NUTRITION AND METABOLISM

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

Be fit or long-lived? Can we be both fit and long-lived?

“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…


How does diet, exercise, and protein intake mitigate the risk of losing lean mass?

Body weight loss is typically achieved via dieting, and very little meaningful weight loss is achieved via exercise alone. Generally, weight loss composition is 3 quarter fat mass and 1 quarter fat-free mass. Fat-free mass is usually an indicator of lean mass.

Middle-age is the time when the prevalence of obesity is high after accumulating years of extra calories. Dr Kevin Hall estimated that an American gain an average of 0.5kg per year. Interestingly, the increase in loss in lean mass starting from middle-age may be masked by the concomitant increase in fat mass. …


Actively dividing cells.

Discussing some hypotheses we know in 2021.

The Warburg effect explains that cancer cells have a higher rate of glucose uptake than non-cancerous cells, via a process known as aerobic glycolysis. This phenomenon was described by Otto Warburg in 1956.

In cancer cells, aerobic glycolysis results in glucose being metabolised into carbon compounds to build cellular substances and secrete lactic acid into the environment as byproducts. That is why you often heard that cancer cells thrive in an “acid environment”. But no, alkaline water doesn’t help with cancer prevention or treatment.

In normal cells, glucose would be completely oxidised into ATP and carbon dioxide, a process known…


It is scientifically a protein replacement rather than a meat replacement.

Food technologists have placed plenty of effort in mimicking the texture, appearance, taste and aroma of meat, tapping into the flexitarians market. These food properties can be modified by experimenting with various mixtures of plant proteins, extrusion methods, heating methods, and importantly, additives.

Consequently, the food chemical profile is very different from a beef burger, you don’t need a lab to know this. But, just how different? That’s what I am interested to know.

The Result — What are the differences?

Scientists at the Duke University measured the metabolites in a grass-fed ground beef burger VS a popular plant-based burger. …


Focusing on affordability, protein content, protein source, sodium content, and other additives.

The types of mock meat available in the market are constantly evolving. If you think mock meat is a new phenomenon, check the history here. Ancient Chinese have been making mock meat from seitan (wheat gluten). Moreover, the British attempted to make protein from fungi and further develop into mock meat back in the 1960s, this is Quorn’s story.

Mock meat is designed to target flexitarians. Although food scientists are placing significant effort to closely mimic meat products, this is certainly not the case for all mock meats. …


Personal Experience

My disappointment with the marketing model, making wellness a rather “toxic” phenomenon.

Supplements.

When people asked what I studied at the university, I replied, “Nutrition”. Many of them immediately respond by saying this is a “multimillion-dollar industry” that has huge business potential. I reckon they are referring to businesses that sell nutrition supplements.

As a nutrition scientist myself, we don’t make a lot of money. There are a few ethical conundra in the nutrition business, one of the many being the direct sales and multilevel marketing model in the nutrition supplement industry. A few successful examples are Amway (Nutrilite), Herbalife, USANA, etc. …


Whey protein improves blood glucose in the short term, but we cannot prescribe whey protein just yet.

Dairy and whey protein

Dairy is a part of a healthy diet in most populations. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommended 3 servings of dairy per day, including milk, yoghurt, and cheese.

In 2012, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) agreed that low-fat dairy products can be a part of a healthy diet among patients with diabetes, but there was no information regarding serving size.

Although whey protein is a part of milk protein (100g full-fat milk contains approximately 0.64g …


Effects of pan-fried vs sous-vide cooking on beef’s fat oxidation and protein digestion.

Sous Vide.

What is sous-vide?

Sous-vide (pronounced sue-veed, means “under vacuum” in French) cooking has gained popularity in recent years. The cooking method involves putting your meat in a sealable bag, can be either vacuumed or not, then immerse the sealable bag into a water bath for a few hours. It is very similar to boiling, except that a sous-vide machine:

  • Cooks at a temperature lower than the boiling point
  • Can precisely control temperature and time, hence prevent overcooking.
  • Prevents contact between foods and water, so that nutrients do not leach into the water.

In this article, I summarise research that tested whether the sous-vide…


Protein quality score does not inform the effects of protein on cardiometabolic health — a significant health burden in the developed world.

Plant proteins.

Protein Quality Based on Bioavailability

How is protein traditionally classified?

Protein is traditionally classified based on its bioavailability, which means a “good quality” protein must be:

  • easily digested, absorbed, and utilised by our cells
  • containing a range of essentials amino acids (the amino acids that the human body cannot make), in a balanced proportion

According to this classification, dairy is considered a “good quality” protein, followed by animal meat. Most plant protein is considered a “poor quality” protein, except soy and pea.

How relevant is protein quality?

But, many people are probably overemphasising the importance of protein bioavailability. In developed countries, the ratio of animal-to-plant protein intake is approximately


A multinational study attempted to explain hunger by just measuring glucose response to a meal.

A group of experts in the field of appetite study revisited the “glucostatic hypothesis” of appetite regulation. This theory is long proposed in 1953 by Dr Mayer, who hypothesised that a low blood sugar concentration triggers hunger and hence food-seeking behaviour.

Many hypotheses for appetite regulation have been proposed since then. Yet, none of which can satisfactory explain why we feel hungry.

The research finding of this latest study concluded that hunger was linked to blood sugar dip. In my article:

  1. I’ll show you my personal example of how does blood sugar level change after a meal.
  2. I’ll explain how…

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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