Carbs, Fats, Cholesterol and Proteins are GREAT for you!!!
Carbs, Fats, Cholesterols and Proteins are GREAT for you!!!
By Pete Lorins
We live in a World populated by extremists. No, I am not referring to the Taliban or other
religious extremists... Rather, I am referring to the fact that people seem to oscillate from
one extreme to another based on information that they get from so called experts, which are
often not contextualized or well-understood. However, as in all things, there has to be a "happy medium", a "sweet spot", in which all can be done or enjoyed in moderation.
When we take a quick glance at most of our foods and drinks today, we see a bunch of processed foods and drinks that are labelled "Low Fat", "Reduced Fat", "Fat Free", "Cholesterol
Free" etc...However, that is very misleading as Fat itself is not the problem; rather it is the kind of fat that is being ingested that should be at issue i.e., is it good fat or transfat?). Likewise, a lot of people, needlessly embark, on a low-carb or high/low-protein diet without realizing that their bodies need proteins, fats and carbohydrates ("carbs") to properly function.
This article is an attempt to clarify a few very important facts for our readers. Rather than
not ingesting enough Carbs, Fats and Proteins, we should focus on ingesting the right Carbs,
Fats or Proteins after understanding what they really are and their functions. ALL IN MODERATION -- Right?
There are four (4) major bio-organic molecules in humans:
1) Carbohydrates (Carbs) - this is mostly what we think of as "Sugars";
2) Lipids (e.g., Fats, oils, phospholipids, steroids and prostoglandins);
3) Proteins (e.g., enzymes); and
4) Nucleic Acids - which forms our genetic information (DNA) - I won't expend on this one much
as it is to complex and not relevant to this topic, yet readily relatable.
They are the main source of energy for cells and cellular activities. Different carbs have
different functions. Most of their names end with the letters "ose" (e.g., fructose, glucose, sucrose, cellulose), but others don't (e.g., Glycogen and Startch.) Glucose is the body's main energy source and it can either be produced from Sucrose by hydrolysis or from Glycogen (that is stored in the liver or muscles until needed as an energy source, at which point it is converted to glucose.) Moreover, Sucrose can produce Fructose, which is used for the cellular metabolism of carbs. Starch, on the other hand, is the chief food carbohydrate in human nutrition. Others like Heparin is important because it helps prevent excessive blood clotting. Last, but not least is cellulose, which is not itself digestible, but is an important fiber, as it provides bulk for proper movement of food through the intestines. In short, we need Carbs, but we need to ingest the right Carbs (organic or unprocessed carbs) and we need to do so in moderation.
Contrary to popular belief, fats are great for us. A fat is a category of lipids (which also include oils, phospholipids, steroids, and prostaglandins). Each fat molecule is made up of a Glycerol (alcohol molecule) and one or more fatty acid. Fats are stored in the body in the form of Tryglycerides. They are energy-rich molecules that are important as a source of reserve food for the body. They also provide the body with much needed insulation, protectoin and cushioning. But we need the right fats. For instance, Trans-fats are no-no's and many of them are associated with cancers, particularly breast cancers.
Cholesterols are a subcategory of steroids, which are themselves a category of Lipids, just like
fats are. The human body needs Cholesterol to maintain strength and flexibility of cell
membranes. Cholesterol is the molecule from which Steroid hormones and Bile Acids are built.
Thus, our bodies need cholesterol, just the right (organic) kind and in moderation.
Human life could not exist without proteins. They are large complex molecules composed of
smaller structural units called Amino Acids. The Enzymes that are required for all metabolic
reactions (in our bodies) are proteins. An enzyme, essentially, minimizes the energy required to
activate a particular reaction, and thus, by doing so induces the reaction to happen faster.
This is why proteins act as biological catalysts. Indeed, without enzymes, the stomach would not be able to harness energy and nutrients from food. Different enzymes work in different
environments due to changes in temperature and acidity (e.g, "Amylase" is present in the saliva
and help catalyze the digest process which begins in the mouth, but Amylase could not function in the Stomach which is a very acidic environment. However, "Pepsin" thrives in the Stomach as
it helps break down protein in the stomach, yet it could not function in the mouth.) Proteins are very important to stuctures like muscles.
You have probably heard of people whose disgestive systems are said to be "lactose intolerant". This essentially means that their bodies lack the enzyme necessary to digest "lactose" (known as "Milk Sugar or the sugar present in milk" a carbohydrate, right?). This is usually because such a person was not exposed to that kind of milk growing up (e.g., cow milk) or other factors. This is rather a common enzyme deficiency.
There are other more serious enzyme deficiency issues, such as the Glucose-6-Phosphate-Dehydrogenase deficiency, which is liked to hemolysis (i.e., the bursting of Red Blood Cells). The latter is found in more than 200 million people around the World, and mainly affects people in Mediterranean, West African, Middle Eastern, South East Asian populations.
So, yes, everything is good for us, but the right things and in moderation...
Written by Pete Lorins, Chief Editor of LorinsPOST - All questions/concerns should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org