In Nutrition

June 01, 2007

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When people think about "diet," they almost always think of losing weight. Pritikin, Atkins, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, South Beach, SlimFast, Nutrisystem, Learn, Paleolithic, Zone--diets galore and hype galore. All touted to provide you the means to a "healthy" weight, what do all these diets have in common... besides costing you money if you buy the books, supplements, or the prepackaged special foods that go with them? They all do three basic things: (1) modify the composition of your diet (limit your food selection), (2) either directly or indirectly limit your caloric intake, and (3) expect you to exercise as part of your diet. So they all are all basically variations on the same theme but there is a tremendous amount of controversy about which diet is superior.

Currently, the biggest debate in the media and among health academics is low-fat versus low-carbohydrate. Who would have ever guessed that a simple manipulation of a couple of macronutrients would be such a point of contention with fitness professionals, physicians, the media, and the public in general? Who would have thought that the tremendous amount of federal and private funds expended on nutrition and obesity research would create such a wealth of wrong thinking? Wrong thinking? How could I even suggest that some of the best minds in obesity research aren't producing useful information? They are forgetting basic physics, and they are also forgetting to consider the basic reasons why we eat. We'll come back to this latter consideration in a bit as it is particularly relevant to eating for CrossFit.

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3 Comments on “Physics, Physiology, and Food”

1

wrote …

This is badly written. There are some great nuggets of information written within, but there is a cloud of rhetorical crap you must exercise your way through. There is a bit more wrong with the writing, but it would, and should be trivial.

2

wrote …

Everyone with the exception of Dr. Connelly remains enamored with the calories BS. I Find the lack of understaning of the application of thermodymanics deeply concerning. While an Atwater calorimeter meets the required conditions of the first two laws of thermodynamics the human body does not. The human body is an open system, not well insulated like a calorimeter. The human body has enzymes which change the rate of reactions, and the human body can reverse the direction of metabolic reactions, i.e. turn carbs into fat via TGs and LDLs, turn fat into glucose using the glycerol back bone of TGs and produce glucose from amino acids via gluconeogeneis. The calorimeter has none of these tricks. Additionally setting net calries on one side (Energy) with Net weight (Mass) on the other side of the equals sign violates stiochiometry and Thermodynamics. Furthermore Dr. Kilgore mentoined nitrogen usage, which begs the question, how much of one's protien intak is catabolized vs. anabolized (and fat as well)? Finnally, what about nutrient partitioning in the liver ? 1000 calories of Fructose or Lactose will result in more fat storage than 1000 calories of pure fat or protien or other carbs. Physics absoulutly rules, its just not applied correctly because the laws work under certain conditions. Conditions which the calorimeter and our Physiology do not have in common. BioChemistry obeys the laws of physics, and it better models the reality in our bodies than the first two laws of Thermodynamics, which still hold true if you clearly define the boundaries of the closed system to achieve appropriate accuracy.

3

wrote …


Mr. Neusse,

You commented on a article in the CrossFit Journal
titled "Physics, Physiology, and Food." 
Can you please point me in the right direction to learn more about this please? 

Thank you for your time, 

Matthew Panos

  
     “I am not afraid of a pack of lions being led by a sheep, but I am afriad of a pack of sheep led by a lion.”

Alexander The Great
                   

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