4 Junk Foods That Are Good For You

Tuesday Jul 30 | BY |
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Pickled Cucumbers in a White Dish

Many foods have gotten a bad rap. We generally tend to view foods in one of two categories: “good” or “bad.” But nutrition, like everything, is not so simple. Certain foods, in certain contexts, can be the worst thing for your health, while in other contexts, they can be the greatest thing.

Let’s take a look at a few foods that have suffered a bad rap but have many redeeming qualities.


We associate cucumber pickles with junk food. This is the classic accompaniment of the all-American burger — one that nutritionally speaking adds nothing but excessive amounts of sodium, so we hear from nutritionists. But not so fast. Did you know that pickle juice is one of the best remedies against muscle cramps during sporting activities?

Athletes who drink pickle juice during their runs (or other activities) have found that it’s the best thing they can ever use to prevent or relieve muscle cramps. Some research has even shown that drinking pickle juice relieves cramps 45% faster than drinking nothing and 37% faster than drinking water alone. And we don’t know exactly why, because it’s not just the salt in pickles. One theory is that receptors in the mouth react to the salty/acidic taste of pickle juice and tell the muscles to relax. It could be a mind/body coordination. Maybe the pickle juice mystery will be fully solved soon, but in the meantime, keep some handy next time you go on a long run!


Fructose is definitely not considered “healthy” anymore. Some health authors almost think it’s the devil, since it’s a type of sugar that the liver can transform into fat before use. Anti-fructose advocates often blame it on the obesity epidemic in the USA, where high-fructose corn syrup has replaced table sugar as the sweetener of choice for the processed food industry. According to the critics, fructose could damage the liver, increase uric acid production, cause metabolic syndrome (diabetes, obesity, heart disease), and even affect brain functioning.

One thing is for sure: consuming too much fructose, especially from refined sources, is not desirable for the sedentary individual. However, during fitness activities, fructose seems to be the greatest thing ever. Gretchen Reynolds writes in her wonderfully well-researched book “The First 20 Minutes: Surprising Science Reveals How We Can: Exercise Better, Train Smarter, Live Longer“:

“In general, fructose seems desirable for athletes. When cyclists in one large study downed a sports drink sweetened only with glucose during a two-hour bout of moderate pedaling, they rode faster during a subsequent time trial than riders who had drunk only water. But if the sports drink contained both glucose and fructose (in a two-to-one ratio), the riders were 8% faster in the time trial than those drinking glucose-sweetened fluids alone.”

The author then looks at the role of fructose in the development of fatty liver in sedentary individuals, and concludes that “if you’re the type of person who regularly rides a bike for three hours or more, fructose is your friend. For anyone else, it’s a lot of sugar.”


Diet gurus generally hate white potatoes. Although white potatoes are not whitened by any unnatural process and contain plenty of natural fiber, they are often dumped in the same category as other fiberless foods like white bread and even white sugar. According to these modern diet gurus, potatoes are “full of sugar” (actually starch, which then is converted into sugar) and are “too high on the glycemic index.”

Yet, and listen to me closely here: I believe that potatoes of all types (including white) are the healthiest foods we can eat on a regular basis as a source of energy. I will also make a point that no one has ever gotten fat from eating simply prepared (not fried) potatoes.

Potatoes suffer from having a few junk food cousins: the French fry, the baked potatoes full of fatty stuffings, and the mashed potato. Although they are classified “high” on the glycemic index, the GI of potatoes will really depend on how they are prepared. Potatoes are rich in many nutrients we need and are a starch source that is alkaline-forming (most grains are slightly acidic after digestion). Potatoes have been shown to help lower blood pressure, prevent cardiovascular disease, relieve stress, and promote good digestion.

People have tried to eat nothing but potatoes (and some oils and seasonings) and literally could not get fat doing it. Chris Voigt, a potato farmer, saw dramatic improvements in his health by going on an all-potato diet for 60 days (including some fat, seasonings, and even some fried potatoes). He lost over 20 pounds, lowered his cholesterol, glucose levels, blood pressure and triglycerides. (http://20potatoesaday.com)


I feel a bit mixed about coffee because personally, for the most part, coffee is not something my body tolerates very well. Some recent research shows that drinking coffee may protect against diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and liver cancer. At the same time, coffee drinking will raise blood pressure and can burn out your adrenals, essentially from the stress induced by caffeine.

