One thing as presented in my previous ramblings about my frustration with the science of nutrition is the bias that is all around. The more research I do the more I find bias. This was not apparent in my esteemed professor but did manifest itself in some of the articles that I read during my research of various topics. I think that maybe the reason we have so much confusion and disagreement, even at educated and elite levels is because of the bias of the industry. The food industry alone is a $680 billion market (including food and alcohol). Why wouldn’t any business want a bigger market share? People like me are few and far between, people who have a desire to understand how to fuel their bodies. Until we have an unbiased change in education at earlier ages regarding nutrition we will probably not make any further strides in what America eats.
One interesting group I have just learned about and discussed above is the Nutrition Science Initiative (NuSi). One of the problems we have had in the study of what people eat for long periods of time is that the test subjects are told what to consume and then they go home. How honest are they in what they consume and what are their activities? We have been told for the last 35 years as a population to eat more grains and carbohydrates. During this time we have seen a dramatic rise in obesity and diabetes. Maybe, it’s not working. This group is loaded with M.D.’s, Ph.D.’s and a host of experts in the field. I have never really felt comfortable with the information I have received over the years from the U.S. Government regarding nutrition and I have a box of twenty five year old pamphlets I need to throw out. I’ll be following the NuSi group as this information is intriguing.
To wrap up this essay I should discuss the macronutrients. Carbohydrates have been the building blocks of energy. Glycogen production comes directly from carbohydrates and is used to fuel the muscles and brain functions. Glycogen is stored in the muscles, liver and blood. The question is not the need for carbohydrates but what should one consume to acquire the necessary amounts of carbohydrates. It would appear that fruits, vegetables, nuts and berries are a better source for carbohydrates than grains for some like me but the jury is still out and may be for a while.
Protein builds muscle. In the text the author states that it’s not protein that builds muscle but exercise. That statement is a little disingenuous. For one, when exercising muscle it breaks down the tissue with little microscopic tears. Protein repairs those tears and increases the muscle mass. If you don’t consume enough protein when working out you might as well not work out at all. You will sustain damage and actally break down muscle. I have found out that I don’t normally consume the protein necessary for my age and exercise routine.
Fats are necessary in the system. There wasn’t a lot of information in the text regarding fats but here is what I know. Fats are actually fatty acids or lipids. They come in monounsaturated, unsaturated, polyunsaturated and just plain saturated varieties. Some fats transport certain vitamins such as A,E,D and K. They insulate the body and organs from shock and help maintain body temperature.
Supplements should be used in moderation. I will use supplements when I feel I am short in a certain area. I normally will take a protein supplement after a workout, one that has branched chain amino acids. The branched chain amino acids account for as much as 35% of muscle proteins and are easily absorbed. I also do an energy drink in the morning which I substituted for coffee years ago.
In conclusion I think that the class was beneficial in that it allowed me to do more research that I probably wouldn’t have gotten around to and will keep my interest for years to come.