A friend of mine told me a story that smacks of urban legend, but I thought I’d check here to see if there is any truth to his tale. He told me researchers (?) had found that the bodies of dead American GI’s in Vietnam decomposed slower than the dead bodies of Vietcong/South Vietnamese soldiers. This occurred because the American GI’s diets consisted of food that had a higher concentration of chemical preservatives than the Vietnamese soldier’s diets.
Can anyone provide any references/sources/sites that can substantiate (or dispell) the notion that the decomposition rate for dead bodies can be affected by chemical preservatives in food? Does my ingestion of Twinkies mark me for a spot somewhere beside Lenin in his tomb when I die?
Sounds like crap to me. Not like the preservatives stop you from aging, or get absorbed into your body in concentrations high enough to make a noticeable difference. Hard to believe such a study was done, and if it was, the results weren’t more widely advertised.
Just to augment Dr. Pap’s statements:
Extensive searches of the Medline database provides no results discussing preservatives in human decay or decomposition, except in regards to forensics. If anyone from Walter Reed or another military research facility did notice this, it seems they did not publish.
I heard a similar story, except in this one the American soldiers had advanced cases of heart disease thanks to lots of meat in their diet. I asked the vegetarian where she had heard that and she could not give me any reliable sources, so I assume it is as much urban legend as food preservatives slowing down decomposition…