Nutrition

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BASIC CONCEPTS OF NUTRITION

JOHN PETROZZI: Hi. Welcome to Living is Easy with John and Josh.  I’m John Petrozzi.

JOSH HARPER: And I’m Josh Harper.

JOHN PETROZZI: This show’s all about health and wellness.  It’s all about you, so stay tuned.  You might learn something new.

JOSH HARPER: And today on the show, we’re talking all about nutrition.  The title of the show today is Basic Concepts of Nutrition.  So John, what are the basic concepts?

JOHN PETROZZI: Well, nutrition is the food that you eat.  Your body uses it.  It’s the food that keeps us alive and keeps us growing.  It keeps us healthy and well, and it’s the energy that we use to work and to play.

JOSH HARPER: So, nutrition is basically the things we get from food.

JOHN PETROZZI: That’s right, yeah.  All nutrients needed by the body are available through food.

JOSH HARPER: Right.

JOHN PETROZZI: But then again, I’ve heard some people using the sun as giving them their sole nutrition.

JOSH HARPER: Because that gives us serotonin?

JOHN PETROZZI: Well, it gives us ability to convert calcium into a usable source, but also it helps with our general well-being.

JOSH HARPER: Right.

JOHN PETROZZI: But I’ve heard of people using—I don’t know if you’ve heard this before, Josh, but there are websites out there and I’ve seen them on documentary channels and things—people stare at the sun for 5-10 minutes a day for their sole nutrition and don’t eat.

JOSH HARPER: Their sole nutrition?

JOHN PETROZZI: Their sole nutrition.  That’s all they have for nutrition.

JOSH HARPER: And they don’t eat.

JOHN PETROZZI: And they don’t eat.  You have that info?

JOSH HARPER: I haven’t.

JOHN PETROZZI: We’ve got to get that more on the show.  But, mostly, you get your nutrition and your energy from food.

JOSH HARPER: Right.

JOHN PETROZZI: There are many different sorts of foods out there, different types of diets, as well.  You can’t get all your nutrition just from one sort of food.  You need a combination of foods.  So, vegetarians will use a combination of foods to get their sources of, for instance, protein, and we’ll speak more about that later in the show.  But just bear in mind that you need a variety of foods to get your nutrition sources.

JOSH HARPER: And will we be talking about supplements today?

JOHN PETROZZI: We’ll talk briefly about supplements, as well.  So, the amount of nutrients that you need is influenced by your age, your sex and size, your activity levels, and also your state of health.  So, if you’re someone who does lots and lots of exercise, you need more nutrition compared to someone who sits around at a computer.

Suggestions for the kinds and amounts of foods needed are made by trans-scientists so you can see those diets out there made by CSRO. There’s a diabetic diet out there, as well.  There are a whole lot of diets out there.  Basically, they’ve formulated some of these diets by working out the chemistry in foods, working out the combustion of foods, and how much energy they give off, how many calories are in different sorts of foods, and also what the body needs for repair and state of our well-being.

JOSH HARPER: And do you recommend these formulas?

JOHN PETROZZI: Some of them are really healthy.  I know that the diabetic diets are really, really healthy one, very rounded, and, basically, with these sorts of diets, you need to try and figure out when your energy sources are needed and when your energy source is being excreted by the foods.  So, for instance, if you’re eating simple carbohydrates—and we’ll talk about a bit more about this later—but simple carbohydrates emit their energy very, very quickly compared to eating a protein.  A protein’s energy excreted inside your body is delayed.  It’s kind of like a slow-release fertilizer.

JOSH HARPER: Right.

JOHN PETROZZI: So the four basic nutrients that we take in are water, carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.  These are the basic building blocks of a good diet.

JOSH HARPER: And do we really need these to live?

JOHN PETROZZI: Yeah, you do.  So, for instance, with vegetarians who don’t eat meat, the proteins need to be taken in through other sources, like beans.

JOSH HARPER: Beans.

JOHN PETROZZI: Yeah, that sort of things—tofu—because your body does need them. Because your muscles are made up of proteins, so whenever you damage a muscle or you’re going through exercise and you cause muscle tears, the muscle has to be repaired by protein.

JOSH HARPER: Right.