I love caffeine and how it makes me temporarily feel. And I can get away drinking it for a few days in a row. But after just 4 or 5 days drinking coffee, I start experiencing symptoms that I don’t like, such as the inability to “function” without coffee. I have no problem falling asleep while drinking coffee in the morning or early afternoon, but after a few days of coffee drinking my sleep becomes very deep and not restful at the same time. Also, I tend to experience skin irritations, irritability and depression after about a week of coffee drinking. And I don’t have to drink a lot to experience all of the above symptoms. Just one cup of day does it for me.

So personally I try to only drink caffeinated beverages on occasion, for example on Saturday or while on vacation. But I have to be extremely careful with it. Overall, it’s not a substance that really works for me!

However, I know a lot of people who have a totally different experience with coffee (or tea) and never experience many of the rather strange symptoms I experience when drinking the stuff.

So science is showing that it’s partly good for health. Some people seem to not tolerate it very well. I think the key is being clear about your personal sensitivity and keep your consumption to a minimum, if you do consume it. But most likely, for most people, a cup or two of coffee a day will not hurt you and may even have some health benefits.

What about you? What are some “junk foods” that have been looked down by diet authors or nutritionists that you’ve found useful in your own regimen?

Frederic Patenaude

Frederic Patenaude has been an important influence in the raw food and natural health movement since he started writing and publishing in 1998, first by being the editor of Just Eat an Apple magazine. He is the author of over 20 books, including The Raw Secrets, the Sunfood Cuisine and Raw Food Controversies. Since 2013 he’s been the Editor-in-Chief of Renegade Health.

Frederic loves to relentlessly debunk nutritional myths. He advocates a low-fat, plant-based diet and has had over 10 years of experience with raw vegan diets. He lives in Montreal, Canada.


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  1. I wonder if saturated fat is good for you? How much? How little?

  2. Liam Vogel says:

    Hi Frederic, I always enjoy reading your articles and often learn new ways of looking at various health issues. This article was no exception. However, I must comment on your use of the term “fructose”. I frequently find that people use that term to cover ALL of the different TYPES of fructose, as if they are the same. First I will say that I believe REAL fructose, as it is found in FRUIT, is hands down our BEST source of energy. High fructose corn syrup is poison, and has nothing to do with fruit OR food. It is almost (if not ALWAYS) genetically modified, and it should NEVER be consumed by anyone. In your article you mention adding fructose to glucose in a drink… Why? I thought the topic was fructose? I believe fructose, like ALL other foods, should be consumed ONLY in the package that nature originally put them (the fruit) and not juiced, refined, or processed in any way. I’ll close by emphasizing one request: PLEASE don’t lump fructose, as it is found in fruit, in with HFCS. They could hardly be more different. Thanks for listening,
    Liam Vogel

  3. Irene says:

    In regards to potatoes…I think that they would need to be organic potatoes to be a benefit as conventional potatoes are one of the heaviest sprayed produce. I personally avoid all non-organic potatoes for that reason.

    • Linda says:

      I completely agree Irene! Most conventionally-grown potatoes are sprayed with roundup before harvesting, to kill the top growth. The herbicide is absorbed systemically into the potatoes and can’t be washed off. They are also treated with chemical anti-sprouting agents. Potatoes are on the dirty dozen list of the most heavily-pesticided, herbicided crops.

  4. Mike Maybuey says:

    Chocolate seems to have come into its own recently, with a lot of resezrch, recommending the darkest chocolate.I used to have a giant bar from time to time, of the milk variety. From the recommendations I gather that the only ‘safe’ form is the 75-80% really dark, and bitter chocolate. I find the advantage of this is that, as I don’t like the taste, I can eat a small portion only and know it’s doing some good.
    Personally, I have found that the cheaper 50%, with more sugar, is more accetable, and rathion myself to just a few squares every few days. It is not so moorish as the sweeter types, so I feel I’m doing a little good without too many calories!

  5. Barb says:

    About the fructose one – what about GMO corn which is what is is comprised of?

    • Joe says:

      I think you’re confusing fructose with high fructose corn syrup. Fructose is also found in fruits and many vegetables.

  6. Erik says:

    I will have a cup of coffee once or twice a week before going to the gym for a weightlifting workout. I enjoy the boost and the coffee/caffeine reduces some of the discomfort of achy muscles. I always follow up on those evenings with a magnesium supplement.

