Macro-nutrients – briefly
Macro-nutrients are required in larger amounts than micro-nutrients. Macro-nutrients include:
- protein, such as eggs, fish, turkey, beef, or vegan options tofu, lentils, chickpeas, peanuts, and others,
- fats, such as nuts, seeds, and healthy vegetable oils,
- carbohydrates, such as vegetables, fruits, grains, and starch.
Official, academic nutrition tends to look at the details of how these macro-nutrients nutrients are digested. They tend to draw complicated diagrams of “metabolic pathways”, as if we all digested foods in a standardized way. This leads to stale advice to “eat a balanced diet”. This point of view often:
- overlooks biochemical individuality and the possibility that an optimal mix or balance for you may not be optimal for me,
- overlooks micro-nutrients, such as minerals and vitamins found in vegetables, fruits, herbs, and spices, and
- is based on a “food pyramid” that favors certain producers at the expense of individuals looking for health via food.
Your body is made of more or less sixty to seventy percent water, depending on the person. There is more to water than quenching your thirst. The sensation of thirst is the last sign of dehydration, not the first, particularly for the ageing.
In 1992, Dr. Fereydoon Batmanghelidj, MD, first published his book, Your Body’s Many Cries for Water. Imprisoned in Iran after the revolution of 1979, Dr. Batmanghelidj had to treat a fellow prisoner with crippling peptic ulcer pain (stomach pain). With no medications at his disposal, he gave him two glasses of water. Within eight minutes, the pain disappeared. Dr. B. instructed his patient to drink two glasses of water every three hours. His patient became absolutely pain free for his four remaining months in prison.
Dr. B. successfully treated three thousand fellow prisoners suffering from stress-induced peptic ulcer disease with water alone. While in prison, he conducted extensive research into the medicinal effects of water in preventing and relieving many painful degenerative diseases. Despite being offered an early release, Dr. B. chose to stay an extra four months in prison to complete his research into the relationship of dehydration and bleeding peptic ulcer disease. He published the report of his findings as an editorial in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology in June 1983.
With some variation from person to person, your muscles are about seventy-five percent water; your blood is about eighty-two percent water; your lungs are about ninety percent water; even your bones are about twenty-five percent water. Your health truly depends on the quality and quantity of the water you drink. According to Dr. Batmanghelidj, “unintentional chronic dehydration can cause pain and many degenerative diseases, which can be prevented and treated by increasing water intake on a regular basis”. You can find details in the book or in The Water Cure: An interview with Dr. Batmanghelidj
In the same spirit as Dr. Batmanghelidj, Sebastian Kneipp published his methods for the therapeutic external use of water in My Water Cure in 1894.
Naturally, the idea that water can be used therapeutically to relieve unintended chronic dehydration (ucd) makes some people uncomfortable. Try it for yourself and see. In small amounts, drink a total of at least two to three liters (or quarts) of clean water (or healthy smoothies free of sugar and dairy) per day, when you first wake up, at least fifteen minutes before meals, and between meals. Dr. David Jockers DC points out the many uses of water for good health in water and its uses for health.
There is controversy about tap water compared with bottled water. The comparison depends on the local water and its treatment and on the person and their condition.
For further insights into water, read “The Fourth Phase of Water: Beyond Solid, Liquid, and Vapor” by Gerald Pollack. A related one hundred-minute video is here. Also see research by Dr. Carla Nuday, Professor Kwanda, and Patrick Flanagan, or else look at youtubes by Professor Yamamoto of Japan.
You can purify water, using small quantities of sodium chlorite (not sodium chloride, which is table salt) mixed with an acid, such as lemon juice or even diluted hydrochloric acid. This mixture produces chlorine dioxide, which is different from both household bleach (sodium hypochlorite) and the chlorine used to treat the water in swimming pools. Use caution and use this mixture in small quantities. Do not let it contact metal. For details of other uses, read JimHumble.com. This is not an endorsement of any supplier. There is controversy about this substance for other uses than disinfecting water and cleaning hospitals and food processing equipment. Do your own research, and think for yourself. I suggest this for purifying water if necessary.
