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Old 04-03-2017, 10:57 AM
Leo Bloom Leo Bloom is offline
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Living and dying on only caviar, champagne, truffles, foie gras

1) Whats the lethal dose of caviar?

2) How long could you live on only caviar and water?
2a) How long could you live on only caviar and champagne?

I've also thought this type of question with foie gras and truffles, individually and in combination with caviar and champagne.

The expression "choke on it you crazy rich bastard" came to mind while re-reading some French classic cuisine cookbooks, with casual advice to buttloads of the stuff. (One suggested clarifying fish stock with caviar, to give you an idea; another is simmering two lbs of truffles in port.)

Here is the food composition information for Osetra Caviar, Caviar Malossol, UPC: 825743940006 from the USDA Food Composition Database. I don't know how to do the math, the assumptions about health and nutrition, etc. to make use of it.

Any help? It would make a great factoid.
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Old 04-03-2017, 11:42 AM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is online now
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How long could you live on only caviar and water?
One factor is caviar and water lack carbohydrates. Your body can make a small amount of carbs but you're going to have problems if you do any exertions. It'll be like you're on a strict Atkins diet.

You're also not going to be getting any calcium in your diet so your body is going to compensate by consuming calcium out of your bones, which will get brittle. Lack of calcium will also lead to seizures.

You'll also get scurvy from the lack of Vitamin C but that will take several weeks to show up. You'll probably be dead before that becomes an issue.
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Old 04-03-2017, 11:42 AM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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Caviar is probably pretty close to nutritionally complete, but I imagine that if you ate enough of it to get everything that you needed, the salt content would cause some sort of problems.
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Old 04-03-2017, 11:45 AM
Leo Bloom Leo Bloom is offline
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One factor is caviar and water lack carbohydrates....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
Caviar is probably pretty close to nutritionally complete, ...
Jibe?
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Old 04-03-2017, 11:52 AM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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Caviar lacks carbs, but you don't actually need carbs. You need Calories, and carbs are an easy way to get them, but you can also get Calories from fat and/or protein.

And isn't caviar usually served raw? Most of the vitamins that we think of as coming from vegetables are also found in animal products, but are broken down by cooking.
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Old 04-03-2017, 11:55 AM
Nansbread1 Nansbread1 is offline
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There is carbs in Champagne about 3 gms per 100 ml. Assuming that the rich man n this example is going to consume copius amounts.

Replace champagne with Beer which is basically liquid bread and problem solved
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Old 04-03-2017, 11:55 AM
Leo Bloom Leo Bloom is offline
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Also, about lethal dose:

This can be approached two ways:

1) a lethal dose of an otherwise non-lethal chemical component, or, even, water (disregulation of potassium) or lack of one essential to life.

2) a lethal dose because of sheer mass in the digestive tract--which I've wondered about in all those food-eating contests. And perhaps the largest amount of caviar ingestible may differ in mass than that of hot-dogs, etc.

Point 3) really gets to the literalization of the metaphor: Joking aside, I know that gerontologists and dieticians, let alone food technologists, study how choking occurs with different material consistencies and relative muscle control and strength.

I would dearly like to know how much caviar you could attempt to swallow before you choke on it ("...you rich bastard" )

Point one is perennially popular in GQ threads, with snacks and main dishes put up for discussion. If that is where this thread will go, hopefully, it will be a worthy addition to the research program.

But the "choking" part (and gastric bulk) I've never seen in this context. New horizons, new vistas...

Last edited by Leo Bloom; 04-03-2017 at 11:59 AM.
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Old 04-03-2017, 07:50 PM
iamthewalrus(:3= iamthewalrus(:3= is offline
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For 2a) I think you might die of dehydration pretty quickly. Caviar is very salty. Champagne is about 12% alcohol.

I found a bunch of cites that 4% beer is hydrating, at least in the shortish term. You can drink only beer without obvious hydration problems. But is that true of 12% alcohol? I can't find any studies, but I am doubtful.
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Old 04-03-2017, 08:03 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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I'm pretty sure that you have to get into strong distilled spirits before you're dehydrating, on net.
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Old 04-03-2017, 08:09 PM
VOW VOW is offline
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I'm pondering.

