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Daily Life Myth Buster

Source: Science and Technology Daily | 2022-09-29 10:17:24 | Author: Staff Reporters

A picture of all kinds of fruits. (PHOTO:VCG)

By Staff Reporters

If you need to fast before a procedure, when do you need to stop eating?

Some types of blood tests, abdominal ultrasound or surgeries performed using general anesthesia may require you to fast beforehand. When you fast, you're required not to eat for a specified amount of time. Different claims about when to stop eating beforehand are currently circulating online, so what is the truth?

The stomach is a muscular, hollow organ in the gastrointestinal tract of humans. What affects the time it takes to empty the gastric system is not only the physical properties of the food, but also the chemical composition of the food.

For example, liquid food gets absorbed faster than solid foods, small particles faster than large pieces of food, and sugar empties fastest followed by proteins and fats.

Generally speaking, mixed foods like our daily meals take  4-6 hours to digest. However, due to the different types of food eaten and individual differences, some people's stomachs may take up to 10 hours to empty completely.

Guidelines for Venous Blood Collection issued by Chinese National Health Commission states that people should stop eating completely for at least eight hours before a test or procedure.

Do we need to eat fruits on an empty stomach?

Whether we should eat fruit on an empty stomach or not has caused controversy among many people. Some say it aggravates the secretion of stomach acid, while others say it is the best time to eat fruit. Some people believe that eating fruit on an empty stomach has greater health benefits, which is a popular belief online. The idea behind this is that eating fruit with a meal slows down digestion, which means the food stays in the stomach longer, then rots or ferments. This leads to gas, bloating and digestive discomfort.

While it's true that fruit slows digestion,  it's not necessarily a bad thing. Fiber is an important part of any diet and can promote a healthy gut. Slower digestion helps a person feel fuller for longer. Even if the fruit stays in the stomach for a longer time, it doesn't have a chance to spoil because of the stomach's ability to prevent bacterial overgrowth. Most microorganisms cannot grow within the acidity of the stomach.

In fact, healthy and juicy fruits rich in vitamins, fiber, flavonoids and antioxidants, may be the panacea for most of our health problems. They provide all the nutrients required, whether eaten alone or with a meal. The nutritional value of fruit is the same regardless of when you eat it. Your personal preference is all that matters.

Editor: 毕炜梓

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