First ever useful chain letter

I usually don’t, you know, read chain-letters, but this one hit my inbox and caught my eye, not least because it appeared to be from someone I know and trust…although closer inspection of the email headers revealed that they were simply one of dozens of people to have been cc’ed when the messages was forward for the umpteenth time.

Anyway, this is what it said:

“Warm Water After a Meal — It is nice to have a cold drink after a meal. However, could it be that the cold water will solidify the oily stuff that you have just consumed. It will slow down digestion and once this “sludge” reacts with the acid, it will break down and be absorbed by the intestine faster than the solid food. It will line the intestine. Very soon, this will turn into fats and can lead to cancer. It is best to drink hot soup or warm tea/water after a meal.

The Chinese and Japanese drink hot tea with their meals…not cold water.. maybe it is time we adopt their drinking habit while eating!”

Now, that part sounds fairly reasonable but for the fact that it was couched in a rather unscientific manner, but I think there might just be something in the idea that any warm fats your ingest could indeed become solid once they have cold water poured on to them. Although they don’t say anything about the churning and warming of food by the stomach itself. Moreover, whether that leads to digestive problems, coating of the intestine with fat, and ultimately cancer, is a different matter. It may or it may not. I’d like to see some test results on that before forwarding this chain letter.

Meanwhile, on a totally different theme, albeit still health related, the chain letter goes on to say:

“A serious note about heart attacks — Women should know that not every heart attack symptom is going to be the left arm hurting. Be aware of intense pain in the jaw line as well. You may never have the first chest pain during the course of a heart attack. Nausea and intense sweating are also common symptoms. 60% of people who have a heart attack while they are asleep do not wake up. A pain in the jaw can wake some from a sound sleep. Let’s be careful and be aware The more we know, the better chance we could survive.”

Apparently, some anonymous cardiologist says that if everyone who receives the email forwards it to 10 people, you can be sure that we’ll save at least one life. I suppose statistically that number could be even higher if you have even a 105 marketing hit rate in sending the message on to friends and family. But, I prefer to blog about these things and not simply forward emails. Do any cardiologist readers have any comment on this method of nocturnal myocardial infarction prevention, I wonder?

6 thoughts on “First ever useful chain letter”

  1. Renzo…I know…I was taking the piss! You don’t really think I thought a chain letter was useful do you?

    However, if you want to dispute a statement make sure you have your own facts straight. The temperature of any substance that enters the body is not true if that substance is at a higher temperature than the body. Moreover, I think you’d find that eating a large quantity of dry ice quickly would rapidly lower your core temperature to a lethal level and would not be advisable.

  2. This is totally false. Simply starting from the fact that the temperature any substance that enters the body is quickly raised, making impossible for it to “cool down” anything for too long. Even a piece of ice big enough to go down your throat will be completely dissolved a in few seconds in your stomach (if it even reaches it).

    Another stupid lie to fuel the never ending useless chain letters.

    The truth shall set you free…

  3. Not one word of it is credible to a biologist. I admit that I study plants, and so could be proven wrong by a physiologist, but in the absence of one, I’ll do what I can.

    “It is nice to have a cold drink after a meal. However, could it be that the cold water will solidify the oily stuff that you have just consumed.”
    —First, core body temperature will be maintained at all costs, and the water will be heated up by your body much faster than the digestive process occurs (think how quickly ice water warms up holding it in your mouth for even a minute). You said something similar, already. Let’s take it further. Many fats aren’t solid, even in ice water. With the exception of palm oil, vegetable oils are liquid, and even many animal fats don’t really solidify unless refrigerated. This is why they make trans-fats, so they can cook like the solid-at-room-temperature lard without all the other health problems. Unfortunately, trans-fats are poorly digested and THEY will lead to heart problems for stereochemical reasons. Thus, even if you drank ice water, it would solidify only those fats that will already be giving you heart problems (trans-fats and animal fats in quantity).

