CLAIM: There is a well-traveled myth that drinking milk post eating fish is harmful. This question has been posed across social media, from Twitter to Facebook to Quora.
True or False?
We discovered that there are a few different perspectives to this, the Ayurvedic one and the one followed by western medicine, and each has an opposing view.
In Ayurveda, the Two Are Incompatible
In Ayurveda, fish is non-vegetarian and milk, despite being an animal by-product, is vegetarian and the two and therefore incompatible.
Ayurvedic expert Dr BN Sinha told NDTV that having the two together increases your body’s tamas guna (harmful energies) and causes an imbalance. Dr Sinha also added that he believes this could create chemical changes in our blood, potentially causing a skin pigmentation condition called leucoderma.
Western Medicine Says It’s Alright
“Fish and milk are both protein-rich and if they react they can cause pain, stomach upset and diarrhea but only if you are allergic,” says Dr Tarun Sahni, a general physician at Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals to FIT.
"This is a myth propagated, everyone eats these two together without any problem. The small percentage that have a problem will have allergic tendencies or a weak digestive system." - Dr Tarun Sahni
To the claim that eating these two could give you leucoderma or vitiligo – which is a skin disorder where you lose the natural colour of your skin in patches – Dr Sahni said that this was “far-fetched”.
" People who consume the two do not have this reaction. Leucoderma is an auto-immune disorder, which means it is already present in the body. The idea that this will get worse when having milk and fish is far-fetched." - Dr Tarun Sahni
There has been no scientific proof that says milk and fish combine to cause harm on our bodies. In fact, Greek cuisine offers a variety of food that mixes fish and yogurt and is known to be beneficial to our health.
Closer to home, many coastal fish preparations like Konkani or Malwani cusine also have delicious fish and coconut milk curries.
Dr Sahni says, “If you have an allergy the body is programmed with a defense mechanism to flush out the ingredients you can’t digest. So you will have diarrhea or puke, and this is a natural reaction so that the ingredients do not get absorbed in your body.”
While both theories have their merits, it is clear that having milk and fish together will not cause you bodily harm unless you have an allergies.
"The claim that eating fish and drinking milk together will harm you is not a universal truth at all." - Dr Tarun Sahni
Additionally, this combination cannot cause ‘white spots’ as many in the claims pictured above mentioned – vitiligo is a skin disorder that is naturally present and will not appear post having milk and fish.
Also Read: Eating Fish May Help Prevent Asthma: Study
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