Could we make them the chocolate kind of truffles?
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Old 04-03-2017, 08:32 PM
Atamasama Atamasama is offline
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Wouldn't the average person surviving solely on caviar and champagne quickly develop problems with digestion, and have trouble keeping food down and/or end up with severe diarrhea? (Either of which can lead to dehydration.)

Just a WAG but it seems like that'd be a risk.
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Old 04-04-2017, 02:48 AM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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Taking the thread title at face value rather than the subset questions in the OP, (which don't even include truffles!).

If you try to survive on caviar, truffles, champage and foie gras...

You'll do OK for minerals and fat-soluble vitamins
You're fine for protein
You shouldn't suffer dehydration - subsisting on champagne as the only liquid will bring about an interesting new equilibrium in your body's hydration levels, but I don't think it will kill you
You're not getting very much fibre, which will cause digestive issues, but that wonb't kill you straight away
You're not getting a whole lot of carbohydrates (even with the truffles and champagne) - so it will still be sort of semi-Atkins, but the alcohol in the Champagne is a source of metabolic energy
There's a shortage of vitamin C and probably some of the other vitamins and nutrients that are normally plant-sourced

I think it's going to be scurvy that gets you.

Last edited by Mangetout; 04-04-2017 at 02:48 AM.
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Old 04-04-2017, 04:10 AM
griffin1977 griffin1977 is offline
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Caviar is probably pretty close to nutritionally complete, but I imagine that if you ate enough of it to get everything that you needed, the salt content would cause some sort of problems.
Definitely the salt would be an issue, if caviar was the main component of your diet. USDA nutrient breakdown quoted in the OP gives 1333mg per 100g. If were eating pounds of it you'd have many times more than the recommended daily intact.
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Old 04-04-2017, 07:20 AM
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I'm pretty sure that you have to get into strong distilled spirits before you're dehydrating, on net.
If your surety is based on a specific evidence, please let me know as I've been waiting for an answer to this question for 11 years now. All I got from that thread was a "reasonable guess" and an inference based on a "snide comment" by a "wines and spirits" instructor.
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Old 04-04-2017, 07:52 AM
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If anyone wants to collect hard data; provide me with the champagne, caviar, truffles, and foie gras and I'll volunteer to be your guinea pig.

I'd bet on a gout attack being my first hurdle.
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Old 04-04-2017, 08:33 AM
Xema Xema is offline
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I think it's going to be scurvy that gets you.
I'm a bit skeptical of this, based on ample evidence that a diet based on fresh meat (e.g. Eskimo diet) doesn't lead to scurvy.
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Old 04-04-2017, 08:52 AM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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Sadly, what knowledge I have on the matter probably came from some other SDMB thread on the topic, coming from someone who sounded credible at the time. It'd be hard to put a single number on it, though, since it'd depend on the alcohol tolerance of the drinker (and presumably, someone getting all of their liquids from champagne would develop an impressive tolerance).
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Old 04-04-2017, 10:27 AM
Leo Bloom Leo Bloom is offline
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Yes, I was aware when I posed the question that the drinking champagne would upset the truffle cart the most. Consider it struck from the menu in favor of water here on in.
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Old 04-04-2017, 10:40 AM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mangetout View Post
I think it's going to be scurvy that gets you.
I'm a bit skeptical of this, based on ample evidence that a diet based on fresh meat (e.g. Eskimo diet) doesn't lead to scurvy.
Cecil Adams's column on why Eskimos didn't get scurvy, despite a diet based almost entirely on meat and fish. The Eskimos may have gotten Vitamin C from the skin of beluga whales, or the organ meat of sea mammals, but there's none in caviar.
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Old 04-04-2017, 11:00 AM
silenus silenus is online now
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Are we to eat the caviar straight from the can like barbarians? A true gentleman would serve it with toast points at the very least. Maybe some chopped egg as well.