JOHN PETROZZI: So, like for like. And that protein has to come from somewhere.  So, one of two things will happen: If you don’t actually consume the protein in your diet and you have muscle tears, then the muscle doesn’t heal correctly or adequately enough and you’ll get a weakness in the muscle; or you assimilate protein from your diet and the muscles get repaired with protein and with a whole lot of other nutrients as well.

So, in food, you’ve got enzymes; you’ve got basically little building blocks that the body uses for cellular development.  So, you’ve got vitamins, you’ve got minerals, you’ve got co-enzymes, you’ve got enzymes.

JOSH HARPER: And what is an enzyme?

JOHN PETROZZI: An enzyme is basically anything; it’s a compound that helps a reaction take place.  So, for instance, I you eat sugar, to break that sugar down from a complex to a simple unit, you need enzymes to break that down.

JOSH HARPER: Okay.

JOHN PETROZZI: Same sort of thing to build things up.  An enzyme is just a compound that allows that reaction to take place.

JOSH HARPER: And do enzymes break nutrients down, as well?

JOHN PETROZZI: They do into usable forms.  Like, for instance, with your heart, there’s an enzyme that it uses, it’s co-enzyme Q10, and you can go to the health food store and buy a bottle of this stuff or you can assimilate it through different sorts of foods.  You could just do a Google Search on co-enzyme Q10 and just see what comes up and also ask a question “co-enzyme Q10 in food” and see what kinds of foods you can potentially eat to give you that nutrient.  That particular enzyme is a cardio-vascular protecting enzyme, so your heart and blood vessels use it to stay really healthy.

JOSH HARPER: Right.

JOHN PETROZZI: And they’ve used it before in experiments to try and figure out whether it delays the onset of cholesterol and heart disease and heart attack.

JOSH HARPER: Where do we get that from?

JOHN PETROZZI: I think it’s meat.

JOSH HARPER: Meat.

JOHN PETROZZI: Yeah.  I’m pretty certain.  Yeah, and like I said, you can also get it from health food store.

JOSH HARPER: So, with the four basic nutrients, can we talk briefly about each one?

JOHN PETROZZI: Sure.  Well, water’s the first one. Your body is made up 80% of water, and it’s a chemical reaction that occurs with water that allows your body to stay healthy.  Water, basically, helps to transport nutrients and waste products in and out of the cells.  It’s necessary for all digestive, absorption, circulatory, and also excretory functions.  You’ve got certain vitamins in your system, which are water-soluble, and for those vitamins to be transported in and out of cells, you need water to be present.

JOSH HARPER: Okay.

JOHN PETROZZI: And it’s needed to also maintain body temperature, as well.  I had a patient just a while ago and she’s been playing touch football, and it was a sunny day and she hadn’t drank enough water, probably not just for that particular day but didn’t drink enough water for three days prior to that, and she got heat stroke.  She was susceptible to heat stroke because she was dehydrated.   She had the dizziness, the lightheadedness, the headaches, the nausea, and just about vomited.

JOSH HARPER: And how much are we supposed to drink?

JOHN PETROZZI: They recommend about eight glasses a day; spread out throughout the day is the best.

JOSH HARPER: Okay.

JOHN PETROZZI: Also, if you’re drinking them all at nighttime just before bedtime, you wake up at night time and you need to go to the loo.  So, just bear in mind that when you drink water, spread it out throughout the day.

JOSH HARPER: Right.

JOHN PETROZZI: Carbohydrates: that’s the second element.  You get most of your carbs from fruits and veggies, and they’re broken up into simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates.

JOSH HARPER: And so, what is a complex carb?

JOHN PETROZZI: They’re the ones that take time to get broken down.

JOSH HARPER: Yep.

JOHN PETROZZI: So simple ones are, I think, like sugars and like sugars in fruit, sucrose, lactose.  You’ve got that in milk, as well. So the main carbohydrates that will come from animals will be from milk and milk products.

JOSH HARPER: Milk products.

JOHN PETROZZI: Yeah, but mainly they will come from vegetables and grains.

JOSH HARPER: And what do carbohydrates do to us?

JOHN PETROZZI: Well, they’re the things that actually give you most of your sugars and energy levels.