  7. Gary Collier says:

    I disagree with you about white potatoes. I weighed 212 pounds (about 60 lbs overweight) a few years ago. I made ONE CHANGE….I stopped eating white potatoes in any form. Over the next 18 months, I lost 35 lbs. So I can’t agree with you that potatoes have nothing to do with weight gain.

    Sweet potatoes, on the other hand, are MUCH better for you, more nutritious, less starchy and less acidic. If you had written about sweet potatoes instead of white ones, I wouldn’t be writing this….

    btw, if you are going to eat white potatoes, the best way to cook them is by baking. Any other method really ruins them….

    • LynnCS says:

      Potatoes are a really wholesome and great whole food. You got some bad info somewhere. Many people lose weight all the time eating whole foods including potatoes. See drmcdougall.com.

  8. B.L. says:

    Are not the dyes in pickles carcinogenic? And I believe most brands have one or two other substances in them that can be harmful to your health. So do you think it is wise to indiscriminately mention that drinking the juice may help in sports without advising, perhaps, that it be organic (or at least additive-free) pickle juice?

    • LynnCS says:

      I would never buy commercially made pickles any more. Unless you can find some that are like home made, it’s easy to make your own. There’re a lot of easy recipes around.

  9. I wouldn’t exactly call potatoes a junk food. I include potatoes in my diet regularly. And as a diabetic, I like it that they have a lower glycemic value than rice and make a healthy carb. I’m saddened that people seem not think they are good for you. I’ve even eaten a few pieces of potatoes raw although my mom said that wasn’t good because they may have worms (and now that I’m vegetarian worms are not in my diet).

    Thank you for putting potatoes back on the healthy side.

    Also, thanks for adding pickles too. Even if they aren’t healthy I’d eat pickles – love them.

  10. Ted says:

    FATS! (good fats, of course). Fat is one of the most maligned foods of all time. Not trans fats or vegetable oils – saturated fat. It is absolutely a required nutrient to help rebuild and maintain the structure of our cell walls. Fat is good.

  11. Rebecca Cody says:

    Sugar – plain old table sugar – NOT ingested, but used on burns, especially serious ones, works better than anything, according to Dr Whitaker.

  12. LynnCS says:

    Hi Frederic. Great blog article. I never heard of pickles or potatoes called junk food, but agree that the ‘high protein’ diet gurus have tried to give potatoes a bad name when actually you could live on mostly potatoes….and even lose weight. Now that it’s been proved to be the fat that accompanies the potato, that is the problem, we can enjoy our lovely potatoes again. I’ve always heard that pickles and saurkraut etc were health foods, so not sure where that came from, and tho I don’t want to drink any pickle juice, pickled vegis of all sorts, are a great end of the meal. Helps with digestion. I don’t find any good for me in eating hfcs. I don’t see any problem with a light sprinkling of some sugar on a bowl of oatmeal, but prefer the unprocessed types and even a drizzle of maple syrup is yummy from time to time. Usually sugar is related to eating junk food, so the main thing is to not eat much in the way of refined or processed foods and it’s a great treat now and then.

    I completely relate to you on the coffee issue. If I have a half cup or a cup most days, It straightens out my disorganized, somewhat ADD brain so I am more functional. Surprisingly I sleep better too and not as much nightmares. More than that and I have negative effects. It can’t become a recreational drug for me as it just goes down hill from there and then there’s the terrible withdrawals. I like the way black coffee tastes with food, so I wait till I eat to have it. It gives it a celebratory enjoyment and I can stop when I’m done with my meal. Don’t seem to want it later in the day, which is nice. Also one trick for those of us that can only have a little, is to buy the bags (like tea bags) and just make one cup. It’s really quite good. I have a little 4 cup coffee maker and one bag makes a pot, and I like it strong, so… Later I can make some uncaf tea and so it gets used.

  13. Josie says:

    Poor potatoes. We sure like to demonize things. Thanks for a great article.

  14. B Adams says:

    I think popcorn is a great snack that often gets a bad rap. Especially the kind saturated in chemicals that you buy at the movie theater. But, it can be good if it is popped from the kernel in coconut oil. There are so many benefits to coconut oil… this is a tasty way to get more of it in your diet.