Or we could be Texan bazillionaires and live on "Texas Caviar" and Shiner Bock. I'm willing to bet we'd last a lot longer that way.
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Old 04-04-2017, 11:06 AM
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If you can have water as well as champagne that makes it a lot easier to regulate your salt balance. Too salty, too much protein, just drink more water and you can excrete it. Without enough water you'll die.
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Old 04-04-2017, 11:10 AM
Leo Bloom Leo Bloom is offline
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.. "Texas Caviar" ...
Thnx. Never heard of it. " [...] Caviar" has been used with any number of dishes.
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Old 04-04-2017, 11:11 AM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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I'm a bit skeptical of this, based on ample evidence that a diet based on fresh meat (e.g. Eskimo diet) doesn't lead to scurvy.
Caviar and foie gras is not 'a diet of fresh meat' - there is a *tiny* amount of vitamin C in foie gras, and zero (or as good as zero) in the other items in this list.

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Cecil Adams's column on why Eskimos didn't get scurvy, despite a diet based almost entirely on meat and fish. The Eskimos may have gotten Vitamin C from the skin of beluga whales, or the organ meat of sea mammals, but there's none in caviar.
The Eskimo diet also included fresh and preserved berries - and it happens to be the case that the available berries (bearberry, blueberry, cranberry, crowberry, and probably some species or other of Rubus) are pretty good sources of Vitamin C.
In the short arctic summer, green plants such as chickweed (another good source of Vitamin C) are available, and are documented as being eaten by Eskimos.

Last edited by Mangetout; 04-04-2017 at 11:12 AM.
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Old 04-04-2017, 11:13 AM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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Besides - whenever you go to the beach, there's always an orange on the strand line
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Old 04-04-2017, 11:43 AM
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I'm a bit skeptical of this, based on ample evidence that a diet based on fresh meat (e.g. Eskimo diet) doesn't lead to scurvy.
The Inuit actually eat a wide variety of plants including leaves (raw and fermented), leafy greens, roots, and berries as described in Anore Jones' Plants that we Eat:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/16...SIN=1602230749

Last edited by Surreal; 04-04-2017 at 11:46 AM.
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Old 04-04-2017, 12:36 PM
iamthewalrus(:3= iamthewalrus(:3= is offline
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I'm pretty sure that you have to get into strong distilled spirits before you're dehydrating, on net.
Although if most of your calories come heavily salted, you'll need to drink a lot of champagne. So, even hydrating on net, it's not as hydrating, so you might trend toward alcohol poisoning.

Anyway, the OP has retracted the 2a) champagne requirement.
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Old 04-04-2017, 12:40 PM
DrDeth DrDeth is offline
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One factor is caviar and water lack carbohydrates. Your body can make a small amount of carbs but you're going to have problems if you do any exertions. It'll be like you're on a strict Atkins diet.


You'll also get scurvy from the lack of Vitamin C but that will take several weeks to show up. You'll probably be dead before that becomes an issue.
Lack of carbs is NOT a problem. Many people have gone on a strict Atkins with no exertion issues. Maybe running a marathon, sure. I , myself have use Low Carb diets and not had a issue.

But I agree- no vitamin C, that will be your undoing.
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Old 04-04-2017, 12:45 PM
DrDeth DrDeth is offline
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For 2a) I think you might die of dehydration pretty quickly. Caviar is very salty. Champagne is about 12% alcohol.

I found a bunch of cites that 4% beer is hydrating, at least in the shortish term. You can drink only beer without obvious hydration problems. But is that true of 12% alcohol? I can't find any studies, but I am doubtful.
My dad used to go fishing with Portuguese fishermen out of Long Beach. They stayed out for a day or two, drank nothing but black coffee and red wine.

I had a friend who drank nothing but coffee and beer.
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Old 04-04-2017, 01:18 PM
Blue Blistering Barnacle Blue Blistering Barnacle is offline
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Although if most of your calories come heavily salted, you'll need to drink a lot of champagne. So, even hydrating on net, it's not as hydrating, so you might trend toward alcohol poisoning.