JOSH HARPER: Right.

JOHN PETROZZI: So, you’ve heard of the no-carb diet?

JOSH HARPER: No.

JOHN PETROZZI: No?  In this no-carb diet, they recommend that—I think particularly with body-building—don’t have any carbohydrates at all in your diet or restrict it.  They say that because it tends to attract water and that water tends to sit around your tummy area or around your body.  So, if you want a really cut-up body, they say don’t eat carbs, eat many protein to try and cut down on that fluid retention, which gives you that awesome cut-up body.

JOSH HARPER: Do you recommend that?

JOHN PETROZZI: No.

JOSH HARPER: No?

JOHN PETROZZI: No.  You need an amount of carbohydrates for energy levels.  If you’re going to be a professional body-builder and you’re out there to win tournaments and things, then go ahead and have no carbs to have that cut-up body.  But if you want a healthy and well-balanced lifestyle, carbohydrates are important.

JOSH HARPER: And do you have a recommendation on how much we should eat?

JOHN PETROZZI: Not really.  It just really depends on those couple of things we spoke about before:  your age, your sex, your weight, and your energy requirements, as well.  So, for instance, school students, they need more carbs because their brains are always working to try and study.  The brain is a huge burner of sugar.

JOSH HARPER: Yeah.

JOHN PETROZZI: Without that, you’re going to be sort of spaced-out and a bit unable to study for long periods of time.

JOSH HARPER: Right.

JOHN PETROZZI: So, carbohydrates are really important.  When we come back, we’ll talk a bit more about carbohydrates and proteins.

[Break]

JOSH HARPER: Welcome back to Living is Easy with John and Josh.  Today, we’re talking all about nutrition.  So far, we’ve discussed water and, basically, carbohydrates.  What else should we know about carbs?

JOHN PETROZZI: Well, carbs are the main source of your blood glucose.  And, except for fiber, which can’t be digested, most or both simple and complex carbs are converted into glucose.  So, that’s really your energy source.  It’s kind of like the fuel in your tank.

JOSH HARPER: So, glucose is.

JOHN PETROZZI: Yeah, glucose is.  And with the fiber, you can’t digest it but it’s there to try and wash things out with your excretory system.

JOSH HARPER: And with fiber, do you mean bread?

JOHN PETROZZI: Yeah.  Any fiber you find in bread and grains; most veggies will have fiber in there at varying amounts, and then fruit, as well.

JOSH HARPER: Okay.  And they clean these out?

JOHN PETROZZI: Yeah, And they say that diets that are high in fiber, you’ve got a better ability to clean out your bowels so this will reduce risks of bowel cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, all those sort of things.

JOSH HARPER: Right.

JOHN PETROZZI: And, actually, fiber is that part of a plant that’s resistant to digestive enzymes.

JOSH HARPER: So, it just goes straight through.

JOHN PETROZZI: Straight through, yeah.  And these products you can get out there at the health food store.  They’re high in fiber, like Metamucil, that sort of things.  But mostly, if you get them in your diet, you should be right.

JOSH HARPER: Right.

JOHN PETROZZI: Brown breads, grainy breads, they can be a good source of fiber, fruits and veggies, as well.  And only a small amount of fiber is digested or metabolised in the stomach or intestines, but most would move straight through into your stool.  The other good thing about fiber is that it retains water, which means that your stool gets softer and bulkier, and you’ll prevent having constipation and hemorrhoids.

JOSH HARPER: Right.

JOHN PETROZZI: So, fiber’s really, really important.  They also say that fiber is there to help you to eliminate cholesterol out of your system, as well.

JOSH HARPER: Because it retains it?

JOHN PETROZZI: I don’t know.  I think it actually helps with just the elimination process through your bowel.

JOSH HARPER: Right.  And the third essential element you spoke about, John, is protein.

JOHN PETROZZI: That’s right, Josh.  And protein’s essential for growth and development.  It provides the body with energy and it’s needed to manufacture hormones, as well as antibodies, enzymes, and also just tissue.  It helps to maintain body acid and alkaline balances in the body, too.

JOSH HARPER: Okay.  And we take this mainly from meat?

