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  1. #1
    Seriously Delirious Udog's Avatar
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    Default Food is not Fuel

    Food is not fuel. It's a common misconception, especially in exercise and weight loss circles, and I believe the misconception is part of the reason why so many people struggle to lose weight, gain muscle, or experience any number of health issues.

    Here's a good article on the topic: http://www.precisionnutrition.com/food-is-not-fuel

    To summarize:

    1. ONE function of food is to provide energy. But it does much more than that.
    2. 1 calorie of food outside the body does NOT equate to 1 calorie of food inside the body.
    3. The vitamins and minerals found in food does not directly provide energy, but they help perform a wide variety of functions that keep our bodies running smoothly. (Building bones, protein synthesis, nerve function, etc.)
    4. Phytochemicals (from plants) and zoochemicals (from animals) help provide a wide variety of protective mechanisms for the body.
    6. What we eat regulates production of certain hormones, which in turn informs our body how to digest and process the food we eat.
    7. Human beings consist of trillions of bacteria creating complex ecosystems that help us digest food, and what we eat affects those ecosystems, which in turn affects how we digest food.
    8. Food is cultural. It bonds families and communities.
    9. The type of food we eat, and how we eat it, communicates who we are and what we value.

    In short:
    Here, food is information. It’s communication. It’s a set of instructions that you give your body to accomplish amazing things.
    So what do you guys think? I'd especially love to hear how this information might impact your dietary choices.

    Bonus:
    Also, food can affect what bacteria live in our gut, which MAY in turn directly affect our mood, such as emotions of anxiety. This is currently being studied with humans via probiotics, but it's an intriguing area of research:
    http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013...s-of-our-minds

  2. #2
    Senior Member MetalMoon's Avatar
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    Good post. There is such an unhealthy attitude towards food nowadays; food is eaten based on what will make someone thin with little regard to nutritional value, if weightloss is the goal. Indulgences are met with excuses: there is less and less "oh, I fancy a bit of pie" more "I'll run this off/it's a treat/ah well, not losing weight anyway"

    I believe the focus should be on maximising wholesome, nutritional foods, and not feeling guilt if you "cheat." you can't "cheat" on a diet. Ever since I've gotten that mindset out of my head, I find myself less and less obsessed with food. And, I rarely want "junk" now anyway. Indulgences are good-quality ice cream and chocolate. It's all good...

  3. #3
    amateur cartographer kquirk's Avatar
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    Yup.
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  4. #4
    Junior Member elemenop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Udog
    8. Food is cultural. It bonds families and communities.
    I think this is especially interesting. It seems like there's often an unhealthy focus on the action of eating, rather than the context (social, interpersonal, cultural contexts) that eating occurs in. Holidays like Thanksgiving are an exception, since food is part of a broader activity; it's only one component of the Fun. I imagine that lots of people make a habit of grabbing a drive-through meal after work/school, and then eating it before/during the long commute home (at least, that's what I did in back in high school). All the enjoyment of the meal comes from the food itself; everything else is depressing. When peoples' sense of "fun" only stems from eating, instead of social events/activities surrounding food, it makes sense that they often develop unhealthy eating habits.

    edit: ha, I guess my avatar matches up perfectly with this post

  5. #5
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    Food is absolutely fuel; anybody who thinks otherwise is delusional.

    It's not just fuel.

  6. #6
    Theta Male Julius_Van_Der_Beak's Avatar
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    Also, your body digests carbohydrates and proteins at a different rate. Proteins take much longer to digest. This is why you can eat a huge steak and still feel hungry.... that stuff takes time to breakdown. Rice and pasta act much quicker.... they only take around 30 minutes, IIRC correctly.
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  7. #7
    Emperor/Dictator kyuuei's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 93JC View Post
    Food is absolutely fuel; anybody who thinks otherwise is delusional.

    It's not just fuel.
    I think the driving point is that food does not equal fuel in the sense that any food will give you everything you need to run. You go to any gas station, and put gas in, and the car runs. You put any edible thing in your body, and it will not just run the same. The energy portion of it is only a part of why we really need food in the first place. People think they get the calories, or lack thereof, they need and everything will be fine. It really doesn't work like that. There is no E to F gauge.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by kyuuei View Post
    I think the driving point is that food does not equal fuel in the sense that any food will give you everything you need to run. You go to any gas station, and put gas in, and the car runs. You put any edible thing in your body, and it will not just run the same. The energy portion of it is only a part of why we really need food in the first place. People think they get the calories, or lack thereof, they need and everything will be fine. It really doesn't work like that. There is no E to F gauge.
    I see your point, which is why I said "It's not just fuel."

    However, your analogy is flawed. A car needs much more than fuel in order to operate. It needs oil, it needs coolant and it needs air. Air in particular: a car's engine absolutely would not operate without air.

  9. #9
    Emperor/Dictator kyuuei's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 93JC View Post
    I see your point, which is why I said "It's not just fuel."

    However, your analogy is flawed. A car needs much more than fuel in order to operate. It needs oil, it needs coolant and it needs air. Air in particular: a car's engine absolutely would not operate without air.
    Touche my good sir!
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  10. #10
    Seriously Delirious Udog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MetalMoon View Post
    I believe the focus should be on maximising wholesome, nutritional foods, and not feeling guilt if you "cheat."
    This is pretty close to where I stand as well. Still gathering my thoughts on this, though.

    Quote Originally Posted by elemenop View Post
    I think this is especially interesting. It seems like there's often an unhealthy focus on the action of eating, rather than the context (social, interpersonal, cultural contexts) that eating occurs in. Holidays like Thanksgiving are an exception, since food is part of a broader activity; it's only one component of the Fun. I imagine that lots of people make a habit of grabbing a drive-through meal after work/school, and then eating it before/during the long commute home (at least, that's what I did in back in high school). All the enjoyment of the meal comes from the food itself; everything else is depressing. When peoples' sense of "fun" only stems from eating, instead of social events/activities surrounding food, it makes sense that they often develop unhealthy eating habits.
    @bolded: Do you think we are even focusing on the action of the eating, though? Seems to me we are barely paying attention to the food, which might be part of why we need more intensely flavored foods (lots of sugar and salt). Our food has to "shout" to be heard over the noise of driving, surfing the web, doing work, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by msg_v2 View Post
    This is why you can eat a huge steak and still feel hungry.... that stuff takes time to breakdown.
    The trick is to eat the huge steak slowly. There's a lot that goes into the feeling of satiation, and it usually takes 20 minutes or so for it to kick in. On the plus side, a huge steak will help you feel full far longer than the pasta.

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