Diet – don’t buy it! Part 2

Here are three common wrong assumptions in nutrition:
1.    Everybody has the same nutritional needs. Obviously not true, even apart from gender, age, weight, physical activity, every human body is different from the outside, but even more so from  on the inside. Thousands of biochemical processes and substances, and millions of different cells make sure that your body is different from mine, with different nutritional needs and different strengths and weakness in biochemical pathways. Your food might be my poison.

2.    Every same food has the same composition, like every orange contains 50 mgs of vitamin C. And again: this simply isn’t true. The composition of food might differ 10- to 50- fold in important constituents, depending e.g. on the composition of the soil, the climate, the weather, the time of harvesting, the storage time, the transport, and the processing of the food. This fact questions the practice of filling out nutritional questionnaire in which one has to write down the diet over a week to see how much mineral and vitamins one has taken in that week.

3.    Everybody has the same level of absorption. We know that the absorption of food depends on many factors, like stomach pH, enzymatic activity, the composition of the gut microbiome, and many more. Some people may absorb a lot of a standardized portion of food constituents, others might absorb a lot less, whereas the rest will be excreted by the body. This also why a standardized dosage in some people will not prevent a deficiency, while in others the same dosage might even lead to accumulation of the same substance, because it is absorbed very well.

But we all understand that our current diet can be improved considerably, but not by following the latest fad in nutrition or hottest diet. Diets just come and go and may come again, and go again, or are just old diets with a new label. Probably less processed and adulterated food will be able to contribute to this. Nutrition that contains more plant foods and  that contains less energy. “Real food” that your grandmother would recognize as food, and produced by people who still take pride in their product. It sounds like a hippie talking, but as soon as something becomes produced on an industrial scale there is real danger of the quality going down and profit becoming the only reason for the production of it.

I agree that without the use of pesticides some foods would be impossible to be produced in adequate quantities, but 12 different synthetic chemicals sprayed over my strawberries is too much of good thing. No thanks, I just leave them alone. This is a dead end street and in the far future we will have to pay a heavy price or maybe our children are already doing that without us knowing it.

This above statement is not a political statement, nor am I an activist, the words “left” or “right”, Democrat or Republican, conservative or liberal are wasted on my ideas.
Some good things I would like to keep them as they are, some less good things I would like to change. In some issues I am a romantic optimist, in others I might have a more realistic or critical view, as you might have noticed by now.
Yes, nutrition probably is one of the most complex issues in performance when looking at the effects of thousands of natural and synthetic substances interacting in a positive, a neutral or negative way with the manifold of biochemical processes in the human body.

Limited bibliography:

Egolf, B; Lasker, J; Wolf, S; Potvin, L: The Roseto effect: A 50-year comparison of mortality rates; Am. J Public Health, Vol.82, No.8, 1992, pg.1089-1092.

Simopoulos, A.P; Milner, J.A (Eds): Personalized Nutrition.Translating Nutrigenetic/ Nutrigenomic Research into Dietary Guidelines; Karger, Basel, 2010.

Michal, G; Schomburg, D: Biochemical Pathways – An Atlas of Biochemistry. and Molecular Biology ; Wiley, 2012.
Nicholson, D.E : Extensive Metabolic Pathway Chart, 22nd Edition,  Sigma-Aldrich, 2003.

Thiele, I; Swainston, N; Fleming R.M.T. et al: A community-driven global reconstruction of human metabolism; Nature Biotechnology,  2013, doi:10.1038/nbt.2488..

Suhre, K;  Shin, S.Y. Petersen, A.K. et al: Human metabolic individuality in biomedical and pharmaceutical research; Nature, Vol.477, (7362) 2013, doi:10.1038/nature10354.

Schrenk,D: (Ed.): Chemical contaminants and residues in food; Woodland Publ. 2012.

Heinrich, M:  Prieto, J.M: Diet and healthy ageing 2100: Will we globalise local
knowledge systems?; Aging Research Reviews, No.7, 2008, pg. 249-274.

Crinnion, W.J: Organic Foods Contain Higher Levels of Certain Nutrients, Lower Levels of Pesticides, and May Provide Health Benefits for the Consumer;  Alt.Med.Rev. Vol.15, No.1, 2010, pg.4-12.

Lucock, M: Molecular Nutrition and Genomics; Wiley & Liss, 2007.

Drew J.E: Cellular Defense System Gene Expression Profiling of Human Whole Blood: Opportunities to Predict Health Benefits in Response to Diet; Adv. Nutr. No.3, 2012, pg. 499-505.

About Henk Kraaijenhof

My name is Henk Kraaijenhof and I started this blog as a random collection of concepts, ideas, stories and events that are important or interesting to me in my work as an international performance consultant in a wide range of fields, and sometimes outside of my work. I will try to post a new entry every 3-4 days. Feel free to comment if you like.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *