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Fugu: the dangers of eating this fish

Fugu is a very particular fish, mainly known in Japan. One of its specificities is its strong toxicity. Even if this fish is recognized as a rare, luxurious and exceptional food, its consumption can lead to several consequences and even cause the death of the individual who just ate it. The dangers of eating this fish are therefore important and indisputable. However, some Japanese restaurants have made it their specialty. So, is fugu a luxury product or a deadly fish?

The characteristics of fugu


The fugu is a fish present in all types of water and more particularly in those of the Pacific. It is moreover in Japan that it is the most present, fished, consumed and known.


It is not a specific fish. In fact, the fugu is a generic name. There are 7 genera and more than 50 different species. They present different particularities.

The first particularity 

These fishes are Tetraodontidae, that means "4 teeth" and contrary to the other fishes which have two profiles with an eye on each side, the fugu has one face, with two eyes. The fugu looks more like a human than other fish. Their silhouette, distinct from other fish, is quite particular and recognizable. They have a big head with a face, very big eyeballs, small fins and a very small body. Their skin is flaccid and their body is covered with spines which can be visible for some or retractable for others depending on the species.

The second particularity 

They have the capacity to swell, thanks to this particular skin. This is their defense mechanism. In case of danger, they swallow water and swell until they become round. They can take 3 times their size. It is because of this particularity that they are nicknamed "globe fish" or "balloon fish".

The third particularity

The last, but not least, specificity of this fish is its toxicity. The fugu is a venomous fish and therefore dangerous. They contain tetrodotoxin which is a toxin with important consequences, which can go until death.  

The dangers of this fish


The preparation and consumption of fugu is very strictly regulated because if it is not properly prepared, the consumption of fugu can be very dangerous and deadly. It is the tetrodotoxin which constitutes the poison of this fish. It is a neurotoxin which is mainly found in the liver but also on the skin of the fish, the ovaries for the females or in the intestines.

What are the consequences?

The consequences of eating this fish are extremely serious and rapid. First of all, when in contact with the poison, the tongue becomes numb and then the lips and the mouth swell up completely. Then, this neurotoxic attacks the nervous system. It can then lead to paralysis and respiratory distress, resulting in death in only 6 to 8 hours.

No treatment or antidote exists.

A very supervised preparation


It is estimated that about a hundred people die each year in Japan after eating a badly prepared fugu. In order to avoid poisoning, a very strict legislation regulates the preparation, consumption and sale of this fish. Only fugu prepared by recognized and certified specialists can be sold and consumed. These cooks must have undergone several years of training ranging from 3 to 5 years. After that, they obtain a state certificate and can open a specific restaurant for fugu dishes.

How is it prepared?

The preparation consists in cutting the fish still alive, removing and avoiding piercing the liver or the reproductive organs, where the poison is. To do this, the chefs must use a special knife called the "fugu hiki" so that it is only used for this preparation. Because of these constraints, fugu is not exported or only very little.

There are about 4,000 fugu restaurants throughout Japan. It can be eaten raw, in sashimi, in stew, pan-fried, fried or simply boiled.

Properties of tetrodotoxin


Tetrodotoxin and its derivatives are widely distributed in both marine and terrestrial living organisms. Its structure was discovered and isolated in the 1960s. Its chemical formula is C 11 H 17 N 3 O 8. The lethal oral dose for an adult would be estimated between 0.5 and 1.5 mg. 

History of fugu


The consumption of fugu is very old. All the people around the Pacific know the fugu. For thousands of years, this fish has been caught because it is abundant. It has therefore necessarily been tasted and has led to death. The populations have tried to understand where this death came from and to adjust the preparation to be able to consume it and make it an exceptional product. 

Galactose, a mixture of lactose and glucose

Galactose is a sugar found in milk and dairy products. It enters the composition of lactose with glucose. When associated with mannose, it also forms gums used in industry (guar gum or carob gum for example).

Characteristics of galactose :
  • Same chemical formula as glucose
  • Its sweetening power is much lower than that of glucose
  • Lactose is composed of galactose and glucose
  • Contained in dairy products and in some plants
  • Galactosemia is an intolerance to galactose

Why eat foods rich in galactose?

Galactose: definition and benefits

Sweetening power

Galactose has a lower sweetening power than glucose, which means that a large amount of galactose must be used to obtain the sweetness of glucose.

Structural role

Galactose helps build the body's nerve tissue.

Galactose vs. glucose

Galactose has the same chemical formula as glucose, only the position of one of its -OH functions changes. As a result, galactose is transformed quite slowly into glucose by the liver and therefore allows a much slower release of energy than with glucose. Moreover, the sweetness of glucose is much higher than that of galactose.