JOHN PETROZZI: Yeah, mainly from meat.

JOSH HARPER: And beans?

JOHN PETROZZI: And beans, tofu. In a second, we’ll speak about combinations of foods, as well, to try to get the most out of your food, particularly for vegetarians.

JOSH HARPER: Okay.  And what else does protein do for us?

JOHN PETROZZI: Well, when it’s consumed, the body breaks it down into things called amino acids. Amino acids are, basically, building blocks of protein, and they’re also the building blocks of our bodies, as well, particularly muscles.  Some of the amino acids are called “non-essential” and others are called “essential.” Basically, the difference between essential and non-essential amino acids is that non-essential ones, our body can produce them on its own, and essential amino acids, we need to get them from our diet.

JOSH HARPER: And what do they do? Are they the same?  They have the same functions?

JOHN PETROZZI: Same, exactly same functions, yeah.  But the non-essential ones, we can produce them from protein products inside our body.

JOSH HARPER: But, obviously, we do need them from outside.

JOHN PETROZZI: Yep.  Yeah, we do.  Most of them will actually come from outside.

JOSH HARPER: Right.

JOHN PETROZZI: So, we’ve got two different sorts of protein. Again, apart from essential and non-essential, we’ve got complete proteins and incomplete proteins.  Basically, a complete protein is any food group that contains all amino acids that we need, so you can find this sort of proteins in meat, fish, poultry, cheese, eggs, and milk.  And incomplete ones, they’re the ones that contain only some of the essential amino acids, and you can find those in foods like grains, legumes, and leafy, green vegetables, as well.

JOSH HARPER: Right.

JOHN PETROZZI: So, if we eat lots of incomplete protein food groups, for instance, vegetarians, they need to supplement their diet with all combined foods to try to get the most out of the foods that they’re eating. So, for instance, if you’re a vegetarian, you want to try and combine to get complete proteins. One way of combining food is to eat beans with any of these food groups: you can eat beans with brown rice, with seeds, corn, with wheat, or with nuts.  And what will happen there is you’ll get your complete protein from those foods.  You draw most out of them out of it.

JOSH HARPER: Right.

JOHN PETROZZI: Or you can combine brown rice with beans and seeds, nuts and wheat.

JOSH HARPER: And you need all these things to get the complete?

JOHN PETROZZI: You do, yep, yep.  So, basically, if your body is running on a diet that’s full of incomplete protein groups, then you’ll be lacking your complete complement of protein in your diet, so your body can’t heal properly.  It wouldn’t have as much energy to produce to convert into glucose, that sort of things, as well.

JOSH HARPER: And you wouldn’t be able to concentrate, as well?

JOHN PETROZZI: That’s it, yep, all those sort of things. The other thing I want to mention about carbohydrates in that previous section is that if you’re eating too many carbs, that carb is converted into sugar and then stored as fat.  So, that’s why some people tend to advocate low-carb diets.

JOSH HARPER: Yep.

JOHN PETROZZI: Because they want to try and reduce the amount of fats stored in the body.  Speaking of fats…

JOSH HARPER: Want some fats?

JOHN PETROZZI: Yeah.

JOSH HARPER: Fats are integral, as well?

JOHN PETROZZI: They are, yeah.  Well, in a developing baby, fats are really, really, really important, because the brain is actually fat.

JOSH HARPER: Right.  Well, what do you mean by that?

JOHN PETROZZI: Well, it’s covered with Schwann cells.  It’s covered with fatty tissue.  So, you need fat for complete development of the nervous system.  After a while, after the brain and nervous system is completely formed, you need less.  You have a smaller requirement for fats.  But for babies, it’s really, really important.  So, if we would eat baby formula as adults, we’d be huge.

JOSH HARPER: Really?

JOHN PETROZZI: Yeah, because they’re really, really high in fat.

JOSH HARPER: Okay.  And what do we need fat for?

JOHN PETROZZI: We need fat for energy.

JOSH HARPER: Energy.

JOHN PETROZZI: Yeah, yep, yep.  Well, basically, with fat, your cells have got fat in them.  The cell lining has got fat and that fat allows for transportation of elements across cell membranes.

JOSH HARPER: Okay.

