Nutrition


Surprisingly, Nutrition Articles on News Sites Suck

By Eric Troy

Not a week goes by when someone doesn't bring up his/her mistrust of science. No area of science has less trust these days than those associated with nutrition and health.

How can we trust science when science constantly contradicts itself? That is what people ask.

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What are the Major Elements and Molecules in the Human Body?

At present, there are about 115 elements known. The human body uses around 27 of these. The most abundant is oxygen, which makes up approximately 63% of the body's mass. Carbon comprises 18%, hydrogen 9%, and nitrogen 3%. These four are the key elements in body's most important molecules: water, proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, and nucleic acids.

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Food Label Zealots Hate Chemicals Unless They're in a Supplement Bottle

As a continuance of my assault on the misleading ideas about "natural" food, this is yet another follow-up to a series of blog posts where I discuss chemicals in foods and the concept of natural. In the last one, I talked about the difference between chemicals as nutrients and chemicals as pharmacologic agents. I explained that some chemicals in food do have a physiological effect beyond their basic biological functions. Others, such as compounds in herbals used for medicinal purposes simply have no function as a "nutrient." All of these, though, have one thing in common and that is summed up by saying that "The poison OR the remedy is in the DOSE." This is important in helping us recognize the difference between nutrition information and alternative medicine information.

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Misconceptions About Nutrition Information Versus Alternative Medicine

Food Nutrients and Toxic Plant Compounds, All from the Same Food

In my post Homeopathy Is Not a Drug and Other Babbles I had quite a rant, albeit a very informative one, about some idiotic things a NaturalHealth.com article said about homeopathy and about homeopathy quackery in general. If you read that you will be more in flow with what is to follow. Cuz I'm not done!

Much of that post concerned chemicals. The food faddist or the homeopathic zealot, when he hears the word chemical, cries "POISON!" Yet, chemicals are what our food is made of and the term toxic chemical, taken by itself, is meaningless.

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Natural and Processed Food, Nutritionism and Pollanisms

There has been a lot of support for Michal Pollan's books for the last few years (he was on Colbert ) and his books "In Defense of Food" as well as his earlier book "The Omnivore's Dilemma" are both very popular. I even saw Mike Boyle singing the praises of Pollan while imagining he knew more about nutrition than "nutritionists" by virtue of having read Pollan's books. Even though, strictly speaking, Pollan is not a nutritionist but a journalist. But hey, I've also seen Mike Boyle and others sing the praises of Mercola, so go figure. I would hesitate to get my nutrition information from a strength coach or a journalist. That is not to say that I would not take their advice, but only that I would hesitate to consider that advice as seriously as I would consider the advice of someone who is a nutrition specialist.

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Vitamin B12 (Cyanocobalamine) - When, How, and Why to Supplement

By Ken Adams, M.D. and Scott E. Conard, M.D.

Sources and Physiologic Functions

Sources

Liver, kidney, muscle meats, eggs, cheese, milk, and fish are excellent sources of vitamin B12. It is not found in plant foods or in yeast. Fermented foods such as soy sauce, tempeh, and miso, and fortified foods such as soymilk are also good sources of this vitamin.

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Heavy Metals Found In Protein Shakes: Should You Stop Drinking Them?

A recent investigation on protein drinks has been causing waves of concern or even alarm to ripple through the fitness and bodybuilding world. Supplement companies are up in arms and people are wondering whether they should stop drinking protein shakes after the magazine said they tested 15 protein drinks for heavy metals (arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury) and 3 of them came up above the proposed safe limits…

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The Role Of Soy In Vegetarian Diets

Soyfoods have long been prized among vegetarians for both their high protein content and versatility. Soybeans differ markedly in macronutrient content from other legumes, being much higher in fat and protein, and lower in carbohydrate. In recent years however, soyfoods and specific soybean constituents, especially isoflavones, have been the subject of an impressive amount of research. Nearly 2,000 soy-related papers are published annually. This research has focused primarily on the benefits that soyfoods may provide independent of their nutrient content. There is particular interest in the role that soyfoods have in reducing risk of heart disease, osteoporosis and certain forms of cancer. However, the estrogen-like effects of isoflavones observed in animal studies have also raised concerns about potential harmful effects of soyfood consumption. This review addresses questions related to soy and chronic disease risk, provides recommendations for optimal intakes, and discusses potential contraindications. As reviewed, the evidence indicates that, with the exception of those individuals allergic to soy protein, soyfoods can play a beneficial role in the diets of vegetarians. Concerns about adverse effects are not supported by the clinical or epidemiologic literature. Based on the soy intake associated with health benefits in the epidemiologic studies and the benefits noted in clinical trials, optimal adult soy intake would appear to be between two and four servings per day.

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Nutrition is Not a Top Ten Proposition and the Lycopene Bust

I'm going to give you three vegetables. You pick the best one.

  • Tomatoes
  • Green (Bell) Peppers
  • Spinach

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The Other Side Of Dogma - Alternative a Euphemism for Untested?

My last post about strength training and nutrition dogma dealt with the downside of the popular and untested beliefs that we cling to in the face of little to no evidence. Even so I pointed out that not all beliefs which appear to be dogmatic are "bad". Well, it just so happens that I think there are worse things than dogma.

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Nutrition is Not a True or False Proposition

I just came across a "nutrition quiz".

I got eight out of ten correct. Only eight? ME? You have got to be kidding me? I am a nutrition stud. Well, perhaps not exactly a nutrition stud but let's just say I do not get my nutrition information from steroid salesmen on bodybuilding forums.

One of the questions on the quiz involved brown rice. Go figure. I knew they wanted to hear that brown rice was healthier than white rice so that is what I answered but really I refuse to capitulate to the nonsense about brown rice being magical health pellets and white rice being evil little starch monsters.

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Strength Training and Nutrition Dogma

Modern strength training has, in recent times, aligned itself with science more than ever in the past. Unfortunately the majority of the industry has no clear knowledge of the scientific process and in fact, doesn't really know what science is. Most strength trainers who use science tend to point to science as if it is a thing. However, although we use the word as if it means a concrete thing it is rather a practice or system of acquiring knowledge. When we ask "what's the science on this?" what we really should be asking is "what is the state of knowledge on this?".

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Food Oil Fatty Acid Content List: Saturated, Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated

These charts give the relative amounts of saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fatty acids found in common the common food oils.

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The Role Of Carnitine in Disease

Carnitine is a conditionally essential nutrient that plays a vital role in energy production and fatty acid metabolism. Vegetarians possess a greater bioavailability than meat eaters. Distinct deficiencies arise either from genetic mutation of carnitine transporters or in association with other disorders such as liver or kidney disease. Carnitine deficiency occurs in aberrations of carnitine regulation in disorders such as diabetes, sepsis, cardiomyopathy, malnutrition, cirrhosis, endocrine disorders and with aging. Nutritional supplementation of L-carnitine, the biologically active form of carnitine, is ameliorative for uremic patients, and can improve nerve conduction, neuropathic pain and immune function in diabetes patients while it is life-saving for patients suffering primary carnitine deficiency. Clinical application of carnitine holds much promise in a range of neural disorders such as Alzheimer's disease, hepatic encephalopathy and other painful neuropathies. Topical application in dry eye offers osmoprotection and modulates immune and inflammatory responses. Carnitine has been recognized as a nutritional supplement in cardiovascular disease and there is increasing evidence that carnitine supplementation may be beneficial in treating obesity, improving glucose intolerance and total energy expenditure.

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