20 foods rich in galactose

Galactose is mainly found in honey, certain vegetables and in dairy products, and is present in trace amounts in products containing milk.

Food
  • Honey
  • Cooked celery
  • Beet
  • Walnuts
  • Canned corn
  • Pasta
  • Pretzels
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Mozzarella
  • Plum
  • Dried fig
  • Egg
  • Avocado
  • Spinach
  • Melon
  • Peach
  • Milk
  • Egg custard
  • Milk pudding

How to use galactose ?

Use of galactose

To date, there are no nutritional recommendations concerning the consumption of galactose. We simply consider that a varied and balanced diet provides what is needed. There are no dietary supplements made from galactose either, as there is no proven benefit to supplementation.

Undesirable effects of galactose

Galactosemia or galactose intolerance

In rare cases, galactose intolerance may occur, which can lead to liver problems and growth disorders. In such cases, a galactose-free diet is prescribed.

Consequences of galactose deficiency or excess

There is no scientific literature on problems related to galactose deficiency or excess. A varied and balanced diet largely prevents all possible disorders related to an excess or a deficiency of galactose.

Chemical properties


The formula of galactose is C6H12O6, its molar mass is 180.1559. Galactose is a 6-carbon ose, which is called a hexose.

The cyclic form of galactose is a pyran form. It is an epimer of glucose, their structures are extremely close and differ by the position of the -OH function on the fourth carbon.

Galactose enters the composition of lactose with glucose, its hydrolysis is thus possible by the enzyme lactase which thus releases a molecule of glucose and one of galactose.

History

History of the nutrient

Combined with mannose, galactose forms polyosides that are found naturally in vegetable gums: guar gum, carob gum, tara gum. More and more, these gums are used by the food industry to thicken and add texture to food products.

Glucosides: definition, benefits and side effects

Carbohydrates are one of the essential nutrients for the proper functioning of our body. They are much more important than proteins and fats because they must cover half of our daily energy needs. They are classified in different groups:

Bones: they are also called monosaccharides. They are simple sugars, alone. Oses are not hydrolyzable.

Osides: these are carbohydrates composed of two or more oses and are decomposable by hydrolysis. The osides can be divided into two groups:
  • The holosides, which are substances only carbohydrate whose hydrolysis releases only oses ie sugars,
  • Heterosides, also called glycosides, are made up of carbohydrates and a non-carbohydrate compound. There are several kinds of carbohydrates. When the carbohydrate in question is glucose, it is then a glucoside.

Glucosides: what are they?


A glucoside is a substance of plant origin. It is indeed present in many plants. It is a molecule known as a heteroside.

Heterosides" or "glycosides" are natural compounds made up of one or more oses (sugars) linked to a molecule known as an aglycone, i.e. not a carbohydrate. When the ose in question is a glucose molecule, this heteroside is a glucoside. One should not confuse a glycoside and a glucoside, the latter being a glycoside (i.e. a heteroside molecule) whose carbohydrate is glucose.

The glucose and the other molecule of non-carbohydrate origin are joined by a bond called glycosidic. The hydrolysis of these heterosides gives back the ose on one side and the aglycone part on the other.

Examples of glycosides and their impact on the body


There is a multitude of glucosides. The best known found in the food are :

Aloin

Aloin is a glucoside that is one of the main constituents of the sap of aloe vera where it is located under the bark of the leaves. This compound is also found in rhubarb leaves. Its consumption can have a real impact on the body:
  • On the one hand, it is a very powerful purgative. Indeed, this molecule contains digestive properties by supporting the gastric function, the evacuation of the bile but it also has a strong laxative capacity;
  • On the other hand, this compound is also very irritating and can cause certain allergic reactions.

Quercetin

Quercetin is a flavonoid. It is a pigment that gives color to fruits, vegetables or flowers. It is found in red fruits, onions, capers, chocolate and broccoli. Quercetin is the name of the non-carbohydrate molecule. This molecule can be linked to several carbohydrates to form a heteroside. When it binds to glucose, it is a glucoside called isoquercitroside. This compound has:
  • Antioxidant properties;
  • A role of protection of the skin and mucous membranes against the harmful effects of free radicals;
  • And a diuretic power.

Catechin

Catechins are polyphenols that belong to the flavonoid family. They are found in many plants, in tea, chocolate, cocoa, wine and in some fruits. When this compound binds to a glucose molecule it is a catechin-7-O-glucoside. These compounds are especially known for their antioxidant properties.

Sinigroside

This is a sulfur heteroside found in certain plants, in Brussels sprouts, broccoli or mustard seeds. This molecule generally improves blood circulation and soothes pain in cases of major inflammation.

Recommendation


Glucosides, present almost everywhere in the plant world and therefore in our food, contain many benefits for the good balance of our body. However, some of them can also have side effects.