JOHN PETROZZI: Fats also are around your nervous system.  Around every single nerve cell, you’ve got a Schwann cell, which is fat.  You’ve got fat and oil on your skin for protection of your skin cells, and it’s a good barrier against things, basically, leaking out and things leaking in.

JOSH HARPER: Yup.

JOHN PETROZZI: So, fats a really important element, but obviously not too much in your diet.

JOSH HARPER: And where is a healthy source of fat?

JOHN PETROZZI: Healthy sources would come from your foods, raw and natural foods, really.  So, you’ve got things, like meats and fish, cheeses and creams.  The thing is with fat, you need to try and make sure that it’s not a processed form of fat.  So, hotdogs, for instance, they’re full of fat, and if you want your complementary amount of fat during the day, I wouldn’t just jump for a hotdog.

JOSH HARPER: Okay.

JOHN PETROZZI: Because it’s so processed that your body can’t break it down, and most of the time, it’s in a form that will just be absorbed into the system and stored as fat into your body.

JOSH HARPER: And on their nutritional label on the back of the packaging, what is the actual fat on that? Is there a name to it?

JOHN PETROZZI: Yeah.  You’ve got monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, and you’ve got trans-fats, as well.  They are found in different sort of foods like, for instance, polyunsaturated fats, they’re found in greatest abundance in corn, soybeans, safflower, and sunflower oil.  They actually help to lower your total body cholesterol.

JOSH HARPER: So, would you say it’s a good fat?

JOHN PETROZZI: It’s a pretty good fat, yeah.  I reckon the ultimate fat is the one that’s found in olive oil.  It’s called monounsaturated fats and they’re mainly found in things, like olive oil, peanut oil, and canola oil.  These fats intend to reduce your LDLs, which is the bad cholesterol, and it tends to increase the effects of the HDLs.

JOSH HARPER: Which is good…?

JOHN PETROZZI: Good cholesterol, yeah.  The worst sorts of fats are saturated fats and they’re the ones that you find in heavily-cooked meat and processed foods, as well.

[Break]

JOSH HARPER: Welcome back to Living is Easy with John and Josh.  Today, we’re talking all about nutrients.  So far, we’ve spoken about the four essential nutrients. But, John, what are vitamins and minerals?

JOHN PETROZZI: Well, vitamins and minerals are essential to life and without them our body won’t work properly.  So, you get them from your food.  The body does produce some of them but you get them mainly from your food.  So, groups that actually need to take high doses of vitamins and minerals are like, people who smoke, people who are taking medication, people who are under great stress, if your exercise a lot, people with mental and physical illness, and people who drink lots of alcohol.

JOSH HARPER: And why is that? What do minerals and vitamins do?

JOHN PETROZZI: Well, they’ll actually, because all those things that we spoke about are a massive drain on the body, and you’re using and turning up a whole lot of minerals and vitamins for cellular activity. So actually, it’s part like stoking the fire with more fuel.

JOSH HARPER: Yeah.

JOHN PETROZZI: To keep the fire going.  Some medical practitioners actually use high doses of vitamins as treatments for chronic illness, so high doses of vitamin B have been used for quite a few things actually, but particularly for chronic fatigue and tiredness.

JOSH HARPER: Okay. And they just pump it straight into the body?

JOHN PETROZZI: Straight into your vein. Yeah.

JOSH HARPER: Yep.

JOHN PETROZZI: Vitamin K for blood-clotting disorders.  So, again, if you’re living a pretty healthy lifestyle, there’s no need for you to have to take these sorts of things, because you can get them mainly from your diet.

JOSH HARPER: And on that, briefly, do you recommend the supplements?

JOHN PETROZZI: I do, if you’re one of those categories.

JOSH HARPER: Yep.

JOHN PETROZZI: One of the main ways to know is to actually pop into the health food store and just buy a general supplement that’s high in good vitamins and minerals.  Just take it for a couple of weeks and just see what kind of difference it makes to your health.  If you feel it improves it, then yeah.  It might mean that your diet is lacking in vitamins and minerals.

JOSH HARPER: Okay.

JOHN PETROZZI: Yeah.  I want to speak to you about the Mediterranean and Eskimo diet.

