Fake news alert: Dietician debunks persimmon myth, gives nutrition tips

When in doubt, always consult healthcare professionals such as dietician Heng Mei Shan from Alexandra Hospital.
PHOTO: Alexandra Hospital
 
Yet another piece of fake news has reared its ugly head recently. And no, it's got nothing to do with Covid-19. 

I think the people who enjoy telling their friends about such rubbish got tired of forwarding memes like "drinking warm water will kill the Covid-19 virus", "keeping an onion close to you helps to kill coronavirus", "Eat bananas and gargling with salt water can prevent coronavirus" et al.

So, what to do? Forward old fake news on persimmons lor. (Actually hor, when was the last time you ate a persimmon?)

I already gave a Covid-19 infodemic rant in April. Must I do it again? I can't be bothered lah. Cuz getting triggered won't stop some people (you and I know what sort of people) from forwarding such crap. So it's up to us to educate them and tell them to stop. These are people who will never doubt themselves because they think that 1) whatever appears on Facebook or WhatsApp must be true, and 2) they are forwarding these memes out of the kindness of their heart.

To give context, here is the offensive piece on persimmons being circulated:

Utter rubbish. A simple Google search will give you zero results on any child being hospitalised and dying after eating a persimmon. PHOTO: Internet

And this meme is so sneaky, starting off with a truth - "now is the season of persimmon", because, according to this news report, they are harvested every October and November. (But that's in South Korea lah. Although you will find persimmons from China at Giant right now.)

The rest of the meme? Fake.

And we know because we asked Heng Mei Shan, a dietitian at Alexandra Hospital about it.

Is there any truth in this meme that's circulating (again) on chat apps?

"There is a lack of scientific evidence to suggest that persimmons eaten in combination with yogurt or banana is poisonous."

What's your advice regarding such food-related or nutrition-related "tips" which may not be true that are widely circulated, especially among the older folks who may be more gullible?

With the increasing popularity of social media platforms and digital media, it is common for misinformation about food (and other health-related information) to be quickly and widely disseminated across the internet.

It is important to be cautious when interpreting information online. Do not spread information that you cannot verify. Get your information from credible sources such as government health websites (e.g. HealthHub).

When in doubt, always consult healthcare professionals.

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Could you please offer some proper nutrition tips for our readers, especially during this period when most of us may be snacking more and moving less due to work-from-home arrangements?

1. It is important to maintain regular meals and meal timings within the comforts of your home. Avoid erratic eating patterns such as meal skipping and then binge eating as it can lead to low energy levels, frequent cravings and weight gain. Having regular meals of moderate portions is key.

2. You may opt to have a mid-meal snack to prevent overeating at the next main meal. Examples of suitable snacks include a piece of fruit, a handful of unsalted nuts, a glass of low fat milk, a tub of low fat yogurt or a wholegrain sandwich with fillings such as egg or tuna.

3. Practise mindful eating. It is best to not eat your main meals and snacks in front of your computer while doing your work. Minimising distraction and taking the time to appreciate what you are eating will help with portion control and prevent overeating.

4. It is important to stay active. The time saved on commuting can now be better spent on physical activity to keep fit!

This article was first published in Wonderwall.sg.