Refined Macronutrients- Sugar, Fats & Amino Acids
Water, Carbohydrates, Fat and Protein are known as Macronutrients. We eat them in large quantities everyday. They are essential to health but what happens when they are refined?
The refined product commonly is marketed as a superfood, an energy food or a supplement. More notably in recent years the refined product has been treated as a self prescribed medicine for healing. These claims may seem harmless as the substances are derived from natural macronutrients. In many instances case studies and scientific studies are used to validate the use of the refined product to treat disease. For example lysine a refined product from protein is commonly used by both traditional medical and alternative practitioners to treat herpes simplex cold sores.1,2,3. Glyconutrients, assumed to be refined from Carbohydrates, are claimed to promote sexual function, fertility or help cure cancer.4 Then there is the mainstream dosing of people with a fat extract, Omega 3 fatty acids, to prevent heart disease and reduce triglyceride levels.5 Each one of these products is purchased from a well meaning manufacturer, and used as an antidote to prevent or reverse disease.
For example, fat is refined from milk, animal flesh, or plant products such as corn, flax or coconuts. The resulting product gives us an increased feeling of fullness. It gives exciting textures and melting sensations in our mouths. It also gives excessive amounts of calories.6
Indeed eating a diet high in refined fat is linked with problems of obesity,7 ,8 especially if the fat is obtained from an animal source.9 Excess intake of fat is also associated with increasing levels of cholesterol,10 heart,11 and brain 12 disease and diabetes type 2.13
The refinement of fat is cause for concern but what about the link of refined carbohydrates, in the form of sugar, causing a decrease in the body’s ability to fight off pathogens 14 and increasing cancer incidence.15 It also creates problems by giving the body calories that run its metabolism while not providing the nutrients needed to maintain and restore the body. Sugar indeed functions much like many street drugs, it boosts the neurotransmitters in our brain causing a temporary high which afterwards creates a let down which causes a repeat desire for the boost.16 Diets containing refined sugars are also known to worsen glucose control in diabetics 17,18. Last but not least diets high in sugar have also been shown to correlate with higher levels of blood lipids 10.
Despite the negative effects observed from the refinement of sugar and fat, protein is not to be left behind. By refining protein and adding it back into food chefs and manufacturers can produce tastier food. Other refined amino acid products are promoted as supplements to treat many conditions ranging from leaky gut syndrome 19 to supplementation after heart attacks 20.
But in all this assumed progress, one must also consider all available evidence. Refined amino acids can cause serious health concerns! In fact the diseases which are associated with fat and carbohydrate refinement pale to mere childsplay when we consider the role of refined amino acids in the disease process. The effect and role of refined amino acids in the creation of Parkinson’s and ALS is clearly shown by one Neurosurgeon, Dr. Russell Blaylock. Multiple sclerosis, Chronic Fatigue and Autoimmune disorders are only part of the disease list he scientifically examines while mapping out the deleterious role refined amino acids appear to play in the creation of these diseases.21
To further explore the topic of refined amino acids,
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1 Griffith, R.S, Norins, A.L, Kagan, C. 1978; Dermatologica. A multicentered study of lysine therapy in Herpes simplex infection. 156(5):257-67.
2 Walsh, D.E, Griffith, R.S, Behforooz, A. J Antimicrob Chemother. 1983 Nov;12(5):489-96.Subjective response to lysine in the therapy of herpes simplex.
3 http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003059.htm retrieved 1/11/2010 6:27 PM
4 http://www.healthylifenutrition.com/glyconutrients.htm retrieved 1/11/2010 6:31 PM
5 http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/patient-fishoil.html retrieved on 1/11/2010 7:05 PM
6 See our article on body fuels. Fat has 9 calories per gram where protein and carbohydrate have 4 calories per gram.
7 A Astrup, B Buemann, P Western, S Toubro, A Raben and NJ Christensen, Department of Human Nutrition, Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, Copenhagen, Denmark. (1994). Obesity as an adaptation to a high-fat diet: evidence from a cross- sectional study. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Vol 59, 350-355.
8 Bray, G. A., J. A. Glennon, L. B. Salans, E. S. Horton, E. Danforth, Jr., and E. A. Sims. (1977) Spontaneous and experimental human obesity: effects of diet and adipose cell size on lipolysis and lipogenesis. Metabolism 26: 739-747
9 Wang, Y, Beydoun, M.A. (2009) Meat consumption is associated with obesity and central obesity among US adults. International Journal of Obesity 33, 621–628 (1 June 2009)
10 R. James Barnard, Christian K. Roberts, Shira M. Varon and Joshua J. Berger. (1998) Diet-induced insulin resistance precedes other aspects of the metabolic syndrome. J Appl Physiol 84:1311-1315.
11 http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002468.htm retrieved 1/14/2010 3:51 PM
12 Steve Pedrini, Carlos Thomas, Hannah Brautigam, James Schmeidler, Lap Ho, Paul Fraser, David Westaway, Peter St George Hyslop, Ralph N Martins, Joseph D Buxbaum, Giulio M Pasinetti, Dara L Dickstein, Patrick R Hof, Michelle E Ehrlich, Sam Gandy (2009). Dietary composition modulates brain mass and solubilizable Abeta levels in a mouse model of aggressive Alzheimer's amyloid pathology. Molecular Neurodegeneration January; 4:40.
13 Storlien, L.H, Jenkins, A.B, Chisholm, D.J, Pascoe, W.S, Khouri, S, Kraegen, E.W. 1991. Influence of dietary fat composition on development of insulin resistance in rats. Relationship to muscle triglyceride and omega-3 fatty acids in muscle phospholipid. Diabetes. Feb;40(2):280-9
14 Sanchez, A. et al. Role of sugars in human neutrophilic phagocytosis. Am J Clin Nutr 1973 Nov;26(11):1180-4.
15 Arundhati Rai1, SC Mohapatra1, HS Shukla (2004). A review of association of dietary factors in gallbladder cancer Indian Journal of Cancer. Vol. 41 Issue 4 P147-151 http://www.indianjcancer.com/article.asp?issn=0019-509X;year=2004;volume=41;issue=4;spage=147;epage=151;aulast=Rai Retrieved 1/15/2010 10:56 AM
16 Avena, N.M., Rada, P. Hoebel, B.G. (2008). Evidence for sugar addiction: behavioral and neurochemical effects of intermittent, excessive sugar intake. Neuroscience Biobehav Reviews. 32(1):20-39.
17 Reaven, G.M., (1979) Effects of differences in amount and kind of dietary carbohydrate on plasma glucose and insulin responses in man. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol 32, 2568-2578.
18 Barnard, R. J., C. K. Roberts, S. M. Varon, and J. J. Berger. Diet-induced insulin resistance precedes other aspects of the metabolic syndrome. J. Appl. Physiol. 84: 1311-1315, 1998
19 Weil, A. (2005). http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/QAA361058/what-is-leaky-gut.html Retrieved 2/15/2010 10:39 AM
20 Kristiansen, S.B, Henning, O, Nielsen-Kudsk, J.E, Bøtker, H. E, Nielsen, T.T. (2003) Effects of L-glutamate supplementation mimic effects of fasting in the ischemic heart. APMIS Suppl. (109):117-21.