[Sca-cooks] lye treatment

Terry Decker t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net
Wed Nov 29 15:59:29 PST 2006

You mean denaturation.  In biochemistry, you denature a protein with heat, 
alkali, or acid to diminsh or eliminate some of it's physical properties. 
In this case, it makes some of the acids and enzymes locked in the protein 
chain more extracable during digestion.  Processing maize in lye does not 
necessarily eliminate pellagra.

It should be pointed out that many American Indian diets used maize as a 
staple filled out by a wide range of other food stuffs, which would tend to 
produce a naturally balanced diet.  European diets tended to be heavy on 
grains to the exclusion of other foodstuffs.  It's not so much the European 
processing methods as the European diet that is the killer.


> Using the lye treatment actually makes quite a significant change in the
> grain. It causes nautalization (this is definitely not spelled correctly) 
> which
> releases various proteins which otherwise aren't available to the body. In
> fact,  when the Spaniards came in with their heavier, metal grinders and 
> mills,
> they  stopped using the lye, and people developed pellegra as a result. 
> Was a
> devastating illness in the South for a long time until Goldberg figured 
> out
> how  to treat it with niacin and various B-complex vitamins.
>    Devra

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