Fermented Foods: Facts Versus Fiction

Many of us have heard that fermented foods, such as, yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, miso, tempeh, etc. will benefit us health-wise.  We were told that fermenting foods preserved them, replaced beneficial bacteria in the intestines, would make them easier to digest and would help extend the human lifespan. Is this information true or false? Fact or Fiction?

Does fermenting foods preserve them? Yes, but at what cost! Is it beneficial to eat foods which have been fermented ? Is a longer shelf life a plus or a minus?

What exactly is fermentation? It is the process whereby food starts to decompose, until it has completely rotted. To halt the fermentation process, either salt, vinegar or extreme cold is used to inhibit the growth of the bacteria living in the food. Many fermented foods are heavily salted. This kills and inhibits the life force in the food. It prevents the native bacteria from multiplying to the point where putrefaction occurs. Salt is not harmless . It throws the body out of balance in high amounts. Pickles, sauerkraut, cheese and other fermented foods are very heavily salted. Foods preserved with salt should not be included in the diet of health-oriented humans. .

Vinegar is another popular additive used in fermenting foods. Vinegar itself is the result of fermentation and is used in concentration to halt the decay of fermented food. Vinegar, impedes digestion, destroys healthy blood cells, and irritates the membranes. Pickles and other foods which have been soaked in vinegar are rendered totally indigestible. Many times the digestive juices can’t penetrate the food preserved by vinegar, and so the fermented food passes through the system undigested. A few fermented foods, such as, beer and yogurt, are not preserved by vinegar or salted. They are bottled to inhibit the growth of bacteria or kept at low temperatures.

Do these preservation methods sound as if they would benefit your body? Extreme cold will change the nutrient value of food within a short period of time. Many are unaware that frozen foods have a limited shelf life. People formerly used to use cold cellars to store foods. However, this is not a good answer either, because food continues losing nutrient value, after it is harvested. There is a major nutritional difference between fresh food and food that is months old.

What about replacing beneficial bacteria? Many people believe that they can reestablish good bacteria in the intestines by eating fermented foods. It sounds good, but there is little scientific proof that this works. Much research has been done to see, if this is possible. According to a study reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the influence of “dietary micro flora (bacteria) on the large intestine micro flora is unsubstantiated.” The researchers also discovered that even eating two pounds daily of true Bulgarian yogurt “failed to elicit a response in the intestinal flora.”

It is not easy for beneficial bacteria to survive the hydrochloric acid in the stomach, if they truly exist in these fermented foods that people are eating. For example, studies have been done on different yogurts in the marketplace Many yogurts have been tested for bacteria, before they have gone through total processing. What they may have started out with was considerably higher bacteria-wise than what they wound up with. Many do not have the amount of healthy bacteria that they are claiming. People are being misled as to the amount of good bacteria in the commercial products they are buying. Some yogurts have little, if any. In addition, do good bacteria survive the trip through the stomach acids on their way to the intestines?

What about fermented foods aiding digestion? When a person eats a rotten or spoiled food, the body gets rid of it as quickly as possible through the elimination system.  If it is extremely putrefactive, diarrhea ensues.  When the food is fermented, there will be an increased movement in the intestines. Some may think this is of benefit to them, but in reality the body is simply trying to expel a substandard food.

The idea that fermented foods could make digestion easier most likely came from the observations of people who could not stomach whole milk, but could eat yogurt or other fermented milk products Realize this that over 70% of the world‘s adults can‘t digest milk. They lack a digestive enzyme called lactase that is needed to digest milk sugar or lactoseUndigested lactose results in diarrhea, cramping and abdominal pains. Fermented milk products are low in lactose, and cause less discomfort than unfermented milk. Lactic acid build-up in the body, which comes from eating dairy products, can cause a great deal of muscle tightness and pain, after an exercise session.

Two things can be recognized from this discussion. First. Fermented foods don’t aid digestion, but just happen to be low in lactose, which causes digestive stress.Foods don’t “aid” digestion. Digestion is a process whereby the body produces enzymes or hydrochloric acid, which breaks down a food so it can be digested. Foods, such as fresh raw fruit and vegetables, have their own living enzymes, which help facilitate this process. However, unsuitable foods disrupt digestion (like milk and its products), not aid it.

