WHAT IS FOOD AND WHY DO WE EAT IT?
by Dr. Lawrence Wilson
© December 2020, LD Wilson Consultants, Inc.
All information in this article is for educational purposes only. It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition.
WHAT IS FOOD?
A good definition of food is anything that nourishes the human body. It may range from mineral deposits like salt to eating animal bodies, or even the blood or other tissues of an animal. The most consistent quality of all of these is that they contain nutrient that our bodies require. They also do not contain too many chemicals that are poisonous or toxic for our bodies.
The opposite of a food is poison. This is something that does not contain much that is nourishing for our bodies, and contains items that are toxic or harmful to the body. Obviously there are thousands of these substances, from minerals such as arsenic or mercury, to plants and chemicals that are toxic such as marijuana (yes, it is a poison).
WHY DO WE NEED TO EAT FOOD?
The simplest answer is that this is how our bodies are designed to function. It is similar to the fact that one must put gasoline and oil in a car or it wonÕt run. In the same way, our bodies are set up to receive food in order to grow, maintain themselves, have energy and do all the things the body is supposed to do.
Without the correct nutrition or food, the body will break down, sooner or later. This is identical to the fact that if the gasoline and oil are not correct for the car, sooner or later the car will stop running smoothly and eventually it will be destroyed.
WHAT DOES THE BODY NEED IN TERMS OF FOOD?
Scientists have been working on this problem for years. They have tried feeding people all sorts of special diets of various foods, chemical copies of foods made in the laboratory, and other items to figure out exactly what a human being needs to eat.
Especially, with the recent NASA space program, scientists want to know what foods people need to take with them on their journey into space so they will stay healthy. Obviously, it is hard to take all foods along, such as cows, chickens and even a large variety of fruits and vegetables. So they have spent years trying to find out which are most important.
Unfortunately, the search for exactly what people need is not over. However, scientists around the world have learned a lot about human nutrition. This is the subject of this entire course.
1. Minerals. Our bodies need certain minerals – probably about 40 of them. Minerals are life. That is a principle of development and basic science.
2. Protein. Most adults need at least about 40 grams of protein daily or more. Protein is a type of chemical that is the building material for the human and all animal bodies. A separate article discusses protein in much more detail.
3. Fats or oils. The bodies also need certain essential fats or oils in their food. Fats and oils are complex chemicals that are also sources of heat or energy for the body. A separate article discusses them.
4. Other. For optimum health, the bodies require a large set of special chemicals, sometimes called phytonutrients. These are found mainly in vegetable, although other foods such as meats, eggs, grains and others also contain some of them.
5. Calories. Our bodies need a certain number of calories. A calorie is a unit of heat. Actually, what is called a food calorie is equal to 1000 heat units. Scientists find that human beings need at least 1000 calories or 1,000,000 heat units daily or more, depending on many factors. These heat units are found in sugars, complex sugars or starches, fats and oils. Protein also contains some of them.
6. Fresh food. People do not seem to live well eating just manufactured food. People need fresh meats, eggs, vegetables and other real, whole natural foods.
7. Variety. The bodies do best with a variety of foods. In other words, living on just a few foods every day is not best. However, we disagree with those who say that this means one must eat some fruit, some junk food and more. A variety of vegetables and proteins are important, however, for development.
8. The oxidation types. Food needs also differ depending upon body chemistry. One important area that few know about is the oxidation rate. Those with a fast oxidation rate seem to require more fats and oils.
For example, most babies have a fast oxidation rate and they do very well on motherÕs milk, which is high in fat. A diet without some fat is terrible for most babies. Their brains and nervous systems will not grow properly without enough fats, especially the omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA. Most babies are starving for these today and this is one reason young people cannot think well today.
In contrast, slow oxidizers, which includes most adults, seem to need more protein and vegetables, and not as much fats and oils. However, they too are starving today for the omega-3 fatty acids, which should be required in food or the food should be allowed to be sold.
9. Quantity of nutrients. Most people need a lot more nutrition than they are getting today. Primitive tribes often got a lot more nutrition because all their food was freshly killed or freshly picked, and most of it was minimally processed or refined very little and cooked in a simple way.
10. Special needs. Most people also have special nutritional needs due to stress, old age, chronic illnesses, pregnancy, breastfeeding, activity level and other factors. Lack of attention to this factor is another leading cause of disability, disease and death today.
For example, anyone who is in a hospital or doctorÕs office for any reason needs special additional nutrition. (We suggest it for everyone.) However, most doctorÕs offices, dental office and hospitals today are usually the last place to look for an optimum diet. This is a crime, in our view, and we hope it is remedied soon.
11. Food preparation. It is not enough to eat the correct foods. One must also prepare then correctly. For example, extracting much nutrition from raw vegetables is impossible for human beings. We are not cows, who chew all day and then throw up their food and Òchew the cudÓ. This is why proper cooking is so important! It breaks down the fiber without ruining the food.
Most food today is either not cooked enough, such as salads or crunchy, al dente vegetables, or it is very overcooked, which describes most meat people eat. This is another crime, in our view, and wastes millions of tons of food every day.
12. Eating habits. It is not enough to eat the correct foods, properly cooked. One must also sit quietly, chew thoroughly, relax and think pleasant thoughts while eating. Otherwise, as animals well know, one will not have good digestion. Animals such as dogs and cats just stop eating if they become upset. Humans need to imitate this behavior and make a point of eating in a quiet setting, eating slowly and carefully, and then resting at least 10 minutes after each meal to allow digestion to begin.
A companion article to this one is Development And Food.