My rating: 4 of 5 stars
As with of books from this publisher, this one too contains well researched facts that are beautifully presented. This is the kind of information I believe should be accessible to everyone especially from a very young age. The book is filled with visual guides and loads of useful information that can benefit anyone who takes time to learn these stuffs about nutrition.
The book is divided into 6 parts namely:
1. Food Fundamentals
2. Storing and Cooking
3. Types of Food
6. Food and Environment
Some interesting things to learn from the very first chapter:
1. The body needs to constantly build and maintain cells
2. Carbohydrates, Water, Minerals, Protein, Fats and Vitamins are essential to the body
3. Not everyone respond the same way to external hunger cues. This has to do with the hormone called leptin. Some people are less sensitive to this hormone which signals to the brain that we are full.
4. A spike in Ghrelin level can be observed in our body when out stomach has been empty for hours. Ghrelin is also known as the hunger hormone.
5. Food on plane are fine. They taste bland because the air in the plane is dry thereby interfering with the ability of our taste and smell receptors to detect molecules.
6. Unrefined starches such as whole grain and pulses are better than refined starches like white rice, cakes as they break down more slowly, releasing energy over time. Unrefined starches can keeps us feeling full for longer.
7. The liver is extremely important and stores excess carbs as glycogen for later use.
8. Protein are extremely versatile, On a molecular level, when protein are broken down into amino acids, they form different combination of blocks essentials for activities in our body. Those activities include helping with the build-up and maintenance of neurotransmitters, muscle, cell membrane, hormone and DNA.
9. Fats are important to a healthy diet however Hydrogenated/Trans Fats have been linked to lots of health issues and should be avoided.
10. Some vitamins Fat soluble that is they are not absorbed properly in the body unless consumed with some fats. Those are vitamins A, D, E and K
11. Some vitamins dissolve in water (found mostly in fruits and vegetables). Those are vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B12 and C
12. The body needs minerals as well such as chloride, sodium, magnesium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus and even sulphur to function properly. Some such as copper, fluoride, manganese, cobalt, Iodine, Zinc, Iron and Selenium are needed as well but in tiny amounts. Deficiency of these can cause various issues to the body including tiredness and nausea.
13. Drinking water is good however there is such a thing as drinking too much water. One should not drink excess water at one go, this can cause swollen brain cells which manifest in the form of headaches, dizziness and confusion. In extreme cases, this can lead to death.
I thoroughly enjoyed the book, it is mostly up to date with its information even presenting arguments from both sides on topics that are polarizing such as supplements. I also loved that when there are limited or conflicting evidences, unproven claims or when some research results came from mice exclusively, they presented it as such. I also enjoyed knowing about facts like fizzy drinks are transported in vehicles that are required to have hazard waning symbols for highly corrosive materials, or historical bits likes Fizzy drinks began as health tonics and cola drink literally had cocaine in them until 1904.
The most important chapter according to me is the one on Diet. This books is just useless information in the head unless you apply what you are learning and the chapter for diet is just for that. Basically, this is a guide to a healthy lifestyle when it comes to food. Some diets are fads, misguided or have no scientific basis to their claim. There are a lot of good diets as well with proven benefits, some are more appropriate than other depending on an individual’s health and goals. To conclude, this is a book for anyone who cares enough about what goes inside their body.