The second thing, there are foods that were not designed for human beings to eat – and milk, milk products and soy in any form cause health problems. If a food can not be eaten in a natural unprocessed state, then it is not a suitable food for the human diet. If milk has to be fermented (or partially decomposed) before it can be tolerated, it stands to reason that it wasn’t designed for human consumption. Eating the wrong food causes radical damage in the human body.

Remember that foods cannot improve the digestive system, but the wrong foods can impede it. Digestion is improved by allowing the digestive system to take a break occasionally by going on raw fruits and vegetable juices; or even a short water fast. This will help in regenerating the digestive system – not by swallowing a fermented and rotted food..

What are the down sides of eating fermented foods? How about the waste products that are generated by indulging one’s appetite in this way? When foods ferment or decompose, waste products occur, such as alcohol. Fermented foods such as soy sauce contain alcohol. It may be a limited amount, but it can affect the cells in the body. Ammonia is another byproduct. Fermented soy may contain as much as 15%. This is not something beneficial; it is harmful in any amount. Vinegar, in the form of acetic acid,also occurs from fermentation. Vinegar gives fermented foods their sharp or sour taste. Vinegar causes a food preserved and filled with vinegar to become indigestible. There is another acid formed by fermenting foods, lactic acid, as mentioned earlier, which is not something the human body needs. It is a waste product. Carbonic acid is found in fermented foods as well as, soft drinks. All of these acids are the wastes produced by the bacteria which are feeding on the decomposing “fermented” foods.

What about extending the human lifespan? We have been told that people in the Caucasus region of Russia were long lived, because they ate yogurt and kefir. This information was first attributed to an overly-enthusiastic researcher named Ilya Metchnikoff who visited the Bulgarians around the turn of the 20th century. He drew a correlation between the longevity of the people in the area and their consumption of yogurt and kefir. There were no scientific studies done to determine the validity of his observations.

Other health writers since then accepted Metchnikoff’s theory as truth and let their imaginations work overtime. The truth is this: There has never been any validated research which indicates that yogurt or any other food has “life-prolonging” properties. One nutritional researcher, Beatrice Trum Hunter, states that “the yogurt in the long-lived Bulgarian’s diet was by no means the reason. The generous quantities of home-grown vegetables and their stress-free lifestyle played vital roles in health and longevity of these people.

A long life, full of happiness and well-being, has as one of its requirements that wholesome natural foods in an unprocessed state would make up the diet.Fermented and rotting foods could not be considered wholesome or natural in any way. No way, could yogurt or any other fermented food be presented as longevity foods with “miraculous” properties by those who don’t have the scientific research to back up their claims.

Why these foods are lower in nutrient value. Foods highest in nutrition are fresh and unprocessed. As soon as a food is tampered with in any way, nutrient loss occurs. The longer a food is held in storage, the lower it becomes in nutrition. Fermented foods are usually processed or destroyed in some way. You can eat a pickle that was once a cucumber, perhaps one to two years ago. It is doubtful, if it has any value. Many times, foods are first heated to a high temperature before fermentation is allowed to occur. Milk is first heated or pasteurized to kill off all bacteria. Then a specific bacterial strain is added to ferment it into yogurt. If heat is not used, then the food is often chopped, sliced, smashed or blended. Whenever foods are cut, chopped or sliced to start the fermentation process, rapid oxidation of the food and nutrient loss occur. For example, a whole head of cabbage does not readily ferment, but if you bruise or chop it into pieces, then the bacteria will do their natural job of finishing the decomposition process.

Another reason given for eating fermented food – they are high in B-vitamins; or they may help the body to produce more B12 in the intestines. However, this is a fallacy. According to research, the levels of B12 appear to be reduced by eating fermented foods. A Bulgarian report indicates that the bacteria within yogurt use the B12 for their own growth. The B12 in kefir (a fermented milk drink) decreases in proportion to its fermentation. Instead of adding nutritional benefits to the food, fermentation decreases vitamin and mineral availability.

Let’s check out Soy: Many fermented foods eaten in the world are derived from soybeans. They originated in the Orient, but in the last few years sales have greatlyincreased in the United States. However, does this mean that they are healthy for us? You probably are more aware by now of the lack of value of fermented foods, but soy contains goitrogens which affect the thyroid and fermenting soy does not remove these goitrogens. It also contains very high levels of aluminum and manganese. In addition it contains hemagglutinin a clot-promoting substance that causes red blood cells to clump together. These clumped cells are unable to properly absorb and distribute oxygen to the tissues. 91% of the soybeans grown in the US are now genetically modified  Now, let’s look at some soy foods:

Soy Sauce or Tamari: This is the most popular fermented soy product. It is a liquid made from fermenting soybeans and sometimes wheat in large barrels. The end product is a very dark and salty liquid. It contains ammonia, alcohol and various acids. It is also 18% salt.