It may sound strange, but urine, the water that you produce, has also been used therapeutically. This is not new. They drank urine in ancient China. The idea is not so strange, if you think about composting. More recently, Jim Armstrong describes this practice in detail in The Water of Life – A Treatise on Urine Therapy, originally published in 1944. Before you dismiss or ridicule this idea, do your own research. I have never tried this myself, but I would if I had to. Another reference is here.
How clean is your tap water? If you live in the USA, check the tap water database of the Environmental Working Group to find out.
Your body is made of fifteen to twenty percent protein. After water, protein is the second most common substance in the body. Your muscles, connective tissue, internal organs, hair, skin, eyes, nails, and blood plasma all contain protein. It is necessary to rebuild muscles and bones, to balance hormones, and to produce enzymes required for digestion. Protein is found in both animals and some vegetables.
When you digest animal or vegetable protein, using hydrochloric acid in your stomach and without thinking about it, you break it down into amino acids. Animal protein is the only source of complete protein, containing all eight essential amino acids required to survive. You later re-assemble these amino acids to make new protein that you absorb and assimilate into your tissues, muscles, and bones. Shortage of any one of these amino acids constrains your ability to make the proteins you needs to strengthen your muscles and to stay healthy. As you age, you may need more protein than you did when you were younger. If you do not get enough protein, your muscles can shrink, making you weak.
To maintain health, a part of each of us dies every day. This process is like a lizard shedding its skin, but it happens internally. Technically, it is called “apoptosis”. You need protein (and healthy fat) to replace the cells that are lost each day to apoptosis.
Proteins contain the element nitrogen, but the nitrogen is naturally bound to other elements, such as carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, to form “amino acids”. Almost all foods contain small quantities of protein. Animal protein, found in eggs, fish, chicken, turkey, or beef, is more concentrated than vegetable protein found in lentils, tofu, legumes, pulses, or others.
After you break down protein in your stomach, you convert any excess to ammonia and then partly to urea. This is why public urinals that are not well ventilated smell like ammonia. Their users ate an excess of protein. (I don’t hang out in public urinals, but when I travel, I notice this.)
Like requirements for minerals and vitamins, requirements for protein are a political football. Opinions vary widely about how much protein is required to maintain health. Note that the protein content depends on the specific food. The official narrative overlooks the fact that you are not a statistic. In other words, you may or may not be average, even beyond the question of adult, child, pregnant, or breast-feeding. Due to biochemical individuality, perhaps some people simply need more or less protein than others. This possibility is overlooked in official, academic nutrition.
According to blood type eating, if you have blood type O or B, for your good health, you may require small portions of good-quality animal protein, such as eggs, fish, turkey, or beef, even daily. Ideally, the animals you eat are free of the growth hormones, antibiotics, and painkillers often used in large-scale confined animal farming operations. There is no friendly way to kill an animal, but some ways cause less pain than others. Nature os red in tooth and claw, as the poet Tennyson put it. Pasture-raised, grass-fed (not grain-fed) animals, eggs, and beef may be the healthiest to eat, at least for some people.
The larger the ocean fish, the more likely it is contaminated with mercury. Small, ocean fish (not farmed fish), such as sardines, herring, and mackerel, may be optimal for many. Good-quality animal protein can be more expensive, but only small portions are required, such as one hundred to two hundred grams (three and a half to seven ounces). It is better to avoid large portions of animal protein. On a very strict budget, eggs are optimal.
Some people may be able to get enough protein from vegetable sources. Healthy sources of vegetable protein can include tofu, lentils, chickpeas, brown rice, tempeh, almonds, black beans, green beans, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, oats, buckwheat, quinoa, amaranth, broccoli, and adzuki beans. Some people can combine these foods in certain ways, such as rice and beans, to obtain a complete set of essential amino acids. Veganism really works for some people for their health, but not for everybody. If you are a vegan but feel tired, in pain, or unhealthy, are you willing to die for the cause? Some vegans do themselves a real service by eating eggs or fish at least now and then.