  15. Leonora says:

    I guess you could call chocolate a mix of junk food and a superfood depending on what type of chocolate you are eating. Dark organic chocolate is classified as a superfood but if you indulge in eating chocolate ice cream then that would be in the junk food classification. I find I can only eat chocolate at “that time of the month”. I really need it. Strange but true for many women. They just go CRAZY for chocolate only at that particular time of the month… is it hormones or the full moon? lol, either way I kinda turn into a chocolate vampire and have to devour some ….Just a few pieces of dark chocolate is all it takes to satiate my personal craving and then the rest of the month I don’t want it or need it.

    Also. For Coffee. I just wanted to add, I don’t drink coffee myself as it makes me incredibly anxious, jittery and nervous so it is not for me, HOWEVER, coffee drinkers almost never have gallbladder stones. So for that reason you can drink your coffee and keep your gallbladder and not have to worry about any gallbladder pain or problems or surgery. Gallbladder surgery is rising and so many people are getting their appendx and gallbladders out via surgery where you really do need your gallbladder to assist with bile production and digestion.

    I think we are seeing more and more options for healthier junk foods on the market. Like gluten free pizza or gluten free quinoa crackers or flax seed crackers, even raw organic options for pasta like zuchinni pasta, so in our minds we are still having our junk foods but they are raw, organic, or you can find substitutes for sugar, gluten and toxic free versions. PEACE.

  16. Potatoes are an okay substitute for sweet fruit when it is not obtainable, but coffee or caffeine is just plain poison to the body. I mean really Frederic? If a substance causes adverse reactions in moderate (and of course large) amounts, then it is never a positive experience for the body in any amount. I know this from deep prolonged experience! Instead of caffeine have an apple at least. Or another banana smoothie! Get enough sleep or rest.

    As far as an eight percent “benefit” (according to one single study only…), I had to laugh out loud. What kind of advice is this? Eating well, not even fully raw, and paying attention to easy simple lifestyle habits will always yield a much higher improvement in energy and health! Try 50% 50 300% on average in my experience and with my clients over the past 35 years of exercise output experimentation and observation.

    I think that articles such as these are simply shooting blanks into the air instead of educating people on the more significant precursors of health and athleticism. Also, keep in mind that “studies” on athletes just like drug studies on patients, are more often than not based on tiny isolated case studies in very limited, usually industry-driven experiments.

    There is no “but every little bit helps someone” argument here. Especially with your name behind it. I really like you and your terrific body of work. Even getting off 100% raw is okay. But stuff like this is totally below you!

    I know that it is important to “hook” the general public into health and good habits, but this is not the way to do it! Please, Frederic return to reason and value in the health line of work!

  17. Brandt says:

    WOW! This article was disappointing and from now on I will have to take Frederic’s “expertise” with a big grain of sea salt. I completely disagree that potatoes are the best thing we can eat on a regular basis for energy. You were taking some huge leaps with this article.

  18. Elizah says:

    All didn’t really surprise me except Fructose! I consider myself very healthy and potatoes are definitely included in my diet! Coffee is also wonderful as an enema!

  19. Anne says:

    Popcorn (organic) helps me a lot if I have any digestive problems or stomach aches. I pop it in olive oil and put coconut butter and salt on it.

    Coffee has the same effect on me.

  20. Edward says:

    Hi , till today, I never heard of pickles being something “We” call junk food, there’s have never been a mystery to folks I hang with either. Plant water and benificial microbes, where is the junk? Fructose benifits for people on training rides over 3 hours, who are you writing to reach here? I will leave your othere topics alone and leave you with a question, who are you trying to reach with your writings? Thank you.

  21. Ali Rogue says:

    Thank you for providing the insight regarding the “not so ideal foods to include in your diet.” I firmly believe
    That we are all individual beings, and unfortunately what may work for
    one, may not be ideal for another. Having the ability to listen to your intuition and
    Follow what feels right for you, is essential for well being. I have personally
    Struggled with many health issues. My protocol consists of daily excercise, positive thinking,
    Herbal supplements, and surrounding myself with positive energy. I feel like we are all in control
    Of our health, but always take environment, and uncontrollable
    Sources into consideration. Unfortunately there are some factors that
    Effect our health that are out of our control. Listen to
    Your body and be well.

