Online rumors that eating tomatoes on an empty stomach is dangerous have been rejected by a nutritionist.
Suggestions that astringents in tomatoes could harden and block the digestive tract when they interact with stomach acids are unfounded, Changhua Christian Hospital nutritionist Chen Yan-hua (陳燕華) said.
Eating tomatoes offers many health benefits, Chen said.
Every 100g of cherry tomatoes has 1.5g of dietary fiber, 609.8mg of vitamin A, 3.65mg of beta-carotene, 49.9mg of vitamin C, 200mg of potassium and only 35 calories, Chen said, citing Food and Drug Administration data.
Tomatoes contain the antioxidant lycopene, a cancer-preventative phytonutrient that can help dissolve fatty substances in the body, she said, adding that lycopene is easily absorbed by the body.
“However, those with certain chronic illnesses like diabetes should eat tomatoes sparingly, and not directly after a meal, because they are a fruit and contain natural sugars,” she said.
Those with high blood-sugar levels should wait at least two hours after a meal to eat sweeter types of tomatoes and should not eat more than about 15 cherry tomatoes at a time, Chen said.
Those with chronic kidney disease should not eat too many tomatoes in one sitting because of the high level of potassium in tomatoes, she said.
Those who suffer from hyperglycemia, hyperlipidemia and hypertension should consult a dietitian to determine whether it is safe for them to eat tomatoes, she added.
People who are attempting to lose weight should eat more tomatoes because they are low in calories and an easy snack, Chen said.
However, all food types should be eaten in moderation, even if they are high in nutrition and offer health benefits, she said.
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