Some can be found in certain food supplements. It is important to ask a professional for advice before taking certain products containing glucosides, such as aloe vera, for example.

What are carbohydrates?

A carbohydrate is a class of organic compounds. There are two types of carbohydrates: simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates include glucose, fructose and galactose, which in turn can form sucrose (= table sugar), lactose or maltose. Complex carbohydrates include starch, glycogen and fiber.

Characteristics of carbohydrates :
  • Preferred energy substrates of cells
  • We distinguish between simple and complex carbohydrates
  • Stored in the body in the form of glycogen
  • They are mainly found in sweet products, starchy foods and fruits
  • An excess of carbohydrates can lead to hyperinsulinism and type 2 diabetes in the long term

Why eat carbohydrate-rich foods?

Carbohydrates: definition and benefits

Energy role

The main role of carbohydrates is to provide energy to the cells of the human body (1g of carbohydrates provides 4 calories). When we eat them, they are converted more or less quickly into glucose, which is the fuel for certain cells in the body. This is the case for brain cells. Note that glucose is the exclusive fuel of the brain, which needs about 140 g per day.

Appetite regulation

Complex carbohydrates, especially fiber, play an important role in regulating appetite. They allow you to feel fuller more quickly and to be satisfied for longer. They are therefore essential to a balanced diet.

Hyperglycemic agents

All carbohydrates have their own hyperglycemic power, glucose being one of the highest. Simple sugars, more quickly assimilated, allow to quickly raise the glycemia and to sweeten the body. This characteristic is particularly appreciated and used in high level sportsmen or in diabetics in case of hypoglycemia.

Promotes a good sleep

The assimilation of carbohydrates induces an increase in the availability of tryptophan in the body. Tryptophan is an amino acid that is a precursor of serotonin and melatonin, among other things. These two substances have a positive effect on sleep.

Glycogen stockpiling

Glucose is either used immediately by the body, as it constantly needs energy, or stored as glycogen in the liver and muscles for later use. This is why athletes, before a competition, try to increase their glycogen reserves by eating foods rich in carbohydrates.

What is the difference between carbohydrate and sugar?

A simple sugar is the smallest member of the carbohydrate family. It is responsible for the sweetness of food. Fructose, galactose and glucose are composed of a single molecule. When combined, they form more complex molecules. For example, sucrose (white sugar) contains fructose and glucose and lactose (milk sugar) contains galactose and glucose.

Carbohydrate-rich foods

The main sources of carbohydrates are grain products, fruits, certain vegetables and legumes. In general:
  • 1 serving of grain products contains: 15 g of carbohydrates
  • 1 serving of fruit contains: 15 g of carbohydrates
  • 1 serving of vegetables contains: 5 g of carbohydrates
  • 1 serving of dairy products provides: 12 to 15 g of carbohydrates
  • 1 serving of legumes provides: 15 g of carbohydrates
  • 1 serving of added sugar contains: 15 g of carbohydrates
Here are the details of the carbohydrate content of certain foods:
               
  • Pasta, cooked
  • Bagel
  • Soft drink, cola type
  • Rice, cooked
  • English muffin
  • Corn on the cob
  • Sweet potato, mashed
  • Chickpeas, cooked
  • Oatmeal, prepared
  • Chocolate soy beverage
  • Yogurt, fruit on the bottom
  • Bread
  • Crackers
  • Quinoa, cooked
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Winter squash, cooked, cubed
  • Parsnips
  • Green peas
  • Potatoes, cooked
  • Cooked beans
  • Lentils, cooked
  • Pineapples
  • Cherries
  • Clementine
  • Dried dates
  • Strawberries, blackberries
  • Orange juice
  • Chocolate chip cookies
  • Jam, honey, maple syrup
  • Skim, 1%, 2%, whole milk
  • Fresh, frozen, canned vegetables
  • Vegetable juice
  • Leafy vegetables (lettuce, spinach)
It should be noted that these foods have been classified only according to the amount of carbohydrates. It is therefore important to understand that the type of carbohydrates and the amount of fiber can vary from one food to another.

The different types of carbohydrates

Intrinsic simple sugars occur naturally in foods, such as fructose in fruit and lactose in milk. Added or extrinsic simple sugars are added to foods and beverages by manufacturers, cooks or consumers themselves: white or brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, fruit juice concentrate, corn syrup, glucose, etc.

Simple sugars provide four calories per gram. Whether intrinsic or extrinsic, purified or not, refined or not, all of them, with the exception of fructose, have the same effect on blood sugar levels by making them rise rapidly: they have a high glycemic index. To learn more about the glycemic index, see our text on this subject.

Used by the World Health Organization, the term "free sugars" includes added sugars AND sugars in fruit juices. Note that this classification is specific to the WHO and that most public health authorities do not make this amalgam (see box below).