JOSH HARPER: What’s that?

JOHN PETROZZI: Well,  what they found is, basically, the diet that people eat in Crate, which is an island off Greece, and also the Eskimos, they found that the sort of food that they’re eating were keeping their cholesterol levels really, really low, which means it prevented the incidence of cardio-vascular disease and heart attack.  So, they found that, for instance, with the Greeks, it was basically that monounsaturated oil and fat inside olive oil that gave them the benefit of reducing their LDLs. And it’s the same sort of thing with Eskimos, because their staple food is fish and it’s really, really high in omega-3 polyunsaturated fats.  So they found that, basically, these sorts of fat, omega-3 fatty acids and those sorts of things which can be found in salmon and mackerel tend to help lower your levels of HDLs and keep everything in check.

JOSH HARPER: Okay.  So, it was, basically, because where they live, there is such a high…

JOHN PETROZZI: Exactly.

JOSH HARPER: Yeah.

JOHN PETROZZI: Yeah.  So, that’s why in developed countries, like United States and, to an extent now, Australia, there are lots and lots of processed foods available because people lead a pretty hectic life.  So, some people would leave home pretty early and get home pretty late, and if they don’t feel it’s time to cook, they’ll be buying stuff from outside which would be very, very processed.

JOSH HARPER: Yeah.

JOHN PETROZZI: Hope you stay away from burgers and fried fish and fried potato chips, and those sorts of things, because they’re really high in the bad oils.  They’re the ones that kill you.  The thing with an oil is, well, if it’s been sitting there in a cooking pot for a really long time, for a time and it’s been fried and processed a few times, let’s say a day or two, it becomes septic and rancid and, basically, the oil, if you ingest it, it will make you sick.

JOSH HARPER: And does that happen often?

JOHN PETROZZI: Yeah, it does.  Some forms of food poison will come from that. And also, diets that are high in oils that aren’t very, very good will tend to be cancerous, as well.

JOSH HARPER: So, John, if we are concerned about our nutrition, what sort of things should we take onboard?

JOHN PETROZZI: Well, basically, good nutrition is eating whole foods.  So, if you’re going to eat tomato, don’t eat just the sauce, but the whole tomato with the seeds and all, and try and avoid processed foods, because you’ll get your most nutritional content from eating whole food.

JOSH HARPER: Do you think that if you do eat processed foods, it’s sort of, like, not eating at all?

JOHN PETROZZI: Well, it depends on what it is.  If it’s, for instance, a McDonald’s burger, then nutritional content in there is very low and your body’s actually using a lot of its resources to try and break that food down.  And most of the time, it will sit on your bowel for too long, as well, because it’s gone through your system fairly unprocessed and unbroken down and it will sit inside your bowel for a while.  So, yeah, the more processed the food is, just really try and avoid them because it’s kind of, like, not eating.

JOSH HARPER: Yeah.

JOHN PETROZZI: And the other thing with nutrition is if you do have a good, balanced diet, make the time to cook for yourself because you know what is going into the food. Also, make sure you’re exercising because you need food for exercise, but also, exercise is part of that balanced lifestyle.

JOSH HARPER: Yup.

JOHN PETROZZI: So is enough rest, if you’re not getting enough rest, you’d be craving sugars.  So, it’s a catch between two sorts of things.  If you’re not resting, you feel like you’re energy-deprived, and instead of trying to have a rest and sleep to supplement your energy system, you go and crave sugars and fats in foods. Before you know it, you’re working long hours and starting to put on weight.

JOSH HARPER: Yeah.

JOHN PETROZZI: So, exercise, nutrition, and sleep are really important, and also having a good outlook on life, as well.  Because when you’re feeling down and depressed, you’ll be more likely to crave sugars and fats.

JOSH HARPER: So, be positive.

JOHN PETROZZI: Be positive. Yeah. And that’s all we have time for today so hope you enjoyed the discussion on nutrition.

JOSH HARPER: Join us next week for more of the same.

JOHN PETROZZI: You’ve been listening to Living is Easy with John and Josh.  I’m John Petrozzi.

JOSH HARPER: And I’m Josh Harper.

JOHN PETROZZI: Until next time, stay well, and stay happy.