Energy Metabolism

by taratuta

Category: Documents





Energy Metabolism
Page 1088
27.1— Overview
Nutrition is best defined as the utilization of foods by living organisms. Since the process of food utilization is biochemical, the major thrust of the next two chapters is a discussion of basic nutritional concepts in biochemical terms. Simply understanding basic nutritional concepts is no longer sufficient. Nutrition attracts more than its share of controversy in our society, and a thorough understanding of nutrition almost demands an understanding of the issues behind these controversies. These chapters also explore the biochemical basis for some of the most important nutritional controversies.
Study of human nutrition can be divided into three areas: undernutrition, overnutrition, and ideal nutrition. Undernutrition is not a primary concern in this country because nutritional deficiency diseases are now quite rare. Overnutrition is a particularly serious problem in developed countries. Current estimates suggest that between 15% and 30% of the U.S. population is obese, and obesity is known to have a number of serious health consequences. Finally, there is increasing interest today in the concept of ideal or optimal nutrition. This is a concept that has meaning only in an affluent society. Only when food supply becomes abundant enough so that deficiency diseases are a rarity does it become possible to consider long­range effects of nutrients on health. This is probably the most exciting area of nutrition today.
27.2— Energy Metabolism
Energy Content of Food Is Measured in Kilocalories
You should be well acquainted with the energy requirements of the body. Much of the food we eat is converted to ATP and other high­energy compounds, which are utilized to drive biosynthetic pathways, generate nerve impulses, and power muscle contraction. We generally describe the energy content of foods in terms of calories. Technically speaking, we are actually referring to kilocalories of heat energy released by combustion of that food in the body. Some nutritionists prefer the term kilojoule (a measure of mechanical energy), but since the American public is likely to be counting calories rather than joules in the foreseeable future, we will restrict ourselves to that term. Caloric values of protein, fat, carbohydrate, and alcohol are roughly 4, 9, 4, and 7 kcal g–1, respectively. Given these data and the composition of the food, it is simple to calculate the caloric content (input) of the foods we eat. Calculating caloric content of foods does not appear to be a major problem in this country. Millions of Americans are able to do it with ease. The problem lies in balancing caloric input with caloric output. Where do these calories go?
Energy Expenditure Is Influenced by Four Factors
There are four principal factors that affect individual energy expenditure: surface area (which is related to height and weight), age, sex, and activity level. (1) The effects of surface area are thought to be simply related to the rate of heat loss by the body—the greater the surface area, the greater the rate of heat loss. While it may seem surprising, a lean individual actually has a greater surface area, and thus a greater energy requirement, than an obese individual of the same weight. (2) Age may reflect two factors: growth and lean muscle mass. In infants and children more energy expenditure is required for rapid growth, and this is reflected in a higher basal metabolic rate (rate of energy utilization in resting state). In adults (even lean adults), muscle tissue is gradually replaced with fat and water during the aging process, resulting in a 2% decrease
Fly UP