Starch is a complex carbohydrate because it is made up of a chain of sugars. It is found in potatoes, some vegetables, bread, pasta and cereals. Starch also provides four calories per gram. It does not taste sweet. It is absorbed more slowly than simple carbohydrates and therefore does not raise blood sugar levels as quickly: its glycemic index is lower than that of simple sugars. To learn more about the glycemic index, see our text on this subject.

Fiber is also a complex carbohydrate. In fact, since it is made up of a very complex chain of sugars, it is not absorbed by the body. Therefore, they do not provide calories. Moreover, they slow down the absorption of other carbohydrates: this is why eating a piece of fruit does not raise blood sugar levels as quickly as drinking fruit juice. Only plant-based foods provide fiber: whole grains, fruits and vegetables, etc. They do not taste sweet.

How to use carbohydrates properly?

Use of carbohydrates

How many carbohydrates should I consume per day?

Carbohydrate requirements are based on the average minimum amount used by the brain. There is no maximum tolerable intake of carbohydrates because the scientific data are insufficient. However, it is recommended to limit the intake of added sugars to less than 15g per day because beyond this amount, individuals tend to consume less essential nutrients. Moreover, the consumption of added sugar promotes overweight and civilization diseases such as diabetes. Soft drinks, sweets, cakes, cookies, fruit drinks, sweetened dairy products and breakfast cereals are the primary sources of added sugars in the population.

Low-carb diet

The glycemic index (GI) is a scale that ranks carbohydrate-rich foods according to how much they raise blood sugar levels compared to a reference food, such as glucose or white bread. The higher the index, the more sugar in the blood that is consumed. There are many benefits to eating foods with a low glycemic index, including control of blood sugar and blood cholesterol levels, appetite control and reduced cardiovascular risk. Low glycemic index diets have also been shown to have better weight loss success rates than low-fat diets.

What are low carbohydrate foods?

Low carbohydrate foods include green vegetables, lean meats and fish, dairy products, oilseeds and vegetable oils. In general, all non-industrial preparations control the amount of added carbohydrates and are therefore generally healthier.

Adverse effects of carbohydrates

Carbohydrate deficiency

A very low carbohydrate diet (below the minimum amount required for the brain) can lead to increased ketone production and therefore loss of bone mineral density, high cholesterol, increased risk of urinary stones and even affect the development and function of the nervous system. Very low carbohydrate intakes can also alter the feeling of well-being (malaise, fatigue).

Excessive carbohydrates

Excessive carbohydrate intake (especially refined sugars) has been shown to increase the risk of dental caries, certain types of cancer, overweight and obesity, and high blood triglyceride levels. In the long term, excess sugar can cause hyperinsulinism and then type 2 diabetes.

Interactions with other nutrients


Many factors influence the rate of absorption of carbohydrates and therefore the glycemic index of foods. For example, the presence of protein, fat or fiber in the food reduces the rate of absorption of the sugar it contains. Similarly, preparation methods or cooking have an influence on the glycemic index.

Chemical properties


The term carbohydrate refers to a class of organic compounds that differ from others in their structure. Carbohydrates contain a ketone or aldehyde carbonyl group and at least two -OH functions. Their chemical formulas are all derived from the formula Cn(H2O)n.

In the body, they play a major role in energy and energy storage. Indeed, in plants they are stored as starch and in animals as glycogen.

History

History of the nutrient

Sugar, for a long time reserved for certain privileged people, saw its consumption explode in the 19th century. Indeed, the consumption of sugar in the world was multiplied by 8, we consume today nearly 35 kg per year and per capita. Faced with this sugar boom, many scientific studies have emerged and firmly demonstrated the dangers of sugar on health. In recent years, we have seen the emergence of new sweeteners that aim to keep the pleasure of sugar without having the disadvantages: aspartame, stevia, etc.

Glutathione: everything you need to know about this antioxidant

Antioxidants" are a group of nutrients found in our food. They help to protect the cells of our body from the effect of free radicals. Free radicals are molecules that are naturally produced in our body's cells. Their production can be increased by certain factors (pollution, tobacco or UV rays). The excess can cause premature aging of cells and promote the development of certain diseases. Antioxidants are therefore essential.

Glutathione is a rather unknown compound but sometimes considered as the king of antioxidants. It is a protein naturally produced by the body, which plays a key role in the functioning of the body. Focus on this antioxidant.

What are its benefits?

Antioxidant property

Glutathione is often presented as the most important antioxidant. It has a very powerful capacity to fight against the damage of oxidative stress which is at the origin of many cellular damages. It can also stimulate other defense processes. It acts as a cofactor of antioxidant enzymes and can promote the activity of other antioxidants. Indeed, it participates in the transformation of the oxidized form of ascorbic acid into vitamin C and stimulates the antioxidant power. It also participates in restoring the antioxidant action of vitamin E.

