almonds and apples contain cyanide. Bananas have radioactive potassium. Kidney beans contain lectin. Zucchini contains cucurbitacins…

All of these compounds are potentially deadly for humans. Yet they are found in foods that we consider “healthy”. But as I said before, it’s the dosage that makes the poison.

How many bananas do you think you have to eat to get radiation poisoning? I’m pretty sure your stomach will explode before you get anywhere close to its harmful effects.

Be a skeptic; don’t just take anyone’s word as fact. Do some research, and most importantly… EXTRAORDINARY claims require EXTRAORDINARY evidence! So when someone tells you “chemicals are bad” simply ask: What chemicals? Do you have evidence that a certain compound in a certain food is bad? If so, show me that evidence and lets exam its validity. Does your evidence imply a correlation or does it show causation? Its important to analize things and be reasonable with our claims.

So what’s the take home message?

The dosage makes the poison, and just because something is a chemical doesn’t mean its bad for you. And as always, practice BALANCE and MODERATION!

Thank you for reading! If you have any questions, leave a comment below!