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Carbs Part II

So now this is the part where everyone goes “what about fruit?” and “I thought whole grains were good”

There is a very scientific reason why whole grains and fruit are so good for you, even with a high carbohydrate content.  Its called FIBER!!!  So if we want to go chronologically, and you eat a candy bar, it has 25g (or so) of sugar and you now know exactly what happens to that.  And it happens in the liver.  And because 25g of sugar is a LOT of sugar to be circulating in your bloodstream (after being exported from the liver as glycogen to be used by various organs **sidenote** sugar and carbs are the most effective way to feed your brain because fats and amino acids cannot pass through the blood-brain barrier), your body has conveniently created a pancreas.  If you aren’t a science person, you never think about your pancreas, but its kind of the real MVP of the body because it keeps you from dying or going into a coma from high blood sugar every time you eat.  It releases insulin, which was super awesome for our cavemen ancestors because when they got a meal, insulin made sure that what they ate got stored to be used in a famine.  Nowadays, insulin just insures that any and all stuff we eat, gets stored as fat.

So why is fiber so great?  well it SLOOOOWWWS the digestion of your food (it also cleans out your colon which is chalk-full of all the toxins we eat, so make all the poop jokes you want about fiber, but fiber is a friend AND a food!!)  So when your digestion slows down, it keeps your blood sugar from spiking, keeping insulin from triggering the storage of all the sugars you eat.

Great anatomy/biochemistry lesson right?

Now for a bit of botany and a word on whole grains like brown rice.  The endosperm layer of rice is the white part. It is full of Cs Hs and Os!  Very carby in the endosperm.  So if that’s all you eat (AKA white rice, refined flour etc.), enjoy your sugar-turned-fat.  BUT when rice has the bran and germ layer coupled with that endosperm, it is FULL of fiber which is exactly what we just talked about.  So yeah, whole grains are SUPER good, but you still can’t over-eat them because unused glycogen still gets stored as fat.  And those lucky charms with whole grains?  Yeah, it makes no difference- because the sugar in that cereal STILL sends your blood sugar sky-high, and you secrete insulin and store the sugar as fat.

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Macromolecules

Don’t let that word scare you.  “Macro” means big, so we aren’t on a molecular level, we are on a big molecular level?  Does that make you feel a bit better?  Maybe, it does, I don’t know.

There are four classes of macromolecules: carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids.  Nucleic acids are like DNA and RNA and so for obvious reasons, they can be ignored when talking about diet.  We cannot metabolize these for energy and so for our intents and purposes, we can ignore them.

Carbohydrates are NOT just bread and potatoes.  They are anything that is made up of Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen in a C:2H:O ratio.  C6H12O6 is glucose, the form your body prefers its sugar in.

Proteins are chains of amino acids.  If you get an electron micrograph of one, they look like a 2-year old’s drawing (aka a bunch of squiggles).  This is due to the amino acids in the chains interacting with one another.

Lipids.  Everyone’s favorite.  Anything that is soluble in a nonpolar solvent is a lipid.  So basically, anything that you need to use soap to wash off?  Lipid.  Lipids are great for you if you do it right.  But more on that later.

These are the things that animals are meant to eat.

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Carbohydrates

Remember when I said that it wasn’t just bread and potatoes?

It’s not- but that’s what the FDA wants you to think it is and that’s what they show it being on their stupid myPyramid.  Carbohydrates are sugars.  Notice how sugar wasn’t a macromolecule?  That’s because its a carb.

Now let’s go back in time to when we were cavemen.  Cavemen used to gorge themselves when they could because they didn’t know when their next meal was coming.  So the things that they would’ve eaten the most were fruits and veggies, or primitive farmers would’ve had wheat and rice and stuff, which are full of carbs.

Now I chose to start with carbs because when you eat, your body starts with carbs too.  So say you just ate, and your body is going to start using the carbs you at and start putting the carbs away in your liver as what is called glycogen.  Glycogen is used up right away.  If you don’t overeat your carbs, you eat it, store it as glycogen (which basically just makes it easier for your body to metabolize) and you convert the glycogen to adenosine triphosphate (ATP) which your cells use to… idk like LIVE.  That’s why carbs in moderation ARE FINE because you take it in, store it and use it and it leaves no trace.

Problems come in when we eat two bagels (hey I like bagels as much as the next guy, but the carb level in them is off the charts) or a candy bar or really anything carby.  When you can’t use all of the glycogen right away, your body needs to put that glucose into long-term storage.  Well, how does our body store food we don’t use?????

FAT

Your body stores superfluous sugar as adipose tissue, fat, flubber, fluff, whatever you want to call it.  This particular phenomenon is why people like to say “sugar makes you fat” and nothing could be truer.

So cavemen would’ve been jacked to have enough carbs to store as fat, because fat, as we will discuss later is used when we are out of carbs.  So when cavemen ran out of carbs, or there was a famine, they could use what they had stored up, much like a camel stores up water.

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Biochemistry 101

I start Physical Therapy School next week!  WHAT???

In my time off, I have noticed that I clearly missed school and have found myself reading and watching a zillion science articles and documentaries.  I know.  I’m a nerd.  But my adventures into science have taught me that more people should be nerds.  Why?  because the world right now is revolving around science.  The cleaners you use in your house?  Chemists made those.  The makeup you put on your face?  A chemist made that (a biochemist MAY HAVE helped).  And by far the worst offender- the “food” we feed our bodies with?  Yeah you can thank someone’s PhD in chemistry for that bad boy too.

Biochemistry.  Most people don’t really like that class.  The chem majors shrug it off because compared to P Chem, its a cake walk.  The bio majors scoff at it because its “Way too chemical for us” and “I thought once I finished my year of Ochem I was excused from chemistry classes” and the worst answer “I’ll never use it anyway”.  The business and psych majors don’t take it for that reason and the nursing majors forget their intro to biochem material as soon as they have to memorize every drug ever known to mankind.

But it’s really important!  Because every time you walk into the kitchen, you have decisions to make.  And if you don’t know your biochemistry, you maybe aren’t making properly informed decisions.

So I’m taking it upon myself to inform people.  I know this is a totally different direction for this blog.  Being a nerd isn’t for everyone, I know!  So if you read this and you’re thinking I’m off my rocker, I get it.  And if you used to subscribe to this blog (does anyone subscribe to this?  I have no clue)  and you’re like “this chick is too excited about science” unsubscribe- nothing personal.  Just that carbons and hydrogens are more than letters to me.  They can just be letters to you.  That’s okay.

But if science really does get you amped (MY PEOPLE!!) stay here 🙂

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