Miso: Another high-salt fermented food made from soybeans principally. It is used in great quantities by the Japanese, which makes them the highest salt-consuming nation on earth with the highest rate of stomach cancer attributed to their high intake of fermented and pickled foods.

Tempeh: This is not a widely known fermented soy food yet, but it is being aggressively marketed by the soy industries in this country and our Department of Agriculture. Tempeh is a cake of souring soybeans that have a heavy layer of grey-white mold growing all over them. This heavy layer of mold is supposed to make the soybeans more digestible (incidentally, soybeans are probably the hardest to digest of all beans; none of which are easy to digest).

Research in the last 15 years has shown that there are a dozen different toxins produced by molds. Different molds produce different toxins. Aflatoxin is the best known toxin and is a potent cancer-causing agent. All molds, however, produce their own unique toxin. Cooking does not destroy the toxins produced by mold. Why anyone would eat a food covered with mold is a mystery.

Other fermented foods:

Dairy has already been covered, but there is a another dark side to yogurt…Research in the last 10 years has connected it with the growth of cataracts. A cataract is a cloudiness over the lens of the eye. In severe cases it can cause blindness. In animal experiments, all animals that were fed yogurt exclusively for several months developed cataracts in both eyes. In parts of India where yogurt is a big part of the diet, the incidence of cataracts is very high. Researchers finally decided that some individuals may develop cataracts if they eat foods containing high amounts of galactose (a sugar less soluble and sweet than glucose). Yogurt is one of the highest foods in galactose. Most commercial yogurts are 22% to 24% galactose. It is not the “Perfect” diet food. It is high in saturated animal fat and although plain yogurt has 154 calories per cup; 80% of all yogurt eaten is the sweetened fruit-flavored variety, which has 275 calories a cup. There is nothing magical or healthy about eating yogurt. It is not a longevity food.

Cheese is a popular fermented food: Let’s discuss rennet. The fermentation process in the making of cheese is by adding rennet to milk. Rennet contains the enzyme rennin which is found in the stomach of a cow. How is it obtained? The stomachs of cows are scraped in order to obtain rennet. These stomach extracts are then added to milk for curdling the cheese. Next time you feel tempted to eat cheese think about this procedure, Cheese is a food that is continually rotting…mold forms on it fairly rapidly. It is definitely not a health food.

Buttermilk, kefir and sour cream: These foods are substandard and highly over-rated. dairy products, which can produce unhealthy benefits in the human body. Buttermilk frequently has sodium added to it; kefir is usually sweetened; and sour cream has to have preservatives to keep it from becoming totally putrid. Sour cream is exactly that – cream that has soured and gone bad. Most dairy products have been adulterated, before being sold. Pasteurization destroys bacteria and nutrients…and no unnatural supplementation will make this food nutritious.

Pickled vegetables should not be eaten. They are heavily salted, spiced and preserved. Think of the Japanese with their high rate of stomach cancer who eat this type of food. The best way vegetables should be eaten – in salads or juiced.

Last, but not least: Sourdough bread, fermented “nut” cheeses, salt-less sauerkraut and then there are fermented drinks, such as beer and wine. .I am sure that there are other foods that people have experimented with, but these are the main ones… TO AVOID.

There are two things you need to know about these and all other fermented foods.First these foods are not something we need in our diet. They offer no special nutrients, contain no “beneficial” bacteria and have no ability to extend our lives. Secondly, all fermented foods contain harmful bacterial waste byproducts as well as excessive salt, vinegar, acids and toxins.. They offer nothing to benefit the body.

In order to be healthy people need to eat a bio-chemically perfect diet of fresh, raw, unprocessed fruits, vegetables, nuts, specific seeds, such as, chia, hemp or flax; and specific sprouts. No soy sprouts!!! Eating rotting, putrefying and decomposing food is a habit, which needs to be eliminated; along with meat-eating and junk food. Dedicated health seekers should not find it hard to give up foods that provide toxic waste.

