Reactive Chemicals in 142 Food Items

Nutrient Interactions and Toxicity

Total Equivalent of Reactive Chemicals in 142 Human Food Items Is Highly Variable Within and Between Major Food Groups1

Min He*, Kyle Openo, Marji McCullough** and Dean P. Jones*,,2

* Nutrition and Health Sciences Program, Division of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, and Department of Medicine and Clinical and Molecular Nutrition Center, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322; and ** Epidemiology and Surveillance Research Department, American Cancer Society, Atlanta, GA 30329

2To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail:

Many reactive electrophilic chemicals (e.g., acrylamide and hydrazine) occur in foods, and these could individually or cumulatively contribute to human cancer or other diseases.

Glutathione (GSH) reacts with and detoxifies electrophilic compounds and is used physiologically to protect against a broad range of toxic and mutagenic compounds.

To elucidate the distribution of reactive chemicals in foods, we added a known amount of GSH to 142 commonly consumed food items and assayed the relative amounts of reactive chemicals in terms of the amount of GSH lost during homogenization and extraction, defined quantitatively in terms of glutathione-reactive units (GRUs).

Thirty-four items contained GRUs but no detectable GSH; 53 items contained both GSH and GRUs; 18 items contained no GSH or GRUs; and 37 items contained GSH but no detectable GRUs.

Among the food groups, cereals, bread, milk, and milk products had relatively high GRU concentrations and low GSH concentrations; several common beverages also had high GRU concentrations and low GSH concentrations; meats and main course dishes were generally low in GRUs and high in GSH.

Fruits and vegetables varied in GRU concentration, but most fresh fruits and vegetables had considerably more GSH than GRUs; exceptions were canned vegetables, which had no GSH or GRUs; fruit drinks, which had moderate levels of GRUs and no GSH; and 3 fruits (blueberries, cherries, and prunes), which had high GRU levels.

The results provide a database that can be used with food frequency analyses to evaluate the possible association of health risks with the consumption of foods high in GSH-reactive chemicals.

J. Nutr. 134:1114-1119, May 2004

MSG: Slow Poisoning of America

Source: Energetic Medicine, Thanks to Jim T

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