In short, it traps harmful agents and contributes to the protection of the body.

Detoxification property of the body

It plays a major role in the defense of the body by participating in the elimination of many waste and toxic compounds. It promotes the elimination of pollutants via the bile or urine. It avoids their accumulation and thus reduces deleterious reactions.

For example, glutathione is used in the evacuation of mercury from cells and the brain. In the liver, it limits the accumulation of toxins. Glutathione is therefore useful during heavy metal intoxications, medication, liver diseases or altered lifestyle (tobacco, alcohol, drugs or other).

Anti-aging and pathology prevention properties

It contributes to fight against premature aging and prevents certain pathologies or their complications as it is the case for diabetes, atherosclerosis, cholesterol or cataract problems or other complications related to the eyes.

It also has a powerful role in the nervous system. It prevents degenerative nerve diseases and the appearance of certain mental disorders such as dementia or schizophrenia.

Guide for use


The lack of glutathione is involved in the occurrence of various pathologies. If it were to be lacking, the body could no longer eliminate waste and its general balance would be strongly altered. A sufficient contribution is thus recommended.

Where to find it ?

Glutathione is not found directly in food. However, certain foods provide the 3 amino acids that make it up. By consuming them, they will then be released during the digestion of proteins. For a good contribution, it is advised to consume fruits and vegetables every day by favoring :
  • asparagus ;
  • broccoli
  • cabbage
  • spinach
  • cauliflower
  • Brussels sprouts;
  • Mushrooms;
  • avocado
  • Raspberries;
  • grapefruit;
  • apples;
  • oranges;
  • peaches;
  • bananas.
It can also be found as a dietary supplement with reduced glutathione (GSH) or by taking precursors like glutamine.

The needs

Glutathione reserves decrease progressively with age and drop sharply from the age of 50. Factors such as high physical activity or certain pathologies can accelerate the decrease.

A supplementation can be made from that moment on. It is recommended to take 300 mg of reduced glutathione for prevention and 600 mg if a pathology appears.

The most important thing before supplementing is to ask your doctor for advice.

Interaction


Vitamin C increases its absorption and its effects. It is interesting to associate it with glutathione. Some trace elements can reinforce its protective role, such as glutamine, zinc, copper, manganese, iron and selenium. To limit the loss of glutathione, it is also recommended to have a good balanced and varied diet which includes all the food families and to have a regular adapted physical activity.

Chemical property


Glutathione is a tripeptide, composed of three amino acids: glutamate, cysteine and glycine. It is involved in the transport of hydrogen. It exists in two forms:
  • Reduced (GSH);
  • Oxidized (GSSG).
These two forms balance each other.

History


Glutathione is believed to have been discovered in 1888 precisely, but scientists became really interested in its benefits around 1970.

Glucose: all about the essential carbohydrate

Glucose is a simple sugar (carbohydrate) stored in our body in the form of glycogen that can be mobilized at any time to meet the demand of the cell concerned: it is the fuel of our body. Glucose is transported in the blood, the quantity of glucose in the blood can be measured with a blood glucose measurement. A hormone called insulin is responsible for maintaining a constant level of glucose in the blood.

Characteristics of glucose:
  • An essential carbohydrate that serves as an energy substrate for many cells in the body
  • Blood glucose is the amount of glucose in the blood
  • Too much glucose can lead to glucose intolerance and then type 2 diabetes in the long term
  • A lack of glucose in the body can lead to hypoglycemia of varying degrees of severity
  • The consumption of glucose syrup present in industrial foods should be limited

Why eat foods rich in glucose?

Glucose: definition and benefits

Energetic

It is the first source of energy of the body, it is used by all the cells, in particular the cerebral cells.

Cellular constituent

Glucose is also an essential element in the composition of macromolecules containing sugars such as glycoproteins.

Foods rich in glucose

Glucose is found associated with other molecules in many dietary carbohydrates (starch, lactose, sucrose...). By breaking down these carbohydrates, the body obtains glucose which it will then use for all the cells in the body.

Glucose is therefore found in all carbohydrate-rich foods (starchy foods, fruits, sweets, etc.). It can also be manufactured by the body.

How to use glucose ?

Use of glucose syrup

For information, glucose syrup is composed of glucose but also of 55% fructose. It is also called glucose-fructose syrup or corn syrup.

Is corn syrup dangerous for health ?

Glucose syrup has been used massively by the food industry for several decades. Its many practical advantages make it a food of choice: it keeps for a long time, is easy to use, is inexpensive and makes food preparations more addictive. Consumed in excess, this mixture of glucose and fructose would be very harmful to health. Fructose in high doses would indeed cause a rapid increase in triglycerides and blood cholesterol. It would thus promote overweight, liver pathologies and cardiovascular diseases.