Anyway, the OP has retracted the 2a) champagne requirement.
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDeth View Post
My dad used to go fishing with Portuguese fishermen out of Long Beach. They stayed out for a day or two, drank nothing but black coffee and red wine.

I had a friend who drank nothing but coffee and beer.
I would tend to agree that you could do okay on champagne (assuming that you didn't have crazy salt intake, like you might if all you had was caviar). Also, high protein diet adds to burden.

Common wisdom is that people in the middle ages lived on beer and wine. Cite below says that that is false, people did drink water, but it still leaves the impression that they might live on alcoholic drinks if they could afford it.

http://leslefts.blogspot.com.au/2013...ater-myth.html

Anyway, alcohol blunts ADH (anti-diuretic hormone/vasopressin) release, which causes an indirect diuresis. But that is essentially just resetting your "thermostat" to a level of less hydration. This is NOT quite like drinking water laced with diuretic (like Lasix), meaning the more you drink, the more dehydrated you become.

So maybe you could handle a lot of caviar with champagne only.

Anyway, is all caviar salty?

I guess if your tormentors only give you salty caviar and you find that to be a problem, you could first wash it in Dom Perignon...
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Old 04-04-2017, 06:28 PM
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I would dearly like to know how much caviar you could attempt to swallow before you choke on it ...
Since caviar is very small, slippery round things, I imagine it would be an ideal food to try and consume in deadly quantities. I think you could swallow it while choking.

Dennis
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Old 04-04-2017, 08:04 PM
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High protein diet can lead to gout and so on ?
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Old 04-04-2017, 08:33 PM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is online now
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Lack of carbs is NOT a problem. Many people have gone on a strict Atkins with no exertion issues. Maybe running a marathon, sure. I , myself have use Low Carb diets and not had a issue.
The whole point of a diet is you lose weight. That can be a good idea if you do it for a limited period of time and then switch to a less restrictive diet. People at some point switch from a zero-carb diet to a low-carb diet.

If you're on a diet that's causing you to lose weight and you continue on that diet, that's starvation.
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Old 04-04-2017, 09:03 PM
Leo Bloom Leo Bloom is offline
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Besides - whenever you go to the beach, there's always an orange on the strand line
"strand line?"
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Old 04-05-2017, 03:03 AM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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"strand line?"
A line, especially of washed-up seaweed or other debris, marking a previous high water level along a shore.
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Old 04-05-2017, 08:27 AM
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... but there's none in caviar.
Is this known to be true?
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Old 04-05-2017, 08:45 AM
Xema Xema is offline
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The Eskimo diet also included fresh and preserved berries ...
Yes (in some areas), but according to this article only in summer (in NW Alaska). Also from that article:

Quote:
the explorer Vilhjalmur Stefansson adopted an Eskimo-style diet for five years during the two Arctic expeditions he led between 1908 and 1918. “The thing to do is to find your antiscorbutics where you are,” he wrote. “Pick them up as you go.” In 1928, to convince skeptics, he and a young colleague spent a year on an Americanized version of the diet under medical supervision at Bellevue Hospital in New York City. The pair ate steaks, chops, organ meats like brain and liver, poultry, fish, and fat with gusto. “If you have some fresh meat in your diet every day and don’t overcook it,” Stefansson declared triumphantly, “there will be enough C from that source alone to prevent scurvy.”

In fact, all it takes to ward off scurvy is a daily dose of 10 milligrams, says Karen Fediuk, a consulting dietitian and former graduate student of Harriet Kuhnlein’s who did her master’s thesis on vitamin C. (That’s far less than the U.S. recommended daily allowance of 75 to 90 milligrams—75 for women, 90 for men.)
Also note that truffles appear to be a decent source of Vitamin C. From this link:
Quote:
Truffles are excellent sources of minerals, but low in Vitamins, except for Vitamin C.
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Old 04-05-2017, 09:30 AM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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Yes (in some areas), but according to this article only in summer (in NW Alaska). Also from that article:
Sure, but it's not valid to compare that (eat everything you can) to foie gras - which is one organ, from one species.


