Tuesday, October 2, 2012

What people should know.

Yesterday in one of my classes (Advanced Human Nutrition 2) a student raised his hand and made a seriously crazy comment that resulted in my picking up my jaw off the floor. He said that his friend was going to a "diet doctor" to lose weight and as he lost weight he noticed he smelled pizza all the time. He asked the doctor why this was and he told them that he probably had a lot of stored pizza and as be burned it off, it smelled like pizza.

Hold the phone.

Raise your hand if you believe this for a second.
(if you're raising your hand, we do not store fat as pizza! Also, it's not like its just dissipated through your pores. He was probably just craving it)

Can I remind you this guy is supposed to be a doctor?

From this, I draw two conclusions.
(1) People are drastically misinformed about nutrition/weight loss/exercise
(2) This doctor got his degree in a two month program online... and printed out his diploma.

Seriously though, nutrition is one of the most misconstrued sciences. I would argue that it's the most, but I don't know that for a fact, and I promise to stick to the things I know for sure.

It seems like everywhere I look I see things that are WAY off base.
A lot of it's on pinterest
And facebook
And the news
And billboards
And commercials
And something someone heard from their brothers best friends aunt who heard it from an even longer string of people.

For example, the other day I saw this poster thing that said milk is toxic because it has millions of cells in every glass and no wonder it makes us sick.
Do you know what meat is? And plants? Vegetables, fruits, eggs, pretty much everything (even us!)? It's all made of cells. Anything that's alive or has been alive has cells.
But to someone who doesn't know that sees this and thinks GROSS. I don't ever want to eat cells. I'm boycotting milk.

First, I want to say that it's not like I think people who believe these "crazy" things they they hear are dumb. Not at all. The opposite actually. If I hadn't spent the last 4 years of my life dedicated to studying and researching nutrition, I'd probably be just as confused as the rest of the world.

The great thing about getting a degree in nutrition (you should all do it, by the way) is that they don't teach us fads. They teach us the facts, the science, the metabolic pathways. They teach us how to find credible research (basically, it's not anything you're going to get NOT in a medical journal) and back it up with science. 

What I really want to talk about today is high fructose corn syrup. 
Did I just hear shrieks?
People fainted and fell to the ground and started convulsing?
You might be surprised to hear that it probably shouldn't be treated like the plague, as a lot of us do. High fructose corn syrup is made of fructose and glucose (don't worry, I'm not gonna pull out the big biochem guns. stick with me and you'll follow it!). Oh hey, do you know what table sugar is made of? Natural cane sugar. The good stuff. The "healthy" sugar. That's right, it's made out of glucose and fructose!!!
I'm sensing that one of these things is like the other.... 
So what's the difference? Fructose is sweeter so to get more bang for your buck, manufacturers use an enzyme (basically a chemical helper) to convert more of the glucose to fructose so that the ratio is slightly higher. Little more glucose, little less fructose. Sounds pretty innocent right? 

Let's talk about the potential problem. Let's say you eat 4 slices of pizza and wash it down with a 72 oz Dr. Pepper (be still my heart....actually that sounds gross). If you didn't know, Dr. Pepper has high fructose corn syrup.
Back to fructose and it's evilness. In your meal of pizza and soda, you consumed a good amount of carbohydrates. You also consumed a good amount of fat. First, your body will use all the carbohydrates (sugars, like fructose, are carbohydrates) or store all the carbohydrates it can. AFTER the body has used/stored all it can, the fructose CAN be converted into PART (the glycerol backbone) of a fatty acid to be stored, but even then it's no worse than consuming fats, which we need. Probably better because you're not consuming the entire fatty acid to be stored. However if you have it with fat, you have plenty of fatty acids to fill in the gaps.
 You should also probably know that fructose isn't absorbed as well as glucose. About 60% of healthy adults have problems even absorbing glucose to have the possibility of increasing your fat stores.
There is some shakey research that points to the fact it can be addictive/make you crave it, but then again, what foods can't?!

So what should you do? It depends on a few things. What's your activity level like? Do you plan to sit on the couch for the rest of the night or do you have a busy day ahead? Are you consuming it with a lot of carbohydrates? Basically, if you aren't it'll be treated like regular sugar in your body. If you are active, you will be using those carbohydrates. Your muscles and brain and lots of other tissues use carbs for fuel. If you're not, you're probably contributing to your fat stores.
[Believe it or not, a lot of what you consume is metabolized differently depending on what you consume it with]
 I definitely wouldn't recommend eating HFCS when you have the choice of sugar. I really think it's better to eat as natural as possible. Plus, sugars in general shouldn't be a large source of our diet and they can become addictive to quite  a few people. At the same time, I don't think it deserves ALL the negativity its given. Especially when we're talkin about a sip of that DP (dr. pepper) goodness occasionally. ;)
Be educated, make informed decisions.
That is all.
Peace and blessins


Annie said...

People baffle me. I would think that people would remember enough from high school biology (or even elementary science) to know that pretty much everything is made of cells.
Ooh well.. Thanks for this bit of info! I like that you can explain all that health jargon in a simple way. :)

katilda said...

I love that you wrote about this. I love nutrition. That is all.

Autumn said...

I guess my fat smells like Chinese buffet then?

Wow, that is ridiculous.

How did your teacher respond to this comment or was this in a group setting...?

Camila Carneiro said...

I'm so happy I found your blog, because I love hearing about nutrition!
Thank you for taking the time and explaining it all ;)