NUTRITION AND METABOLISM

Weighing the evidence between the health benefits of a high-protein diet and a protein-restricted diet.

Source: Flickr from Manel Torralba

“Survival of the fittest” is one of the core concepts of evolution, which means an organism that is fitter (stronger) has a better chance of successful mating and reproducing. In pure nature, the purpose of life is to reproduce, ensuring the continuity of the species. That is probably why most modern diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer are more prevalent in the post-reproduction years. According to the concept of evolution, post-reproduction years have little benefits towards ensuring the continuity of species hence we are not evolved to develop resilience to these diseases.

You might have heard that…


Legumes mix.
Legumes mix.
Photo by Vanessa Loring from Pexels

Combining legumes and grains protein is a rule of thumb, but here is a more comprehensive list of plant protein combinations.

Combining different plant proteins to form a “complete protein” is an essential knowledge among vegetarians and vegans to meet their protein requirement. Besides, the food industry can also use this knowledge to formulate good quality plant-based products.

A simulation study in the Netherlands compared the protein quality of 5 animal-based and 12 plant-based proteins, and how combining different plant proteins can improve protein quality.

Protein quality — Digestible Indispensable Amino Acid Score (DIAAS)

The gold standard for rating protein quality is based on the Digestible Indispensable Amino Acid Score (DIAAS), endorsed by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). It takes into account the (i) ratios of essential amino acids…


Meat patty vs plant-based alternative meat patty.
Meat patty vs plant-based alternative meat patty.
Photo by Maude Frédérique Lavoie on Unsplash

Concern about plant-based alternative meat being not healthier than real meat is valid. But, there is a lack of human studies in showing this.

Plant-based alternative meat mimics the texture and macronutrient composition of processed meat, such as burger, sausages, meat strips, etc. However, plant-based alternative meat is also an ultra-processed food. Many health-conscious individuals concern that it might not be healthier than real meat. Contenders for real meat commonly see beef patty as less processed. We can make beef patty or bean patty at home from scratch. However, we cannot reproduce the commercial Beyond or Impossible mock-meat patty.

Medium writer Macala Wright and Maya Kroth previously detailed the composition of commercial plant-based patties. It is valid to deconstruct the food composition. However, very…


Photo by Monika Kubala on Unsplash

Meat and Alternative Protein

Meat and alternative protein can co-exist in a food system.

The rise of alternative proteins, or meat substitute, has always concerning the meat industry. There a few pressures experienced by the meat industry, that result in alternative proteins being more favourable for human consumption:

  1. According to the United Nation’s estimation, the world population is expected to reach approximately 10 billion in 2050. Hence, it is logical to ask whether the Earth has the resources to produce sufficient meat to feed the population.
  2. Meat products, especially beef and lamb/sheep, have high carbon footprint when compared to other meat and alternative proteins. …


Milk.
Milk.
Photo by Anita Jankovic on Unsplash

These dairy nutrients may explain why milk/dairy products are a part of a healthy diet.

In early 2020, an article published in The New England Journal of Medicine proposed that the health benefit of dairy consumption is relative to what is not being consumed. They have shown that milk is good for health when substituting processed meat or sugary beverages for milk. However, milk is adverse for health when substituting plant protein for milk.

In late 2020, another article published in Frontiers of Nutrition attempted a more mechanistic approach. The author discussed the dairy nutrients that influence cardiometabolic outcomes. Hence, this article sees dairy’s health benefit as more than substituting the worse for the better…


Turtles live for more than 100 years, but they do not exercise. Or do they?

Photo by Stephanie LeBlanc on Unsplash

I was once challenged that:

Turtles can live for 400 years but live a slower pace of life than a human being. You don’t need to exercise to live long. The best way to care for your body is not to speed things up, but to slow it down.

The above statement is seemingly legit. Those who are reluctant to exercise can potentially use the above statement as an excuse to “avoid” exercise.

There is very little science in supporting the fact that “exercise is not necessary for longevity”. The closest scientific hypothesis related to this phenomenon is “live fast…


There are rationales for boosting fiber intake to suppress hunger, a scientific review investigates its performance in the context of a higher-fat meal.

Photo by Sam Moqadam on Unsplash

Background

There have always been contenders of high-fat diet and high-fibre diet, owing to various reasons which can be traced back to science and philosophy.

People have occasionally used the hunter-gatherer diet to justify why we should eat this and not that, which ironically rarely mentioned by nutrition scientists. Hunter-gatherers used to eat a lot of animal fat and high-fiber plants. Interestingly, there are distinct groups of individuals who are unnecessarily restrictive with their diets nowadays, to go on for an almost full animal-based diet or vegan-diet. …


I was challenged that fiber is “not essential”. Here’s my scientific opinion.

Photo by Melissa Belanger on Unsplash

The background

I was challenged that fiber is a “not essential” nutrient for our body and that this is not commonly known by people. I agree. Even nutritionists rarely talk about fiber as a nutrient.

This question is highly debated. The general consensus is that carbohydrates, protein, and fat are the macronutrients; whereas vitamins and minerals are micronutrients. These nutrients consistently being absorbed by the body and can support growth. Now, consider the following:

  • Is water a nutrient?
  • Is alcohol a nutrient?
  • Is air or oxygen a nutrient?

Whilst our body absorbs water, alcohol, and oxygen (from the air), and is involved…


NUTRITION AND METABOLISM

What went in must come out.

How Defecation Might Be The Key To Lower Blood Cholesterol?
How Defecation Might Be The Key To Lower Blood Cholesterol?
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Our body physiology is designed to maintain an appropriate amount of biomolecules in our body for us to function optimally. We gain the biomolecules from the environment in the form of food, and we excrete the excess biomolecules or their byproducts back into the environment. In other words, our physiology regulates what and how much can go into our body, as well as what and how much can be released into the environment.

Although excessive food intake causes biomolecules to accumulate in our body, which is a problem; it is equally important to question whether the “wastes” are properly excreted.


From the perspective of appetite science and psychophysical bias.

Photo by Karthik Garikapati on Unsplash

There have been opinions on whether a pizza should be sliced into a pie or square shape. Indeed, a pizza slice can also be rectangular. Nevertheless, you can slice it in any way you like, go as wild as you like following your imagination. The only issue is that the shape that pizza slices may not be of equal sizes.

But, pizza slices don’t have to be equal, do they? When sliced into a pie shape, each slice contains crust; whereas when sliced into a square shape, you may pick parts of the pizza that has no crust, the part…

JJ Lim, BSc (Hons)

Nutrition researcher; PhD in progress; Studying metabolism and weight management. Find me at Twitter: https://twitter.com/JJ_NutriScience

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