Friday, January 20, 2012


For the longest time as a child, when I thought vitamins, I thought about that unusual smell which can always be found wafting in vitamin shops. I knew that vitamins were important, and that Fred Flinstone in particular wanted me to take his unpleasant tasting multivitamin. But what are they actually good for, and why do I have to eat that broccoli?

From a biochemical standpoint, vitamins are small organic molecules that act as cofactors whose presence is required for certain proteins and enzymes to function. To put that into more common terms, vitamins can be compared to common work tools that humans use. For example, although you may have the strength to turn a screw, you are unable to grip, turn and sink a screw without a screwdriver. Hence, proteins in your body, which are responsible for the upkeep and health of your body,  may possess the 'strength' to perform a much needed function like extract energy from food, however, it cannot without the use of a vitamin which helps the protein 'grip' its substrates. Our body is incapable of creating new vitamins, thus the only way to replenish lost or broken vitamins is through our diet. Our body's ability to grow and continue functioning properly is directly limited by the intake and presence of vitamins.

There are 13 vitamins each identifiable with a letter and possibly a number. The names, functions, sources, recommended daily allowances and resulting diseases caused by deficiency are all mostly accurately summarized in a table which can be found on wikipedia:

Instead of focusing on the nitty-gritty details about the biochemical functions of each vitamin here, I encourage you to read all about it on wikipedia. Something I do wish to dwell on is the correlation between diseases and vitamin deficiency. There are several very well documented diseases such as scurvy (gyyarr) which arise as a result of short-term vitamin deprivation (ie the amount of time it takes to sail across the ocean). Diseases such as these are becoming more of a rarity in today's society since most people usually take in enough vitamins to keep such disease at bay. What some have wondered, however, is if prolonged consumption of a  'western' diet which is not as rich in vitamins as fruits and vegetables are could be responsible for a host of other more common diseases that many in our society are encountering today (ie cancers, autoimmune diseases....). While scientific studies have yet to definitively establish a correlation between something as broad as a lifetime of slight undernourishment and cancer for example, the internet is rife with anecdotal evidence supporting this conclusion. A prominent and entertaining example can be found in the recent movie "Fat Sick and Nearly Dead" ( Personally, I think that loading your diet with more fruits and veggies couldn't do much harm, however, I don't believe that doing so is going to be the end-all of diseases as many would like to believe.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Diet Rat Soda

On my acquisition of knowledge, I ran across some interesting information and studies. I believe that every family has their individual who participates in the daily or even more frequent run to McDonalds or Sonic for the Diet Coke run. There is also the individuals who carry around the monster large Big Gulps. I ran across some interesting studies based out of Purdue in the Davidson lab. Davidson and his collegues have put out several studies about the consumption of artificial sweeteners. I think there can be no doubt that in term of calorie consumption and therefore weight gain the sugared sodas are far and above the culprit over their artificial counterparts. Therefore you would expect that use of artificial sweeteners would lead to a decrease in weight, this is not always the case. Several studies suggest that the uncoupling of sweetness and energy actually lead an individual to seek out sweets and increased calorie consumption. This is precisely what was studied in the labs at Purdue. Using rats, they gave one group of rats an addition of artificial sweeteners in their diet and monitored consumption. The rats who received the artificial sweeteners had increased consumption and weight gain. Now I know we are to rats, therefore cannot make a direct correlation, but something to tink about before you grab that second diet soda.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Glycemic Index

As the man in charge of the sugars. I tried to spend some time increasing my soon to be expert level knowledge about sugars. As my first level of training I learned about the Glycemic Index. For more details take a look at to get values and info. The jest of the idea is to eat more complex carbs instead of carbs that enter the blood stream quickly. I focused on the research about the true value of a decreased glycemic index food. These primarily are foods such as your oats, barley, brown rice but also can be items such as dark chocolate, chocolate cake and pure fructose not necessarily "healthy." A number of things can be found on the Internet about a low glycemic index diet helps prevent against colon cancer, breast cancer, diabetic complications among others. Taking the time to analyze the most recent studies from these facts have really not held much ground. Even the original studies that report a benefit report a very minimal benefit compared to the overall risk. As most things on the Internet they need to be read with much caution. There are a couple good things that can be taken from the glycemic index. One if you are diabetic then following the guidelines by eating low index foods will leave to an improved glucose control. Most of our current readers do not fall into this classification. Also there can be no doubt that complex carbs and thus low glycemic index leads to the a longer filling satiety then your sugar cereals, white breads and white rice.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Why nutrition, you ask?

A blog dedicated to all, this site is devoted to exploring the many ways that nutrition affects our life. What we eat affects so much more than just our waistlines, it also affects our temperament, longevity, and overall spiritual and physical well-being.

With so much information available on healthy living, it is a wonder that people continue eating the way they do. In today's society, there are very few legitimate excuses for not knowing that a carrot is healthier than a potato chip, or that a bowl of beans is healthier than chicken nuggets. To further limit that list of excuses, this site will seek to provide information on exactly WHY the carrot is healthier than the potato chip.

Posts will be provided by an ambitious group of amateur nutritionistas. Topics include the following:
- Fat, including essential fatty acids, trans fat, and saturated fat;
- Sugar;
- Protein;
- Supplements;
- Phytonutrients;
- And so much more!