Nutrition: Macromolecules


Hey Folks,

Here is a page with the info that I presented in class, and some good links for more research.

Overall, the idea I want to hammer home is EAT REAL FOOD. Eat close to the source, and eat as little processed food as possible. It also results in treading more lightly upon the planet, involving less packaging, lower waste of resources, fuel for transport, chemicals and preservatives. What is a processed food? A clue will be how much packaging surrounds it. Generally, fresh unprocessed food has a shorter shelf life and therefore won’t be as highly packaged.

This idea is also espoused by Dr. Andrew Weil and Slow Foodie writer Michael Pollan.

WHY should we care?  We have naturally occurring microbes in our guts and protein tools (enzymes) in our bodies to break down and use naturally occurring substances: macro- and micronutrients. When we start eating ‘food’ that has been chemically processed/altered to stave off rot, we are presenting our bodies with alien materials that don’t break down as easily, and give off toxic byproducts that eventually harm us. Also, processing like heating, chemically modifying or irradiating destroys many nutrients in the original food.

For example, the high heating involved in canning a vegetable destroys vitamin C. Stabilizing certain fats at room temperature by adding extra hydrogen atoms to them (hydrogenation) create trans-fats that our enzymes don’t know what to do with. And processing meats with chemicals so they have  a longer shelf life creates molecules when we eat them that can increase cancer risk.



How much do we need?
For most of us, about 50g/day (2oz). Here’s an ACE article  written in fairly lay terms.

What is processed meat, why is it bad for you, and what to eat instead:

Processed and red meat and cancer links:




  4. Processed meat and colorectal cancer links: “The epidemiologic studies published to date conclude that the excess risk in the highest category of processed meat-eaters is comprised between 20 and 50% compared with non-eaters.” 

You have other options to mix in:

  • Fish, eggs, dairy, lighter meats and vegetarian options.

  • Complete vegetarian proteins HERE and recipes



How much do we need?
Generally 50-70g/day; more if you are very active.

Why do we care?
Every cell has a lipid bilayer, energy, delivery of vitamins D, E, A, K skin and hair health. Hormone creation using fats and cholesterol

What is it really?
Triglyceride – 3 fatty acid chain Bloodwork levels: Normal > 150 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). Borderline high 150 to 199 mg/dL. Very high triglycerides = 500 mg/dL or higher.)

Why do we like fat so much?

  1. Flavor molecules are mostly fat-soluble

  2. Evolutionarily, we needed the higher calories because we didn’t know when our next meal was going to be. (Through-hikers of the Appalachian trail eat as much ice cream as possible whenever they can.)

Saturated fats pack together easily as molecules, and so are usually solid at room temperature (butter, lard, coconut), are also more heat stable, and best for use in high heat cooking – sautéing etc. Unsaturated fats are liquid (olive and other vegetable oils) go rancid more quickly at room temperature and are less heat stable – don’t use for high heat cooking. An article that I like about why both types are OK – in moderation and within your fat “budget”.

Essential fatty acids – ones our livers don’t make, omegas 3,6. What the heck is an omega-3 Fatty acid, and where do I get one? Another article here.

Processed Fats:
To make less stable (cheaper vegetable) oils more stable, industry has developed processing protocols and chemicals. The treatment of unsaturated fats with hydrogen is a chemical process called “hydrogenation” and results in “hydrogenated fats”. Hydrogens are stuck onto the original fatty acid in weird ways (trans, instead of cis) so our body gets confused when it tries to break it down. These now ‘Trans-fats’ are associated with higher heart disease rates.

New information out about cholesterol:
Medical population is having a hard time letting go of statins (drug companies have an economic stranglehold) and its love affair with “low fat or fat-free” paradigms. Guess what…. the Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee which in February of this year made the incredibly subversive recommendation repealing the guideline that Americans limit cholesterol intake, saying “Cholesterol is not a nutrient of concern for overconsumption” reversing decades-long recommendations. WOOOOO. That’s a biggie. If you are in the mood for a huge read, click HERE.

UMAMI – check it out!!

Eat real fats.
Your body knows what to do with them. Butter is OK, Eggs are OK too, just stay within an intelligent limit of 50-70g of fat per day.

Avoid “hydrogenated” anything.
Check ingredient list of processed chips, cookies, crackers etc. Just drop margarine altogether. YUK.

Avoid “fat free” things.
These are highly processed to remove naturally occurring fat (and flavor, so sugar is added to replace). Simply use less of the natural fat, or use a different method of cooking – with more spices and seasoning to boost UMAMI.

What to increase:
Nuts (esp. walnuts, almonds, cashews), soy foods, omega 3′s from oily fish or supplements


CARBS – coming soon

(Carbage and Slow Carbs)

What is it:
Anything that ends in -ose (sucrose, glucose, maltose, dextrose, cellulose…). Most foods have a combination of fat/protein/carb. Some are ALL of one (tablespoon of olive oil = all fat, table spoon of white sugar = all carbohydrate). Some are mostly one.

Why do we need it?
Brain runs on glucose, and we use it as stored energy. Muscles prefer it for short term energy – part of our energy system – we always burning a combo of ATP, glucose and fat.

Why do we care?
Need it to survive, but the quality is important.

This is a good overview about Carbohydrates and how they function in the body, with a good description of Insulin function and the relationship of Insulin resistance, diabetes and hypertension.

SO – eating foods with lower GI will not burn out your pancreas/insulin system, so it will run longer and keep you healthier.

Mayo Clinic article on how many carbs, what and why.

Huffington Post article on the addictive quality of sugar.

Glycemic index:
Randomly based on 100. score > 60 = high GI. basically how fast your body will absorb and breakdown the sugar – how fast will be the sugar rush?

- fake sweeteners like aspartame messes with our metabolism. Article.