According to blood type eating, if you have blood type A or AB, you may be better able to digest vegetable protein. Perhaps you have a more durable secretion of digestion enzymes. Perhaps you are naturally more able to combine a grain and a legume, such as rice and beans. In tbis way, perhaps you obtain essential amino acids to make the protein for your bones, muscles, and good health.
Protein makes you feel full much more than lipids or carbohydrates. It is possible to have a deficiency in protein, but it is also possible to have an excess of protein. Listen to your body and possibly eat according to your blood type .
According to chrono-nutrition, it is better to eat (concentrated = animal) protein at breakfast and at lunch, but never at dinner. Besides boiled eggs or an omelet, have you ever tried turkey or beef sauteed with onions, mushrooms, and spinach for breakfast? It can be both delicious and nutritious, if you add salt and spices.
In this fifty-four minute podcast, Dr. Mark Hyman MD asks Dr. Gabrielle Lyon MD – are we eating too much (or not enough) protein for good health? My guess is that some people are eating too much protein, while others are not eating enough. I would further guess that the ability to absorb and assimilate protein depends on the person and on the specific protein.
Fats are also known as lipids, which are made of long chains of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. Fats include nuts, seeds, vegetable oils, and animal fat. You digest lipids the slowest of all, compared with vegetables, fruits, starch, and protein. In general, it is better to eat nuts at the end of a meal or between meals, except that a few nuts with fruits or in a fruit smoothie, or a healthy oil with vegetables, can slow down the consequent insulin release and increase absorption of the nutrients.
Regarding healthy fat, some people can only digest a few nuts and seeds at a time, while others can digest handfuls at a time. This may have to do with biochemical individuality and a digestive enzyme called alkaline phosphatase, which is required to digest lipids. According to Peter Dr. D’Adamo ND, author of “Eat Right 4 Your Type“, people with blood type O tend to secrete more alkaline phosphatase, so they can digest more nuts and seeds than blood type A people. Blood type B tends to be similar to blood type O, while blood type AB tends to be similar to blood type A. Furthermore, certain nuts and seeds may be healthy for some people, but not for others, at least according to blood type eating.An average healthy adult human being of seventy to eighty kilograms (one hundred and fifty-five to one hundred and seventy-five pounds) has about the same amount of body fat as protein, fifteen to twenty percent. Your brain is made up of at least sixty percent fat. You need fat for your mental health and fertility, particularly fat called omega-three. You are not a statistic. You are biochemically individual. Each person has individual needs for fat and an individual capacity to digest fat in food.
Dietary fats are organic substances that are insoluble in water. They are necessary for good health. They produce energy, and they make up most of the skin and much of the membranes that cover all the cells in your body. You can find healthy fat in nuts, seeds, and healthy oils, such as pumpkin seeds, almonds, flaxseeds, walnuts, olive oil, hemp seeds, and coconut oil. Not all fats are the same, and not all fats are healthy.
For health via food, there are three types of fats:
- saturated fat, such as coconut oil, real butter, and animal fat,
- mono-unsaturated fat, such as olive oil, and
- poly-unsaturated fat, such as flaxseed oil, hempseed oil, fish oil, and most processed vegetable oils.
Most nuts and seeds have a mix of these three types of fats.
Weston Price was a dentist who studied native tribes in the 1930s in the USA, Peru, and New Zealand, among other places. He wrote “Nutrition and Physical Degeneration“, which was published in 1938. He looked at what they traditionally ate and how they adapted to a “modern” diet. As a dentist, he noticed that before they started to eat “civilized” food, they had almost no cavities in their teeth. Only after they started eating industrial foods with sugar and starch did their teeth decline.
