Sharing my learnings from the book, Food & Nutrition by P.K. Newby
Food & Nutrition by P.K. Newby
In Food & Nutrition, Harvard- and Columbia-trained nutrition scientist Dr. P.K. Newby examines 134 stand-alone questions addressing “need to know” topics, including how what we eat affects our health and environment, from farm to fork, and why, when it comes to diet, the whole is greater than the
sum of its parts-and one size doesn’t fit all. At the same time, Newby debunks popular myths and food folklore, encouraging readers to “learn, unlearn, and relearn” the fundamentals of nutrition at the heart of a health-giving diet. Her passion for all things food shines through it all, as does her
love of the power of science, technology, and engineering to help create healthier diets for ourselves, and a more sustainable future for the planet we share.
- Food has always been a heated subject. there’s ongoing disagreement about what type of diet is healthiest or most effective at weight-loss. But now something else has been thrown into the mix: people are taking a closer look at where their food comes from and how it’s produced.
- Making the right food choices affects both you and the planet.
- what you choose to eat directly impacts your health. Biochemists and nutrition scientists agree that up to 80 percent of chronic diseases can be prevented through healthy lifestyle choices.
- What you buy at the supermarket also directly impacts the planet. The food industry creates a lot of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide, which directly contribute to climate change.
- we should be more aware of what we’re eating. And two, we need to be more mindful of how much food we need, where it comes from, and how it’s produced.
- In the 1970s, the use of concentrated animal feeding operations – or CAFOs – became widespread in the meat industry. It now takes much less food, water, and land to produce beef, milk, and eggs. For CAFOs to hit these numbers, farmers have to use chemicals, hormones, and antibiotics. The aim is to make animals grow faster and keep infections at bay. But these chemicals often end up on our dinner tables. Ultimately, we humans are indirectly consuming antibiotics intended for farm animals.
- It’s becoming increasingly clear that CAFOs come with health concerns, and the US beef industry has responded. People who run industrial farms are in the process of, as they put it, “reassessing their operations.” For its part, the European Union has banned the use of hormones in cattle.
- The majority of people around the world receive their vital nutrients from meat. More specifically, pork is the most widely eaten meat in the world. It makes up 36 percent of global meat consumption. Poultry comes in second, at a close 35 percent, and beef stands at 22 percent.
- Meat provides us with essential nutrients like zinc, various forms of vitamin B, riboflavin, iron, and, of course, protein. Calorie-wise, pork comes out on top with 310 calories for a standard three-ounce portion. It is followed by beef at 245 calories, lamb at 235, goat at 122, and chicken at 120 calories.
- An excess of red meat – which includes beef, pork, veal, lamb, goat, and mutton – can be a problem. The same goes for processed meats like smoked bacon or salami. analysis found that eating as little as 50 g of processed meat every day increased the risk of colorectal cancer by 18 percent. As for red meat, experts agreed that a daily intake of 100 g increased the risk of colorectal cancer by 17 percent.
- There is a spectrum of processed foods, and it includes both healthy and unhealthy items.
- Minimally processed foods go through stages like washing, peeling, or dehydrating. Examples include canned fruit or dried beans.
- ultra-processed foods are things like packaged bread, sugary snacks, breakfast cereals, potato chips, and frozen pizzas.
- minimally processed foods are the healthiest. Processed foods like canned fish and frozen fruit and vegetables can be high in nutritional value. In fact, flash-frozen produce is often processed at peak freshness and can contain lots of vitamins and nutrients.
- ultra-processed food is bad for you – and for the planet. Not only do these types of foods contain lots of sugar and salt, they’re also produced and packaged in ways that pollute the environment. Given the amount of processing and packaging involved, ultra-processed foods are considered “resource-intensive.” These are the sorts of foods that negatively contribute to climate change.
- Food labels are sometimes confusing, or meaningless, but they can still help you make better choices.
- “organic.” – refers to farming practices.
- “natural” – it’s nothing more than a marketing gimmick – a way to make one food sound healthier than another.
- cage-free, free-range, certified organic, pasture-raised eggs
- The “cage-free” label indicates that the birds live in confined warehouses rather than cages.
- Free-range or free-roaming means the birds do spend some time outdoors – although how much, and what the word “outdoors” actually means, can vary.
- Certified organic eggs must be free-range and meet the standards of the region’s organic certification
- Pasture-raised means the birds spend their days outdoors and their nights in a barn. Their diets often include natural ingredients like grass and worms.
- There are still misconceptions around dietary cholesterol and GMOs.
- there was a time when eggs were getting a bad rap in the press because of cholesterol. This all stemmed from the belief that the cholesterol we eat is directly linked to “bad cholesterol.” Scientists refer to this substance as low-density lipoprotein – or LDL – cholesterol, which is linked to heart disease. But as the science of biochemistry and nutrition progressed, it became clear that the cholesterol in eggs has little to do with LDL.
- There’s still a heated discussion about GMOs, or genetically modified organisms. Numerous tests have shown that this kind of genetic engineering is perfectly safe. In fact, a meta-analysis of more than 1,500 studies showed that GM crops carried no significant health or environmental dangers.
- Not all fat is bad for you, and good bacteria can create a healthy microbiome in your gut.
- There are two main types of fats: saturated and unsaturated. Unsaturated fat can be further broken down into subtypes, which include monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats.
- Unsaturated fats are better for your heart. In fact, they can contain some very healthy ingredients, such as vitamin E, or fatty acids like omega-3 and omega-6.
- Polyunsaturated fats can help with blood sugar control and insulin resistance.
- A whopping 90 percent of the bacteria that live inside your body can be found in the gut. They’re doing essential work there; without them, there would be no metabolism as we know it. Two categories of food help your microbiome: probiotic and prebiotic foods. probiotics – live microorganisms within the food itself. Prebiotics don’t carry live microorganisms. Instead, they’re full of things like fiber and refined starches, which are hugely beneficial for your gut bacteria.
- diets are all about changing how many carbs, fats, and proteins you eat. Diets only work if you stick to them.
- The field of nutrition has long been focused on the minutiae. It can be hard to stick to all the advice that’s out there. And diets make things even more confusing because they stem from a reductionist point of view. Eat this, they say, and don’t eat that. Ultimately, when it comes to nutrition, the old adage is true: the total is greater than the sum of its parts.
- One thing that many diets do have in common is counting calories. And, generally, if you’re concerned about weight loss, you can always fall back on a time-proven rule – you must burn more calories than you consume.