  22. Elguard says:

    White potatoes are members of the nightshade family that includes, tomatoes, peppers, chiles, tomatillos, eggplant & of all things, tobacco. Tobacco contains nicotine. The other nightshades contain solanine, not quite as poisonous as nicotine yet is addictive. It is known that those subject to arthritis often cannot tolerate nightshades as they aggravate their condition i.e. they experience more pain when they eat them, & some who have stayed off nightshades for 3 months found the pain they have been experiencing is no longer. Do research white potatoes, before deciding they are good food : )

  23. You should make people aware that most commercially produced pickles have yellow food dye. That alone makes it a big no-no

  24. Dave says:

    Beer! No, I’m not kidding. But I don’t mean binge drinking or having a few every day. I probably have beer a couple of times a month, and only 1 or 2 small bottles each time. I feel like it has a good effect me. A bit like your coffee drinking – ok now and again, but can cause problems if you overdo it.

    Everything in moderation is a good motto to live by. I don’t want to live like a saint and miss out on life. If my friends are celebrating something, then I’ll join in and have a beer and have fun. That’s much more healthy attitude for me than trying to be some diet perfectionist, which can cause lots of stress.

  25. Jim says:

    Coffee a “junk” food, where do you come up with this. Coffee is a plant and when grown properly, organically, in the hills and mountains of Africa or Chiapas or Oaxaca or Costa Rica for example and processed the artesian way then, it is anything but junk and the effect will be anything but what you described as what you feel when you drink the stuff.
    So I believe if you are going to write an article that will have any real essence please focus on important factors, on Organic vs non Organic, on GMO junk and such.
    On the “fructose” issue, your article again too vague too much important information not addressed also. Please 99.9% of all fructose is GMO derived or are you referring to fructose present in real fresh fruit as there is NO way to make any rational discussion.
    I can go on and on about every single thing you brought up but then I might as well be writing the article and bring forth some important points to the the table.
    Kindly and at your service, Dr. Jim

  26. Zyxomma says:

    If you cut a raw potato at its equator, you’ll see a ring all around, a small distance from the jacket. This is the potassium ring. Most of the nutrients (apart from starch) are contained in the space between the peel and the potassium ring. If you buy small organic potatoes, that means you’re getting more nutrients than you would from the big ones. Health and peace.

  27. John Russell says:

    Ignoring the fact that white potatoes are on EWG’s Dirty Dozen list–meaning its one of the most pesticide-ridden vegetables on the market this year(according to them)–I do not think that potatoes are all that bad. Then again, I only say that because I don’t eat them very often. I don’t like lumpy mashed potatoes for some reason. It is also noteworthy that when I have eaten potatoes, whether they’re cut up into pices with the brown skin intact, or mashed, they are very good at filling you up. I know that from just eating low quality hashbrowns at a fast food joint. I wonder what potatoes would be like in their natural state. On a related note, sweet potatoes are on the clean fifthteen, so I plan on getting those sometime, because I heard they’re good.

  28. Susan says:

    I feel the same way about (organic) white potatoes – that they are a good food and not one of the villians of the food world. When you said that you eat potatoes, white and otherwise, in one of your first articles, it gave you street cred for me. I thought, “Finally, someone with common sense” because I refused to buy into the nonsense that potatoes are bad for you. Potatoes are filling. After I read the Coconut Oil Miracle, I did start frying sliced potato in coconut oil. It was one of the recipes in the book and it was an easy way for me to incorporate coconut oil in my diet. They are delicious in coconut oil. I like to get a packet of Spry gum every now and then. Xyitol is supposed to be good for your teeth and I need to chew sometimes without eating calories. I miss Jello and the texture of Jello. I’ve eaten substittutes made with agar but as a I recall, sugar is still involved. And, I would not eat the Jello with the fake sugar substitutes. I would like to find a healthy Jello recipe thta didn’t use white sugar.

