Nutrition 101

This is a lecture I gave at one of my Healthy Cooking meetup groups in 2016.  Sorry it’s somewhat of a work in progress but will polish it up soon!


Nutrition Defined
Basic Nutrients
Nature’s Intention

Nutrition Defined

What Most of us Learned in School
From Merriam Webster:
the act or process of nourishing or being nourished; specifically :  the sum of the processes by which an animal or plant takes in and utilizes food substances

The Scientific Definition

Scientific = Biochemical
Introducing Dr. T. Colin Campbell…

Warning: This is a somewhat unpopular criticism of the way nutrition is supported by our government and medical establishment at large.

Excerpt from his 2013 book “Whole, Rethinking the Science of Nutrition”:
“I remember sums from grade school math. We added two numbers and got a third. The third, which we called the sum, was nothing more or less than what you got by adding the first two numbers. That’s the very soul of reductionism. Remember, the sum total can be completely known if you know each individual part.”

Dr. Campbell goes on to explain his theory that nutritional science, and to a greater extent, the food industry as a whole, relies on reductionism to further their argument that processed food is fine because the individual components are “the same” as what you’d find in natural whole foods.

Did you know?

Traditional medical doctors have little to no training in nutrition. It is not part of the curriculum. Here’s an excerpt from an article in a dietician’s publication from January of 2016:

It’s no secret the nutrition education many medical students receive today leaves much to be desired. The Institute of Medicine and the Association of American Medical Colleges currently recommend medical students receive 25 hours of dedicated nutrition education over a four-year span. Whether that’s sufficient is an argument unto itself, but many colleges aren’t even meeting that goal.

Basic Nutrients


Carbohydrates * See next slide
Proteins * Meat, (some) vegetables, dairy, eggs, beans
Fats * Harder to digest but important for “internal lubrication”

* Good source of energy

* Some essential fats must be eaten (body can’t produce)

* Trans fats are the only fats you should not eat

* Fat does not make you fat.

Water * Our bodies need constant replenishment

* Best detoxifier

* Best a.m. kickstart


Compounds of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen called sugars (saccharides)
Simple vs. Complex
* Simple sugar molecules form chains to create complex carbohydrates (starch)
* Enzymes break the chains down to simple sugars for the body to absorb.
Comes mostly from plants.
* But also milk, which is difficult to digest and can cause problems.
Americans eat far too few carbohydrates.
* Mostly empty calories
* 70-80% “good” carbohydrates is recommended by many whole food nutrition experts
* USDA Recommends 45-65%

A Lesson in Nutrition from Dr. McDougall


Essential vitamins
Plant foods

Also essential
Better from food than supplements


How Digestion Works

The digestive system breaks down macronutrients into molecular components such as amino acids, fatty acids and glucose.

These then absorbed through the walls of the digestive tract, and the circulatory system disseminates them throughout the body.

<insert image from slide 14>


Fiber is an even LONGER chain of complex carbs. So long that it can’t all be digested, and much of it passes through your system undigested.
Eating high-fiber foods is hugely beneficial …
* Maintains bowel health
* Controls blood sugar
* Reduces bad cholesterol
* Lower risk of heart disease or stroke
* Aids weight loss (feel full longer)
* Helps remove toxins and unwanted fungus
* Reduces risk of diverticulitis and hemorrhoids

Sources of Fiber

Beans, peas, lentils
Whole grains
Green veggies (celery, broccoli, green beans)
Starchy vegetables (potatoes, parsnips, etc)

Gut Health

Sequence is important
Avoiding inflammatory foods
Gluten, sugar, dairy


Calories are Your Energy

All food has calories
Your body transforms the calories from food into heat energy
The heat energy is then used by your body to run its various systems
You only need to consume enough food to “run” your body.

How Calories are Stored


<insert image from slide 20>

Excellent description at

Quality is Everything

Calories in – calories out… NOT!
Choose the natural (whole) version
* A little bit of honey instead of Splenda
* Eat an apple instead of drinking apple juice
* Fresh veggies, not frozen or canned
Counting calories doesn’t work
* Weight-watchers model

Nature’s Intention

Good and Bad “Diets”

Fad diets are temporary and never work.
Some come close
* Paleo (sort of)
* Weight Watchers

Bad diets
* Low carb
* Low fat
* Any that support processed food

The Best Diet

A good diet is a permanent lifestyle choice
Based on whole foods
Organic, natural ingredients
As close to natural state as possible
Mostly plants, whole grains, good fats, lean protein
Use “gentle” cooking techniques (e.g. light sauté vs deep fry)

The Simplest Diet in the World

Excerpt from The Great Cholesterol Myth
Chapter 13, 22:16


Slides – <put on slide share>

Recommended Books and Films
Whole, Rethinking the Science of Nutrition, by T. Colin Campbell, PhD
The Great Cholesterol Myth, by Jonny Bowden PhD & Stephen Sinatra MD
In Defense of Food, by Michael Pollan (Book and Film)
Forks Over Knives (Film)

Praise for T. Colin Campbell
Excerpt from Amazon review of The Low-Carb Fraud (Dr. Campbell’s latest book)
“…Eating his recommended way, I have gone from 235 pounds on a 5 ft 1 in frame to 121 pounds. I had been testing prediabetic for years and now my blood sugar and other values are completely normal. I stride around like a teenager whereas before I had x-ray verified need for replacement of both hips, both knees, and both ankles. I had severe osteoarthritis such that each step was very painful. I now work all day on my feet and have no pain at all…”

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