According to westonaprice.org, who continue the research of Weston Price, “the two polyunsaturated fatty acids found most frequently in our foods are double unsaturated linoleic acid, with two double bonds—also called omega-six; and triple unsaturated linolenic acid, with three double bonds—also called omega-three. (The omega number indicates the position of the first double bond.) Your body cannot make these fatty acids and hence they are called ‘essential’. Each of us must obtain essential fatty acids from the foods we eat. The balance and the ratio between omega-three and omega-six fats partly determines whether the specific poly-unsaturated fat is healthy or not.
Until recently and since the 1950s, official academic nutrition has claimed that fat, particularly saturated fat, and not sugar, made people fat. Dr. Catherine Shanahan MD describes the origin of this misunderstanding. The official narrative still overlooks the difference between unhealthy fat and healthy fat.
The theory that fat, particularly saturated fat, clogs your arteries and makes you fat has never been proven. In fact, the cholesterol theory of heart disease has recently been disproven. It is sugar and starch that makes you fat.
Beware processed vegetable oils
Beware of industrially processed vegetable oils. Corn, soy, canola, sunflower, safflower, and cottonseed oils, are heat-treated, deodorized, bleached, and are better avoided. The chemical processing and heat treatment of these oils destroy nutrients and introduce toxins. The result is “trans fats“, which can cause inflammation. Canola oil is the most controversial. Processed vegetable oils can indeed clog your arteries, slow your metabolism, and make you fat.
This illustration was taken from Sally Fallon’s seminar “Nourishing Traditions – The Key to Vibrant Health“. She took it from Fats and Oils: Formulating and Processing for Applications by Richard O’Brien. It shows how these industrial vegetable oils are processed:
Do you really want to consume these oils, knowing this? Dr. Joe Mercola describes why and how to replace these unhealthy oils with healthy fats.
Healthy oils include coconut oil, olive oil, flaxseed oil, and hempseed oil, among others. These oils are obtained by manual or mechanical pressing at low temperatures. Myself, I cook omelets and sautee other dishes with coconut oil, which is a saturated fat, so it can stand some high heat. Olive oil can tolerate light heat but not high heat. If the coconut oil or the olive oil starts to smoke when you heat it, it has started to become unhealthy. Never heat flaxseed oil nor hempseed oil, which can quickly become rancid.
For detailed scientific insights into healthy fats, read the article by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig PhD, “The Skinny on Fats“. Another possible reference on healthy fats is “Fats that Heal, Fats that Kill“, by Udo Erasmus, summarized here.
“Carbohydrates” is a confusing term in nutrition. It means that the food contains carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms. It includes three types of foods:
- vegetables, such as broccoli, spinach, and onions,
- fruit, such as apples, pears, and bananas,
- starch, such as grains (cereals), beans, wheat, corn, and rice.
You digest carbohydrates more quickly than lipids, which are also made of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. Besides minerals and vitamins, carbohydrates in the form of fruits and vegetables contain fiber necessary for optimal digestion.
Refined grains and cereals, such as wheat flour, even “whole wheat” flour, are the result of milling. This process removes the minerals and vitamins from the grain. Some of the millers then add vitamins, such as B vitamins, back into the refined flour. Starch is sometimes referred to as “slow sugars”, but in fact, after you eat a piece of bread, you break it down to sugar that enters your blood as quickly as refined sugar (citation). Some starch, for some people, can inflame the digestive system. Many people gain health and lose weight simply by completely cutting wheat from their eating habits, substituting vegetables, fruits, oats, buckwheat, brown rice, quinoa, or other grain-like foods.
You convert excess carbohydrate to fat in the body. It is sugar and starch that makes the body fat, not healthy nuts, seeds, and oils. This simple fact has been hidden in plain sight for many years.
Also be aware that grains and seeds contain phytic acid, which can deplete your body or minerals and vitamins. On the other hand, modest portions of nuts and seeds with phytic acid may be healthy, at least for some people.