What to replace glucose syrup with?


It is recommended to avoid the overconsumption of industrial products containing glucose syrup. Making homemade pastries by replacing sugar with honey, coconut sugar or sugar-free fruit puree can be a good alternative. In any case, the best solution is to read the labels of industrial products carefully and to favour home cooking.

Adverse effects of glucose

Glucose requirements are not determined, but it is recommended that 50-55% of the day's total calories be consumed as carbohydrates.

Consequences of glucose deficiency

If the level of glucose in the blood is too low (blood sugar below 0.60g/L), this is called hypoglycemia. It can be characterized by malaise, headaches, tremors or significant asthenia.

Hypoglycemia can be due to a pathology such as diabetes or following a significant physical or mental effort not associated with an adequate food intake.

Consequences of excess glucose

In the case of excess glucose in the blood (blood glucose level above 1.26g/L on an empty stomach), this is called hyperglycemia. Common symptoms of hyperglycemia are intense thirst, irritability or a strong urge to urinate. Like hypoglycemia, hyperglycemia can be a sign of diabetes.

Case of glucose intolerance

Glucose intolerance (or pre-diabetes) occurs when the body has difficulty regulating the amount of glucose in the blood. In glucose intolerance, insulin is no longer being produced in sufficient quantities to regulate blood glucose levels. People with impaired glucose tolerance are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. They are advised to consult their doctor for treatment and to adopt a balanced and healthy diet.

What to replace glucose-rich foods with in case of intolerance?

In case of glucose intolerance, or pre-diabetes, it is recommended to limit the consumption of products rich in glucose that can induce a sudden rise in blood sugar levels and worsen the situation. Traditional sweets, pastries and starches can be replaced by fruit-based desserts, honey and whole-grain starches. All these products have a lower glycemic index and will have a much lower influence on blood sugar levels, especially if they are eaten with meals.

Interactions with other nutrients


The presence of fiber, protein and fat in a food can significantly reduce the rate of glucose absorption and therefore the rise in blood sugar. It is strongly advised to integrate carbohydrates into complete meals rich in fiber and nutrients to avoid the risks of hyperglycemia, glucose intolerance and diabetes in the long term.

Chemical properties


The raw formula of glucose is C6H1206, it is an ose and more precisely an aldohexose very soluble in water. Indeed, it contains an aldehyde function and six carbon atoms. The molar mass of glucose is 180.1559 g/mol. Its D isomer is the most common in the environment and in living organisms. Glucose is the main source of energy for living cells. Plants store it as starch and animals as glycogen. Glucose is carried in the blood, the more it is present in the blood, the higher the blood sugar level.

History

History of the nutrient

The name glucose was given in 1838 by the Academy of Sciences to the sugar found in honey, starch and grapes. The word glucose means "sweet wine" in Greek. Later in 1894, the chemist Fischer established the structure of all the sugars, including that of glucose, which earned him the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

Much studied by science, glucose is an ose without which we could not live. It is indeed the preferential energy substrate of the cells, and in particular those of our brain.

Glucose-fructose syrup was discovered and has been used for over a century by the food industry. Its consumption worldwide is constantly increasing, leading to new questions and public health issues.

Glycation: why do glycated proteins accelerate aging?

Aging is an inevitable natural process during which many changes occur. The skin may wrinkle, the joints may become less flexible, fatigue may increase or eyesight may diminish. Over time, we can become more vulnerable in all areas. In addition to the normal development of this process, glycation is a chemical reaction that accelerates the aging process. But can we reduce this phenomenon naturally? To understand why glycated proteins accelerate aging, let's clarify the mechanism of glycation.

What is glycation?


Glycation is a chemical reaction that comes from the fixation of sugars (carbohydrates) on proteins. This reaction produces glycated proteins. This phenomenon is better known under the name of "Maillard Reaction". It is a natural reaction that occurs in living organisms, during aging for example, but also in foods, during their cooking at high temperature. Once produced, the reaction is irreversible. Indeed, these glycated proteins are quite harmful to the body because they can neither be destroyed nor released by the body.

What is the link with aging?


Collagen, an essential component of the skin, is one of the proteins most affected by glycation. It is a protein naturally produced by certain cells in the human body and its main role is to ensure cell cohesion to maintain tissue resistance. Over time, glycated proteins accumulate in our cells and eventually destroy the skin's support mat. In fact, the sugar that binds to the collagen and elastin will gradually make them more rigid. These proteins can end up breaking. The skin then gradually loses its elasticity and tone. On the surface, wrinkles appear, can deepen and dry out the skin.

