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An Overview of Nutrient Metabolism

This article actually represents the entirety of Chapter 4 of the Revised Rapid Fat Loss Handbook and discusses the topic of nutrient metabolism.

In this chapter, I want to give readers a very brief and simplified overview of human metabolism and nutrient use. Which, for those who know a lot about the topic will realize, is an understatement of vast proportion. The complexities of human metabolism can and do fill up hundreds of pages in physiology books and this chapter should be taken with that in mind.

The Basics: Energy and Building Blocks

Very simplistically speaking, we can divide the uses of the nutrients (discussed last chapter) into three categories, of which I only really want to talk about two. One category, which I won’t discuss much has to do with the vitamins and minerals which both act, essentially, as nuts and bolts in the body. They fulfill any number of different roles; depending on which one you’re talking about.… Keep Reading

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Is a Calorie a Calorie?

In addition to the endless Protein Controversies and Carbohydrate and Fat Controversies in the area of nutrition, another long-standing argument has to do with the question of: Is a calorie a calorie?

Simply put, the debate comes down to this: is all that matters is caloric balance (calories in versus calories out) or do the source of those calories matter? The short and simple answer, of course, is ‘No’.

The longer answer is what this article is about.

As usual, both sides of the argument can bring lots of data to the table in support of their contentions. Frequently, as you’ll see below, they end up arguing slightly different issues. In looking the topic, I want to look at three distinct data sets, each of which generates slightly different results and answers to the question. Basically, this is where a big part of the confusion comes from: people are trying to comparing data from dissimilar sets of studies and are reaching bogus conclusions because of it.… Keep Reading

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Calories Nutrients or Food?

In this article, I want to look at a somewhat fundamental aspect of general nutrition; that is the distinction between calorie intake, nutrient intake, and food intake. This is relevant for the simple fact that the average person doesn’t think in terms of calorie intake, and they probably don’t think in terms of nutrient intake. Rather, they think in terms of eating food; thus it’s important to examine the distinction between those three ‘categories’ of intake.

Calories

Ignoring the fringe that claims that the calorie counting theory is invalid or doesn’t work, most diet books deal predominantly with calories (everywhere but the US, joules are used). They’ll discuss caloric intake (from food) or caloric expenditure (from activity) or compare the two. In discussing what is happening to the body (weight gain or loss), they’ll compare the energy balance equation which compares calories in to calories out.

So what, you ask, is a calorie?… Keep Reading