Quote:
Also note that truffles appear to be a decent source of Vitamin C. From this link:
Can you find an actual nutritional analysis that says so? - because:
  • This is a pretty nearly uncited claim on a website that is just chock full of uncited claims about oils coconut, argan, etc.
  • In any case, 'low in vitamins except vitamin C' is not the same as 'decent source of Vitamin C'
  #38  
Old 04-05-2017, 10:37 AM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
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... but there's none in caviar.
Is this known to be true?
That's what I'm finding in a Google search. Here, for instance, is a USDA site that provides nutritional info for about 13,000 food items. I did a search for the nutritional content of sturgeon roe, and the result was 0 mg of Vitamin C.

BTW, the same site says that 100g of truffles has 0.1mg of Vitamin C. Meanwhile, 100g of raw mushrooms have 2.1mg of Vitamin C.

Last edited by Dewey Finn; 04-05-2017 at 10:42 AM.
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Old 04-05-2017, 12:39 PM
DrDeth DrDeth is offline
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The whole point of a diet is you lose weight. That can be a good idea if you do it for a limited period of time and then switch to a less restrictive diet. People at some point switch from a zero-carb diet to a low-carb diet.

If you're on a diet that's causing you to lose weight and you continue on that diet, that's starvation.
As with several other diets*, Atkins works fine for long term maintenance. There have been no health problems associated with it.

* Mediterranean.
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Old 04-05-2017, 12:43 PM
Leo Bloom Leo Bloom is offline
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....


Can you find an actual nutritional analysis that says so? - because:
  • This is a pretty nearly uncited claim on a website that is just chock full of uncited claims about oils coconut, argan, etc.
  • In any case, 'low in vitamins except vitamin C' is not the same as 'decent source of Vitamin C'
Full Report (All Nutrients): 45018888, URBANI TRUFFLES, BLACK TRUFFLES & MUSHROOMS, UPC: 845780036043

Lab Protocol Suggestion: Standardized nutrition references to source in OP.

Last edited by Leo Bloom; 04-05-2017 at 12:45 PM.
  #41  
Old 04-05-2017, 01:00 PM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
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The ingredients of that product are "MUSHROOMS, EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE-OIL, SUNFLOWER OIL, PORCINI MUSHROOMS, SUMMER TRUFFLES, SALT, TRUFFLE FLAVOR, GRANA PADANO CHEESE MILK, ENZYME, SALT, EGG WHITE LYSOZYME [PRESERVATIVE]), PARSLEY, GARLIC, CORNSTARCH, LEMON JUICE, BLACK PEPPER."

So how can you conclude anything about the nutritional content of truffles by themselves based on that?
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Old 04-05-2017, 01:34 PM
Leo Bloom Leo Bloom is offline
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Full Report (All Nutrients): 45018888, URBANI TRUFFLES, BLACK TRUFFLES & MUSHROOMS, UPC: 845780036043

Lab Protocol Suggestion: Standardized nutrition references to source in OP.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dewey Finn View Post
The ingredients of that product are "MUSHROOMS, EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE-OIL, SUNFLOWER OIL, PORCINI MUSHROOMS, SUMMER TRUFFLES, SALT, TRUFFLE FLAVOR, GRANA PADANO CHEESE MILK, ENZYME, SALT, EGG WHITE LYSOZYME [PRESERVATIVE]), PARSLEY, GARLIC, CORNSTARCH, LEMON JUICE, BLACK PEPPER."

So how can you conclude anything about the nutritional content of truffles by themselves based on that?
You are absolutely right. STRIKE THAT CITATION. Jeez, it's summer truffles in that mess to boot, not even the good ones (of course since its some godawful preparation).

New rule: Use USDA nutrition database in OP unless you come up with a better one.

