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Nutrition

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Healthy Eating Pyramid.png

Nutrition is an important part of science which investigates the relationship between health and diet. Having a better foods and getting a better nutrition can prevent many types of diseases. So nowadays many investigators are researching on specific dietary habits and its influence on health.

Carbohydrate

grain contains lots of carbohydrates

The word carbohydrate comes from hydrates of carbon. Carbohydrate is one of the three components that provide energy. This nutrition is the major energy source of body because it requires less water to digest than proteins or fats do and it is not used for vital building as much as the others. Since body can achieve energy requirements from proteins or fats, carbohydrates are not essential though. Per each gram, carbohydrates can hold 4.2kcal. The foods that contain high carbohydrates are breads, beans, pastas, potatoes, rice, bran, and cereals. As you see, carbohydrates are mostly in grains.

Fat

Fat is another energy resource nutrition that provides the biggest amounts of energy per gram. This nutrition yields 9.5kcal per each gram, so it is usually used for energy storage in animals. Fats are made of fatty acids. Most fatty acids are not essential, but some of them such as omega3 and omega6 are essential and must be consumed in the diet. Fats can be classified as saturated or unsaturated depends on the number of carbon atoms bonded to hydrogen atoms in molecules. Saturated fat can form a solid in room temperature but unsaturated is a liquid. Saturated fat includes trans fats, which cause serious diseases today.

Protein

U.S. Government Nutrition Facts panel illustrates which nutrients experts recommend you limit and which they recommend you consume in adequate amounts.

Protein can provide energy(4.1g/gram), but it is very important not as energy source but as body building material. This large organic compound which is made of amino acids builds pretty much almost every body mechanisms from cells and hormones to muscles and skin. Because proteins have to build up body but also can provide energy, body breaks down body and takes energy from proteins when your body doesn’t have enough carbohydrates and fats. If the body takes too much proteins and finally breaks even vital mechanisms, this body die. This syndrome that is fatal is called kwashiorkor.

Water

Water is the most important nutrition for body. It doesn’t provide energy, but it composes about 70% of the body mass of human. Usually, a human takes about 1/5 of water from foods and the rest comes from drinking. The investigators don’t figure out the exact amount of water requirements a day, however most recommend at least 8 to 10 glasses which is approximately 2 liters.

Minerals

Human body also requires several different types of minerals for physiology. But these are required very little. Following are some functions of minerals that body requires.

  • Calcium: Calcium is usually in green leafy vegetables and eggs. It composes bones, teeth, blood clotting, activating enzymes, and working of electrical signals.
  • Chlorine: Salt or meat contains chlorine. This mineral keeps water balance in body and is the principal negative ion in body.
  • Magnesium: Green vegetables, grains, and milk have magnesium. Magnesium is required by many enzymes.
  • Phosphorus: It is founded in eggs and meats. This mineral is very important for ATP and nucleic acids stuffs.
  • Potassium: Fruit and vegetables have this mineral. Potassium participates nerve and muscle actions.
  • Sodium: We can easily get this mineral from salt. This mineral also participates nerve and muscle actions.
  • Sulfur: It makes up proteins and coenzymes. We can obtain this mineral from eggs or meats.

Vitamins

Vitamin.jpg

Vitamins are classified as water-soluble and fat-soluble. Like minerals, vitamins are also required very little amount but really important for physiological process in body. Lack of a vitamin can cause deficiency symptoms. Following are the deficiency symptoms of each vitamins

  • Lack of B1(thiamin) can cause beriberi, loss of appetite, and fatigue.
  • Lack of B2(riboflavin) can cause lesions in corners of mouth, eye irritation, and skin disorders.
  • Lack of Niacin can be the reason of pellagra, skin disorders, diarrhea, and mental disorders.
  • Lack of B6(pyridoxine) can cause anemia, slow growth, skin problems, and convulsions.
  • Lack of pantothenic acid can cause adrenal problems and reproductive problems.
  • Lack of biotin can cause skin problems and loss of hair
  • Lack of B12(cobalamin) can cause pernicious anemia.
  • Lack of folic acid can be an anemia.
  • Lack of C(ascorbic acid) can cause scurvy, slow healing, and poor bone growth.
  • Lack of A(retinol) can be the reason of night blindness.
  • Lack of D(calciferol) can cause rickets.
  • Lack of E(tocopherol) can cause anemia.
  • Lack of K(menadione) can be the reason of blood-clotting problems.

References

  • Cliffs AP Biology 3rd Edition by Phillip E. Pack. Wiley Publishing, Inc. NJ
  • Life: The Science of Biology. Purves, Sadava, Orians, Heller. 2004. Sinauer Associates, Inc. W.H. Freeman and Company
  • Nutrition Wikipedia