Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving

Fruit: cause and cure for cancer?

4 Comments

A relative recently forwarded me a chain email that she had received several times, suggesting it might be useful blog fodder. The subject line read: Eating Fruit – In Perspective. The message was rather long so I’m not going to paste the whole thing in here. I’ll just give you a summary of the most salient points.

According to the email there is a Dr Stephen Mak who has been curing cancer patients using an unorthodox method. Apparently the trick is to always eat fruit on an empty¬†stomach. “If you eat fruit like that, it will play a major role to detoxify your system, supplying you with a great deal of energy for weight loss and other life activities.” Not only that, “graying hair, balding, nervous outburst, and dark circles under the eyes – all these will NOT happen if you take fruits on an empty stomach.” The article then states that eating fruit on a full stomach causes it to “rot” and “ferment” in the stomach causing gas and bloating.

The top hits of a google search for “Dr Stephen Mak” are sites deeming the fruit email quackery. It also appears that there is no such person as this Dr Mak. There is no reason to believe that cancer can be cured simply by the timing of fruit consumption. It frustrates me to see misinformation such as this being shared with desperate people. Eating fruit after a meal is not going to give you cancer.

Eating fruit on an empty stomach is not going to cure cancer. If curing cancer were so simple no one would be dying from it anymore. Eating fruit on an empty stomach will not cure anything, except maybe, hunger (although, personally, I always find an apple on an empty stomach always makes me feel hungrier).

Finally, it’s a common myth that eating fruit on a full stomach will cause it to rot and ferment. Think about it though… Your stomach is always churning your food around during digestion. It doesn’t matter what order you consume it in. The fruit is not going to sit on top; it’s going to get all mixed together with everything else you’ve eaten at that meal and all of your gastric juices. There is no possibility that it will rot in your stomach.

The only positive aspect of this message is that we should eat fruit.

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Author: Diana

I'm a registered dietitian from Nova Scotia, living and working in Ontario, Canada. My goal is to help people relearn how to have a healthy relationship with food.

4 thoughts on “Fruit: cause and cure for cancer?

  1. I hadn’t heard of this particular chain email, but regardless if they are sent in email or reposted or shared all over Facebook, these things annoy me to no end. I suppose the most annoying part is finding out who in the people I know actually eat these stories and myths up and share them. I want to respond in all caps “PLEASE, THINK CRITICALLY!” or do a simple Google search to see if there is ANY truth to the story. I often do the research and critical thinking for them (takes all of two minutes) and post a Snopes article or other debunked source.

    Gah! I guess it is a real pet peeve. Anyway, thank you for posting about this and finding a silver lining.

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  2. Well here’s a thought – What’s the harm in eating fruit on an empty stomach if you tolerate it better? I know nothing of this man or his claims but I can say that my son discovered completely incidentally that if he eats apples after a meal he has terrible indigestion. He was talking to an adult friend of ours, who mentioned that he had the same experience but went on to say that he discovered that when he ate an apple on an empty stomach he had no problems at all with it. The same is true for me when I have a fruit smoothie after a meal as opposed to in between meals – lot’s of bloating with the first scenario!

    I think this man is on to something here….the rest of it who can say? What I do know is that the food/fruits that God gave us to consume have power and potential for healing that we no very little to nothing about! The so called experts have decided better to study medicine than study food…..so WE have to study food. It’s absolutely preposterous, ludicrous, and down right insanity that Physicians spend only 24 hours of their medical training studying food and nutrition!! (A friend of mine who is a GI pathologist has confirmed this to me!) — Seriously? the FUEL that the body runs on? NOW tell me who’s wacked!

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  3. Pingback: [World Malayali Club] Eating fruit on an empty stomach | Vijay Kudal

  4. Lisa,

    Cancer is not a “disease” in the conventional sense. And all searches for a Dr. Stephen Mak or any studies associated with him will come up empty because he does not exist.

    Cancer is caused by cell mutations. No food you eat will reverse cell mutations. Eating a balanced diet will help reduce the frequency of your cells mutating, so will avoiding too much sun and an endless list of other things.

    Cell mutations are random, and a very large amount of genetic code is filler, so there is a large chance a mutation will cause zero effect. If a mutation causes issues, the cell will typically undergo apoptosis (commit suicide). Cancer is caused by a mutation that disables the apoptosis mechanism followed by a mutation that causes the cell to replicate non-stop instead of waiting for signalling/condition to promote it to do so.

    Once this happens you have a cancer cell. No food you eat will change this.

    Metastatis (the cell can exist in other body tissues) is yet a third mutation that allows the existing cancer cell to spread to other parts of the body.

    Good nutrition, as I’m sure Diana will attest, goes a long way to keeping your body operating at it’s best performance. This along with correct exercise (mental and physical) and sleep makes you the best you. Physicians and research scientists spend time studying mechanisms of failure and metabolic pathways they impact to be able to curb the impacts and try to fix the source of failure.

    Your comment is akin to saying “how come auto mechanics don’t train to be fuel formulation experts first?” It’s impractical and doesn’t hinder an auto mechanic from understanding the methods of failure in your engine block. If they see build up, they might recommend you get your fuel (or in this case diet) in order.

    I saw this email chain back in 2004-2005 when a lot of friends and family were asking me if it was “true” particularly since one of aunts was diagnosed with cancer.

    Christopher
    Bioreactor Reserach Engineer
    Biochemist

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