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Ask Tufts Experts November 2009 Issue

Q: A friend in India claims that it is not advisable to eat fruit at the end of a meal, because the nutritional value of the fruit is diluted when it comes on top of other food. Is there any truth to this?

Answer :  Tufts’ Rasmussen and Litvak again have the answer: After eating a meal, all the food we have consumed begins to break down in the stomach, where gastric secretions start to separate foods into the nutrients that our bodies can absorb. This food sits in our stomachs for minutes to hours as it is churned and emulsified. Then the stomach gradually empties its contents into our small intestine, where the absorption of nutrients begins. At that point, everything we have eaten during a meal has already been mixed together quite thoroughly. Whether you choose to eat fruit at the beginning or at the end of a meal will not diminish its nutritional value. The fruit is not adversely affected by any other foods it is eaten with. Our bodies are very good at taking all the nutrients we need from the foods we eat, regardless of the order in which we eat them.

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