Thursday, August 11, 2011

Synergy of Real Foods

For as long as I can remember I've always wanted to be a dietitian. There's something about food that fascinates me-I like to grow food, learn about food, cook food, talk about food, and of course-eat food. It wasn't too long ago that I realized that I got a traditional "dietetics" education and learned the way conventional science studies food, which is in parts. In the quest for science to be able to provide the "answers" we are looking for (for weight loss, prevention of heart disease, treatment of diabetes, improved mental function, and the list goes on and on) everything is broken down in to its parts.

macronutrients: carbohydrates-sugar, fiber, fructose, sucrose; protein-complete, incomplete; fat-saturated, unsaturated, mono, poly, omega-3, trans, cholesterol
micronutrients: vitamins-A, C, D, E, B (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, biotin, folic acid); minerals-potassium, sodium, magnesium, calcium
antioxidants: glutathione, tocopherol, ascorbic acid
phytochemicals:flavanoids, isoflavones, carotenoids, lycopene

The more science thinks it knows about the breakdown of food the more researchers feel like they can isolate the one thing that will magically cure or prevent "the problem." However, "the problem" is that we are not looking at the big picture. All of these nutrients work synergystically together. And the closer a food is to it's natural state, the better the community of nutrients can work together. We have been told to throw out egg yolks because they have too much cholesterol, however when you do that you are also getting rid of the lutein and carotenoids, and all of the fat-soluble vitamins; A, D, E, & K. And don't forget the saturated fat. It's hugely beneficial when it has other nutrients to work with.

The point is this-most real foods have a variety of properties, but they all work together. Once we begin to remove or add nutrients to a food when it doesn't really belong we are manipulating the synergistic properties and that's just messing with nature. Mother nature will always win.