Collagen is a protein that is present almost everywhere in the body: in the skin, but also in cartilage, bones, certain organs and in the walls of blood vessels. The consequences of glycation do not stop at the skin. When glycated proteins bind to the collagen in the joints, the joints become stiffer and osteoarthritis can occur more easily. When the collagen in the arteries is affected, the arteries become rigid and this greatly increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. They can also play a role in the development of cataracts by attaching themselves to the proteins of the lens, the crystalline.

Glycated proteins accelerate the aging process because they block the work of different proteins in the body. They therefore allow the effects of aging to develop more quickly, whether they are physical and visible or pathological and invisible. Glycation is therefore directly or more indirectly involved in the aging process and affects the entire body.

How to limit this process?


Fortunately, there are several solutions to reduce the formation of glycation products and therefore their impact. And this is mainly through our food, our fuel.

Glycation, which is caused by the binding of sugar to proteins, can be reduced by controlling our sugar intake, especially fast sugars, i.e. simple carbohydrates. A reduced consumption of sugar will then reduce the production of glycated proteins by our own cells. It is therefore important to limit the consumption of anything that can raise blood sugar levels very quickly, especially sweet products such as
  • cookies
  • ice cream
  • sodas
  • candy
  • cream desserts
  • etc.
Slow sugars (complex carbohydrates) also play a role because they have an impact on blood sugar levels. Preferring whole grain starchy foods that have a lower glycemic index will also reduce the effects of glycation.

Certain cooking methods at very high temperatures, such as grilling or very long cooking times, promote the Maillard reaction. This reaction is visible and results in a browning of the food. These foods then become rich in glycation products. Preferring low temperature cooking such as steaming will limit this phenomenon. Eating raw foods such as fruits and vegetables also helps to limit glycation products because they are rich in antioxidants, which help the body not to produce glycated molecules.

In summary, it is important to have a good, complete, varied and balanced diet with good cooking methods and a moderate amount of sugar and industrial products.

Good hydration is also important. Water helps to stimulate collagen fibers and skin elasticity.

History


It was the French chemist Louis-Camille Maillard who discovered that the mixture of sugars and proteins reacted and produced a browning when heated at high temperatures. Various scientists then continued to study this reaction. It was then the discovery of glycated hemoglobin that made it possible to discover that the Maillard reaction also took place in the body. The interest in this reaction has grown in recent years and glycation is still of interest to many scientists around the world.

Glycine: an important amino acid

Glycine is a non-essential amino acid and proteinogen. This amino acid contributes to many metabolisms in the body and is also found in food in natural form or as a food additive (E640).

Characteristics of glycine:
  • Non-essential amino acid that has the simplest structure
  • Has many metabolic roles (neuromediators, detoxifier, component of hemoglobin, etc.)
  • Found mostly in animal products
  • Flavor enhancer used by industrialists (E640)
  • As a dietary supplement, glycine helps promote sleep and good muscle recovery

Why eat foods rich in glycine?

Benefits and roles of glycine in the body

Neurotransmitter

Glycine has a neurotransmitter function and acts as an inhibitor in the spinal cord.

Helps in muscle recovery

It plays a role in the metabolism of creatine, glycine is therefore involved in muscle recovery.

Anti-oxidant

It acts positively on anti-oxidant enzymes and will therefore participate in the slowing down of cellular aging.

Detoxifying

Glycine has a detoxifying effect on the liver since it participates in the synthesis of bile acids.

Promotes quality sleep

Glycine is also involved at the brain level where it acts as a soothing neuromediator and promotes sleep.

20 foods rich in glycine

Glycine has a sweet taste and is therefore used as a food additive to improve the taste of certain sweeteners. It is naturally found in many meats and fish but also in soy derivatives.

Food
  • Turkey
  • Sesame flour
  • Pork shank
  • Dried smelt
  • Spirulina
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Dehydrated cod
  • Bacon
  • Beef steak (walnut)
  • Almond powder
  • Veal liver
  • Cuttlefish
  • Tofu
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Chicken
  • Wheat germ
  • Veal chop
  • Chorizo
  • Salami

How to use glycine as a dietary supplement?

Use of glycine

It is recommended to take 500 to 2000mg of glycine per day. However, this amino acid can be synthesized by the body, so it is not an essential amino acid.

Glycine in food supplement: advice and dosage

Glycine in dietary supplements has proven its effectiveness on many levels. It is often used in sports to improve recovery, but also to promote sleep or to help the liver in its purification functions. In these respects, it is recommended to take 500 to 1000mg of glycine in free form per day.

Side effects of glycine

Consequences of glycine deficiency

In the case of a significant glycine deficiency, hypoglycemia, pituitary dysfunction and muscular dystrophy may occur.