Beware following the herd
When you receive the advice to “just eat a balanced diet”, what this usually refers to is a balance between protein, fat, and carbohydrates. Unfortunately, what this stale advice overlooks is that an optimal balance for you may not be an optimal balance for me. Each of us has individual requirements for protein and fat. Some people require less protein than others. Some people can digest more fats than others. Some people have a naturally rapid digestion, while others digest more slowly. You are not a statistic, and you do not want to become a statistic. You are an individual, and self-knowledge is often the best knowledge.
The stale advice to “just eat a balanced diet” also overlooks micronutrients, such as minerals and vitamins. Many people are deficient in minerals and vitamins without knowing it. Nutrient deficiencies can have severe consequences over time and ccan cause disease, but they are individual, like requirements for protein and fat. Minerals and vitamins are found in vegetables and fruit, but usually not in refined or processed grains, cereals, and starch, except minerals or vitamins added by the manufacturer. What does it tell us that minerals or vitamins are added to the flour?
Finding a true balance
How do you find the optimal balance for you of protein, fat, and carbohydrates,including vitamins and minerals? Know yourself first. Experiment with different proportions, and listen to your body. For example, some people do not digest red meat well. It is not healthy for them. They do not have enough acid in their stomach to digest it well, so after eating meat, even in small portions, it putrefies and can cause these people indigestion or even stomach pains. According to blood type eating, people who do not digest meat well tend to have blood type A or AB, which is consistent with what I have observed. To gain health and lose weight, if you have blood type A, it may be healthy for you to avoid red meat completely, even if it reminds you of happy moments in your childhood. Fish, eggs, chicken, and turkey can be easy substitutes for red meat. These foods are more healthy, if you get them from suppliers that do not have confined animal farming operations. Small, local suppliers can be optimal for many.
One possible experiment to find your optimal balance of protein, lipids, and carbohydrates, if you enjoy eating nuts, is to eat two or more handfuls of nuts on an empty stomach, and then see how you feel within an hour or two. If they cause you indigestion or gas, then cut back and eat only one handful or even less. Some people can only digest two or three nuts at a time. Also be aware the some nuts may be healthy for you, while others are not, according to blood type eating. Listen to your body. If your digestion is healthy, you are healthy. You are the only one who can evaluate your digestion.
For a discussion and details of the science of macro-nutrients (food types), click on main food types. Dr. Anne Zauderer of the Riordan Clinic describes the basics of macro-nutrients, nutrition, and metabolism in this eighty-two minute video.
Batmanghelidj MD, Dr. Fereydoon, “Your Body’s Many Cries for Water“, Global Health Solutions, 2008
Brownstein MD, Dr. David, “Overcoming Arthritis“, Medical Alternatives Press, 2001
Fallon, Sally and Mary Enig, “Nourishing Traditions“, Newtrends Publishing, Inc., 2001
Hyman MD, Dr. Mark, “Eat Fat, Get Thin“, Hodder & Stoughton, 2016
Yudkin MD, Dr. John, “Pure, White and Deadly – How sugar is killing us and what we can do to stop it“, Davis-Poynter Ltd., 1972
Erasmus, Udo, “Fats that Heal, Fats that Kill“, Alive Books, 1993
Enig PhD, Mary, “Know Your Fats: The Complete Primer for Understanding the Nutrition of Fats, Oils and Cholesterol“, Bethesda Press, 2000, review, another review,
Davis MD, Dr. William, “Wheat Belly“, Rodale, 2011, review, another review
Perlmutter MD, Dr. David, “Grain Brain“, Little, Brown, 2013
“Pumpkin Seeds: 11 Evidence-Based Health Benefits“, © August 30th 2019 GreenMedInfo LLC. Want to learn more from GreenMedInfo? Sign up for the newsletter here //www.greenmedinfo.com/greenmed/newsletter.”
Enig, Mary, and Morrell, Sally, “The Oiling of America“, one hundred and twenty-four minute video