Enzymes, schmenzymes

I’ve just spent a good proportion of the commute home being sarcastic to the car radio. The reason?  I was listening to this, in which a ‘raw food’ enthusiast talked a lot of drivel about food.  Her regime involves not eating anything which has been heated above 48ºC, because this “destroys all its enzymes… and we need enzymes to digest our food.”  She talked about the ‘fact’ that we all have an ‘enzyme bank’ which gets ‘depleted’ and needs to be ‘topped up’ by eating food which has more enzymes in it.

The lack of basic science, rationality or good old fashioned common sense in these assertions astounds me.

  1. ‘Enzymes’ are not one substance. They are a whole bunch of substances that catalyse reactions. They help us to think. They help us to run. They help us to fight infections. And, yes, some of them help us to digest our food.
  2. Some of the enzymes in food, however, are for stuff like photosynthesis.  The ability to photosynthesise was not, last time I checked, a prerequisite for human existence.  So adding these to your ‘enzyme bank’ will do nothing at all for the balance.
  3. Enzymes are proteins.  Omnivores digest proteins, they do not put them to one side, intact, to use later when they fancy doing a bit of phosphorescing.
  4. You know what?  We can actually make our own enzymes!
  5. And anyway, if cooking food is bad, why has human life expectancy been increasing consistently ever since we discovered fire?

I’m constantly amazed by the amount of media exposure given to this kind of rubbish.  If you want to live on pizzas made from ‘nut cheese’ (whatever the hell that is) and sprouted wheat, then fine.  I’m not going to stop you, even though I reserve the right to think you’d have more fun with a nice cheese toastie.  But please, please, please don’t try to dress it up as science.


~ by somethingblonde on March 24, 2010.

2 Responses to “Enzymes, schmenzymes”

  1. You’re right of course…. but what can we DO?? Educating my own kid seems about the limit of my impact. Actually that’s not fair. Mr Bad Science and others are at least starting to put into the day-to-day melee of conversation between vaguely intelligent folks an awareness of the need for EVIDENCE. I’m refreshed by how many non-scientists I’ve come across that have read it. The almost complete opposite of how many religious folks have read the God Delusion. That just seems like a primer of shouty facts for the already well converted.

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