So: the USDA one is all over the map on mushrooms, but has none for that lovely tuber. Either we pick a different food mushroom and consider them all the same, or leave it open for further research. (I'll check the French language sources; surely they are out there.)

In the meantime, here's the site of the International Society for Mushroom Science to explore, and a bunch of individual citations from mushroominfo on nutrition science research. Their overview on "benefits."

Last edited by Leo Bloom; 04-05-2017 at 01:35 PM.
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Old 04-05-2017, 02:32 PM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is online now
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As with several other diets*, Atkins works fine for long term maintenance. There have been no health problems associated with it.

* Mediterranean.
Just to be clear, are you saying a zero-carb diet?
  #44  
Old 04-05-2017, 02:43 PM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
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Here is USDA nutritional data for truffles.
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Old 04-05-2017, 02:47 PM
DrDeth DrDeth is offline
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Just to be clear, are you saying a zero-carb diet?
Well, no foods high in carbs. Salads are a mainstay, but sure, there are a few incidental carbs.

Look at the Eskimos diet- yes a few berries and what-not for vitamin C. Fresh meat does have a few incidental carbs too.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inuit_cuisine

Traditional Inuit diets derive approximately 50% of their calories from fat, 30–35% from protein and 15–20% of their calories from carbohydrates, largely in the form of glycogen from the raw meat they consumed.[22][23] ...Vitamins and minerals which are typically derived from plant sources are nonetheless present in most Inuit diets. Vitamins A and D are present in the oils and livers of cold-water fishes and mammals. Vitamin C is obtained through sources such as caribou liver, kelp, whale skin, and seal brain; because these foods are typically eaten raw or frozen, the vitamin C they contain, which would be destroyed by cooking, is instead preserved.[31]

http://www.theiflife.com/the-inuit-p...se-and-cancer/
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Old 04-05-2017, 03:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Dewey Finn View Post
Here is USDA nutritional data for truffles.
So they appear to contain 1mg of vitamin C per kg of truffles. it's going to be hard to get even a minimally-useful intake that way.
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Old 04-05-2017, 04:10 PM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is online now
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Originally Posted by DrDeth View Post
Well, no foods high in carbs. Salads are a mainstay, but sure, there are a few incidental carbs.

Look at the Eskimos diet- yes a few berries and what-not for vitamin C. Fresh meat does have a few incidental carbs too.
I'm not talking about an Eskimo diet. I'm talking about a diet of nothing but caviar and water; a diet with no carbohydrates. Are you still saying such a diet is sustainable?
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Old 04-05-2017, 06:17 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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Quoth Mangetout:

A line, especially of washed-up seaweed or other debris, marking a previous high water level along a shore.
And if you can find enough area of land between there and the edge of the water (say, an acre) then you'll be able to get some herbs to go with your orange and caviar, too.
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Old 04-05-2017, 06:52 PM
Jackmannii Jackmannii is offline
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This thread reminds me of a classic tale of ancient China, involving men of a certain self-sacrificial bent, who would begin turning themselves into medicine by ingesting only honey:

"...the mellification process would ideally start before death. The donor would stop eating any food other than honey, going as far as to bathe in the substance. Shortly, his feces (and even his sweat, according to legend) would consist of honey. When this diet finally proved fatal, the donor's body would be placed in a stone coffin filled with honey.

After a century or so, the contents would have turned into a sort of confection reputedly capable of healing broken limbs and other ailments. This confection would then be sold in street markets as a hard to find item with a hefty price."


If a person restricted their diet only to caviar, champagne, truffles and foie gras for a long enough time (whether or not it killed them), one surmises they would become the ultimate in cannibal luxury food.
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Old 04-05-2017, 07:31 PM
DrDeth DrDeth is offline
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Originally Posted by Little Nemo View Post
I'm not talking about an Eskimo diet. I'm talking about a diet of nothing but caviar and water; a diet with no carbohydrates. Are you still saying such a diet is sustainable?
As far as carbs go, yes. But there's a severe shortage of vitamins, etc.
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