The above information that I gathered came mainly from the Natural Hygiene Society: www.rawfoodexplained.com However, it is something that I have known and followed for years. It feels great to wake up every morning feeling good. Truth is simple, not complex. If people ate right they would never get sick. Eating right is 95% of the key to good health and longevity.

Healthfully Yours,

Barbara Charis

P.S. I personally eat a small amount of other foods, besides fruits and vegetables. Two categories that I also advise people to avoid…dairy and grains.

6 thoughts on “Fermented Foods: Facts Versus Fiction

  1. Alia

    hi there im not sure who to ask this question to but you seem to know what you’re talking about so here is my question. E numbers like E102 are produced through fermentation, now if this ingredient along with other E numbers produced in the same way are in products like sweets would that contain enough alcohol that one would become intoxicated or would it be suitable for consumption for anyone who wants to avoid alcohol all together or at least prevent intoxication of any type?

    1. Barbara Charis Post author

      Dr. Norman Walker who lived 118 healthy years (according to his baptismal record) advised people to eat primarily fruit and vegetables. He did not advocate using any fermented foods. Mankind survived throughout early history as a forager. There were no dishes or utensils…and man survived. Our bodies have not changed that much since those times. It is as Shakespeare was quoted as saying back in the late 1500s. “Man has lost his ability to reason.” We rely on those who really don’t have all the answers. If their answers were so good, there would not be devastating diseases wiping out humanity.
      I occasionally will have a drink with tequila. It comes from cactus and it does not affect me in the least. If I have a tiny amount of wine, it makes me tipsy. We are all biochemically unique!
      Barbara Charis

  2. Kiah

    Ummm. Not sure where you’ve gotten your info but it’s wrong!!! I recommend you pick up the book called Probiotics!

    1. Barbara Charis Post author

      Sorry to have taken so long to reply. You asked where I got my information? I am totally into the Creator whose energy/life force is what keeps all humanity alive. I ask for guidance in everything I do…and have learned to discount most information coming from “experts.” I learned the hard way that the information that is considered to be valid…isn’t. I wound up with many problems following it over the years. Today, i am in better shape at 82 than I was 60 years ago. I did 1,000,000 stairs last year…working on getting into top condition. If people ate the foods our Maker created…and didn’t buy into the B.S. that is available…America would not be so low down on the totem pole.Americans spend more on medical care than any other country…and the information we are getting about nutrition is far from valid. It is very questionable, if probiotics can survive the trip through the stomach juices. Years ago many questioned this theory. People would rarely get sick in the first place, if they ate foods that were biochemically correct for them. I went 13 years without a sniffle, until I started drinking coffee with half and half for a short period of time; and wound up with a terrible hack for almost a month. Law of Cause and Effect!!

  3. Nafisa Khan

    I think you are talking nonsense. Lots of people cannot digest certain foods and I think fermented food and probiotics certainly easte these symtpoms. If you were right, the whole world is selling yoghurts, pickles, cheese, and so on which are in fact nutritious to people that are lactose intolerant. You are discouraging and confusing a lot of people into healthy eating and keep your own version on the human body and food opinions to yourself if you do not have scientific information.

    1. Barbara Charis Post author

      Mankind has lost its ability to think. There is no logic being used. Where did mankind start out? What foods were designed by our Maker for our bodies? There were absolutely no utensils…no dishes…no pottery or metal. Humans started out in a hot, jungle area. They had no clothes; nor shelter. They ate like the gorillas eat today; fruits and greens. There was no agriculture. No cultivation of crops or animals. For thousands of years mankind ate the foods, it was designed to eat.
      If mankind had stayed with the foods that its system was designed to eat, there would be no health problems today. Look at the end result of the Standard American Diet (S.A.D.!!) The tastebuds and craving for variety has been costly. Americans spend more on medical care than any other country in the world.
      There is no doctor who has spent 56 years reading and researching; and achieving my results. I started an exercise program in October 2014…at 80. In 2015 I did 1,000,000 stairs; in 2016 905,000 stairs; and at 83, in 2017 I am over 2/3’s of the way to 1,000,000 as of this date. I feel better today than I felt in my 20s. The mortality of the average medical doctor: 73 years.
      How does one learn? By experimenting with all the available information; much of which got me in trouble, a number of times.
      Scientific information is not infallible. It has produced heart disease, cancer and other diseases. which are rampant today.


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