Chapter_17

Chapter_17 - Chapter17 Nutrition Introduction Nutrition is...

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Chapter 17 Nutrition Introduction Nutrition is probably most widely debated and least understood field of our time with the exception of religion (which is even more widely debated and less understood). Attempts to improve health via nutrition are largely attempts to practice biochemistry without adequate biochemical knowledge. Case in point involves fat/cholesterol debate raging for decades. Initially all fat was bad (milk). Next saturated fat (butter) was bad and unsaturated (margarine) good. Then it was decided that making unsaturated fats out of saturated was bad because this produced some trans fatty acids (margarine; really
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bad).
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Debate about cholesterol took similar path. First all cholesterol was bad (eggs). Next there was good (fish) and bad (red meat) cholesterol. Now some people are saying cholesterol is irrelevant and real issue is homocysteine levels (fast food and insufficient green vegetables). The cereals debate was entertaining too. About thirty years ago nutritional value was tested by how much weight baby rats gained eating certain foods (milk was a "perfect" food back then). A big media hype was started when it was found that American breakfast cereals were "less nutritious" than the box they came in. People stopped eating cereal and then it was decided that indigestible fiber (cereal) was crucial to keep us all from dying of cancer and heart disease. People started binging on oat bran and then it was decided that too much fiber was bad for intestines.
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If all this sounds a little obsessive what is "common sense" approach to "nutrition and lifestyle"? Eat as wide a variety of foods as possible; try to get a balance of fruits, vegetables, meat, starch, grains, etc.; take the time to do something fun that requires mild (not obsessive) exercise frequently; get plenty of sleep; adjust your lifestyle to minimize stress. Currently there are no miracle diets, and probably no real "killer" foods. Body suffers more from deficiencies of nutrients that too much of one particular type (exception: fat- soluble vitamins). Biochemical issues involving nutrition will eventually be worked out but this will take time; biochemistry is very complex and new field.
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This note was uploaded on 12/28/2011 for the course CHEM 1002 taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '08 term at LSU.

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Chapter_17 - Chapter17 Nutrition Introduction Nutrition is...

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