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Debunking the pineapple and milk debate

  • Published at 06:03 pm May 7th, 2017
  • Last updated at 06:30 pm May 7th, 2017
Debunking the pineapple and milk debate
Remember being told: You should not eat pineapple and drink milk at the same time? That is because it was strongly believed that it would turn toxic and kill you. A study published in the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) Journal's latest volume approached this bit of folk knowledge from a scientific perspective. Although the study was carried out on rats, it appears to convincingly demonstrate that there is no toxic effect of mixing pineapple and milk together. A Bangladeshi medical researcher working in South Korea decided to look into the matter. Dr Mahbubur Rahman, a pharmacologist who currently works with the Korean Animal Medical Science Institute, studied at Bangladesh Agricultural University. He is also a post-doctorate researcher at Chonbuk National University. For this study, Dr Mahbub took 40 male rats and divided them into four groups. Two of the groups were fed a blended mixture of pineapple and pasteurised cow’s milk. One of the mixtures contained twice as much pineapple as the other. Another group was given the common toxin Carbon Tetrachloride and the last was given nothing. All the rats were observed for three days and then their stomach, liver, heart and kidney were tested for any toxic effect. The study resulted in no observable clinical signs and no pathological or biochemical changes related to toxicity in the groups that were given the pineapple-milk mixture. Although it has been theorised before that this food taboo is in fact a myth, now, for the first time, it has been scientifically disproved. So how did this myth emerge? Nobody really knows, but there are a few reports of people dying from consuming pineapple and milk together. One report from 2008 is about a man in Kamrangirchar, Dhaka, who, after having both the foods on a dare, fell ill and died at Dhaka Medical College Hospital soon after. The report also says the man was inebriated. Another report describes a middle-aged woman in Bogra who was rushed to the hospital in July 2015 and died at home one day later. However, doctors told journalists she may have died of other causes. One doctor whom this correspondent spoke to suggests that the myth may have emerged from the fact that some people have potentially had fatal allergic reactions to pineapple. However, the reports of deaths suggest that more investigation is needed to fully dispel the myth.