    • Diane says:

      Hi Susan-

      Not sure where you stand on gelatin (google gelatin to see what’s it’s made from to see if it fits your food choices) but if you’re cool with it you can make sugar-free jello simply by using 100% fruit juice instead of water (of course this is filled with all kinds of natural fruit sugars, but this gets you away from any refined sugars). Pineapple won’t work (as won’t a couple of others I can’t recall at the moment) but grape, apple and others work. Carrot is one of my favorite sweet juices and I’m tempted to try that out. Hope this is helpful. : )

  29. Christine says:

    I think that potatoes are good if consumed with the skin for fibre. However, you do have to be concerned about the possible solanine content of a lot of potatoes these days. Fructose from all sources is a potential carcinogen & so should only be consumed moderately. Definitely no high fructose corn syrup though! Also, some people with IBS have fructose intolerance (such as myself). Glucose is needed to absorb fructose, so if a fruit has more glucose or the same amount of glucose as fructose, then it should be okay e.g. berries. If a fruit has more fructose than glucose, then it could be a problem e.g. apples. For example, I used to love fruit and ate loads of it. I kept feeling sick after meals & wondered why. I initially thought it was due to malabsorption of fats & it took me ages to find the culprit. Then one day I had 2 stewed apples for breakfast & nothing else & felt really sick after that, but couldn’t understand why. I finally realised that FODMAPs (which include fructose) were my problem & now that I only eat about 30g blueberries or raspberries at 2 separate intervals during the day & have cut out high FODMAP vegetables, I no longer feel sick after 3 years of nausea.

  30. rumanjak says:

    coffee is the best i think and it helps for blood circulation and pickle juice i really love it and every morning i drink it. guys try it but if you try to diet yourself potato is not a good choice.

  31. Janet Kent says:

    If we listened to every dietary “guru” we would all starve !!! I do believe that moderation is the key and that the occasional cup of coffee and the occasional baked potato is fine as our bodies can handle the influx of these foods.
    It is when we subject our digestive system to repeated abuse that is when problems occur. As far as sugar is concerned, processed sugar is ” sweet poison “.

  32. Jeannie says:

    Coffee just makes me happy and hopeful. One cup per day and I can lots of thing done.

  33. One size does not fit all. If you are an A or O blood type potatoes will make you fat for sure. @Gary–I’m guessing that you are one or the other of those blood types if you lost weight after taking them out of your diet. Coffee–same thing. If you are an A then coffee is actually very beneficial for you. If you are an O or AB you need to avoid.

    We really need to steer clear of generalized recommendations. What’s good for some is not for others. Individualized/personalized health regimen is the wave of the future.

  34. Faith says:

    I recently found some research done on the benefits of coffee/caffeine for runners before a race. I started to experiment with this and do find it beneficial. There is also research to prove that a component in coffee(not caffeine) help people with ADD to focus. I have also experimented with this and found it true, as well. For myself, I have found the blood type diet to be pretty right on and as a “Type A” I have low stomach acid. Supposedly, coffee helps to stimulate stomach acid. Well, once again, I have tried it out in this way and have had great results. If I know I am going to eat something that is heavy or hard for me to digest (potatoes, raw fish, etc) I will drink a cup of coffee before hand. So, basically..coffee is now a tool for me. I use it before running if I am really trying to talk myself out of it..or before a race, or before needing to focus on anything like paperwork or house cleaning. It is completely strategic and works wonders in that way.
    After traveling to Ethiopia I see that they use it for traditions, ceremonies and before eating their extremely rich food. They honor it for the gift from God that it is 🙂 In moderation, of course!

  35. Evert says:

    About coffee.
    Freshly ground beens have less of the oils oxidized.
    Most brands are a mix of the Arabica and Robusta varieties. Arabica has less caffeine and a milder taste. I find that coffee made from pure Arabica has less side effects, like nausea and nervousness.
    I’ve heard David Asprey talk about ‘bulletproof coffee’, he claims most coffee is contaminated with some mold and the toxins it produces. He’d quit drinking coffee for five years, because of the side effects, but has no problems with mold free coffee.


  37. Raquel says:

    Coffee is exceptionally high in tannic acid. Tannic acid in small amounts has some benefit but in high amounts is a huge carcinogen! There was an incedent in affrica where some big game was suddenly dieing off in a concetrated area. Research showed that they had been overgrazing a certain tree in the area and in response the trees increased their production of tannic acid thereby killing the animals! What’s more they sent off a chemical in the area triggering treees just outside the area to also increase their tannic acid production!Q Fascinating occurance!

    Also the levels of caffine in coffeee damage the nervous system… Can’t agree with you on that one.

    Now green tea also has very high levels of tannic acid but I have wondered if they were changed during the fermentation process to make kombucha?

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