    ” It will slow down digestion and once this “sludge” reacts with the acid, it will break down and be absorbed by the intestine faster than the solid food. It will line the intestine.”
    —If it slows down digestion, why would it be absorbed faster? I assume by ‘absorbed by the intestine’ the writer meant pass through the pyloric opening from the stomach TO the intestine, since he/she then goes on to say it wouldn’t be absorbed but would ‘line the intenstine.’ How is the fat supposed to go through to the intestine too fast if it is busy slowing digestion by binding up the food in a congealed mass? If it isn’t binding it, then the rest of the food can come along for the ride through the small intestine. Even to the degree that the fat passes through first, then the intestine digests it; that is its purpose in life.
    —It isn’t going to line the intestine, because we have cholesterol-based compounds to help us absorb and utilize fatty acids as potent energy sources. Our body loves to absorb fat so much that we eat too much of it and get fat ourselves. This sounds so believable because it lines our dirty dishes and because cholesterol buildup DOES line our arteries, and excess cholesterol comes from eating too much fat, especially animal fat.

    “Very soon, this will turn into fats and can lead to cancer. ”
    —In an urban legend / chain letter type of writing, if you can drop enough scary words together, they often start to sound credible. The “oily stuff” that was supposed to have lined the intestine IS fats, and so why they need to turn into it is only to keep scaring the reader. Now, getting too many calories from eating fatty foods (or calories from any source; a calorie is a calorie) will make fats. Guaranteed. But out body makes those fats after we digest and absorb our food because the body likes to store energy in case of famine.
    —Cancer of the colon (=intestine) is NOT related to fat intake. The intestine is happy to digest all the fat we give it, and later it will show up on our waistline. There ARE cancers that are related to fat, but they’re related to BEING fat not EATING fat followed by water temperature. Eating less saturated fats (generally animal fats) and very little trans-fats is known to reduce cancer risk. Unsaturated “oily stuff” in your diet has no effect or even decrease cancer risk.
    —Speed of digestion MAY have something to do with cancer, however. Rather than cold fats slowing it down, fiber in the diet changes digestive rates for the better. Dietary fiber has sometimes been linked to decreased cancer rates, and always to better overall health. High fat diets rarely have adequate fiber in the diet, but water has nothing to do with it.

    The Chinese and Japanese drink hot tea with their meals…not cold water.. maybe it is time we adopt their drinking habit while eating!”
    —Yes, but they also write vertically instead of left to right, and that doesn’t prevent cancer either. I should have sent you to first. This is a classic urban legend attached to some tolerable medical advice to confuse matters, and any fantastic claim is usually going to appear on SNOPES.COM first.

    —IN FACT, we should be drinking COLD WATER to lose weight and prevent cancer!
    Here’s the argument. Drink a glass or two of ice water a few minutes before a meal. It will fill you up a tiny bit and maybe displace a glass of soda or juice ( saves 100 calories right there). Too many calories will make you fat, cause heart attacks (see the rest of that e-mail for recognizing how bad they are for you), and can contribute to cancer.
    —Now, ice water will have to be heated up to body temperature by our stomach. At 8 ounces of water = 236 grams of water. One food calorie is equal to heating 1000 grams of water one degree Celsius, thus, heating 236 grams of water 4.2 degrees C. If ice water is at 0 C and body temp is 37 C, then it would take 8.7 calories to heat that water up. Not a lot, but nearly one sugar packet’s worth, which would let you skip the Splenda or Equal. If we go through all that trouble to save a sugar packet, might 8.7 calories add up over the year? That is a pound of pure fat off the waist every 13 months, just with one glass of ice water and clicking on fewer chain letters!

  4. I agree entirely regarding the water, as I mentioned in the original post it does seem that unless you pour in a pint of iced water you’re not going to chill any liquefied fats enough to cause problems. That said the warning about heart attacks seems almost valid. It’s just odd that two disparate health concerns were thrown together in the same spam message.

  5. A chain letter is still a chain letter and this one on hot water is so much junk as not to be believed. The digestive process add plenty of heat to the food mass, not to mention bile salts to create and maintain an emulsion of the fats consumed. Further, if this letter were factual, humans would never have evolved from our earliest ancestors who had yet to discover fire.

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