Consequences of an excess of glycine

There are no studies to date demonstrating the effects of excess glycine in the body.

Interactions with mental disorders


Since glycine is a neuromediator in the brain, it can interact with treatments prescribed to treat mental disorders such as schizophrenia or paranoia. Medical advice should be sought before self-medicating with glycine.

Chemical properties


The gross formula of glycine is C2H5NO2, its molar mass is 75.0666 g/mol. Glycine is a proteinogenic amino acid. It is the simplest of the amino acids, it has no asymmetry in its carbon atoms.

Because of its small size and simplicity, glycine is found everywhere in the body and has many roles. It acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain, but it is also a precursor of porphyrins, creatinine and uric acid. Moreover, glycine allows the synthesis of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter essential to the body. It also enters in the constitution of the hemoglobin and the bile acids.

History

History of the nutrient

Glycine was first isolated in 1820. Its Greek name literally means "sweet taste". An amino acid with many metabolic roles, it is used today by the food industry as a flavor enhancer (E640). 

Histamine: which foods to choose or avoid?

Histamine is widely implicated in allergic symptoms and sometimes poorly tolerated when it is provided by food, yet it is an essential molecule for the body. How to diagnose an intolerance? Which foods should be avoided? Answers from Dr Julien Cottet, allergist.

What is histamine?


Histamine is a biogenic amine, manufactured by our own cells from an amino acid called histidine. "It is a mediator between different cells and systems and is essential for the proper functioning of our body," explains Dr. Cottet.

It is stored by our immune cells, which explains why it is involved in allergic reactions. Histamine is also found in many foods, and some people may not tolerate it well if they eat more or less of it. Excess histamine is broken down by an enzyme called diamine oxidase (DAO).

What is its role in the body?


Histamine is a messenger, transmitting stimuli to ensure the proper functioning of the immune, nervous and bone systems. "It is essential to our body, but in small doses. Without it, we would not be able to fight microbes, we would not regulate gastric acidity properly and therefore we would not digest properly. It also allows us to stay awake" describes Dr. Cottet. But in too high a dose, either by excess production by our body, or by ingesting too much, it can be deleterious.

Histamine intolerance


Some people have difficulty tolerating the histamine present in food, and develop intolerance reactions very similar to traditional allergic reactions. So where does this intolerance come from?

"It would seem that some people are unable to break down all the histamine they ingest, due to a deficiency in the DAO, or due to chronic intestinal disease, which causes an accumulation of histamine in the body," explains the specialist. This overflow of histamine will cause characteristic symptoms, very similar to allergic symptoms. "The histamine released by the cells will induce a reaction: on the veins (vasodilatation), on the bronchial tubes (bronchoconstriction), on the skin (pruritus and oedema), on the heart (tachycardia), on the nervous system (maintenance of the alert system).

In practice, it is therefore very difficult to distinguish between histamine intolerance and a food allergy to a food containing histamine - such as shellfish for example.

How is histamine intolerance diagnosed?


In case of suspicion of histamine intolerance, the patient should consult his allergist who will ask him about his food habits and propose skin allergy tests to rule out a possible food allergy. This consultation generally allows the diagnosis to be made.

"In digestive intolerance, there is a notion of dose dependence: the higher the dose ingested, the stronger the reaction. In case of a reaction after a large intake of a food rich in histamine, and if the allergic tests are negative, we can conclude that there is an intolerance" summarizes the doctor.

Attention: if allergies can be diagnosed with reliable skin or blood tests recognized by health authorities, this is not the case for food intolerances. There are however tests for histamine intolerance but they are very controversial and not scientifically validated.

"It is important to remember that these non-reimbursed tests are useless, and even aggravate the management of patients and complicate their lives. This is also the case for all IgG4 tests for food intolerances" insists Dr. Cottet.

Which foods are richest in histamine?


Among the foods that contain the most histamine are foods produced by fermentation or maturation. For example, all foods that contain: alcohol, bacteria, yeast or vinegar.

Among the most rich in histamine :
  • cold cuts (sausage, saveloy, salami, cured meats, raw, cooked or smoked ham and sliced meats in general);
  • certain fish (mackerel, tuna, sardines, anchovies, etc., especially when they have been smoked, marinated, salted or dried and canned);
  • fermented cheeses (Emmental, Parmesan, Roquefort, Camembert, etc.)
  • sauerkraut, tomatoes (and its derivatives: tomato juice, tomato sauce, ketchup, spinach, lentils, olives, avocados, eggplant and mushrooms);
  • alcohol (especially wine and beer)
  • chocolate.

What to replace them with?


To limit the consumption of histamine, it is necessary to reduce as much as possible the foods treated by salting, drying or fermentation, and to privilege fresh foods.

Preference should be given to :
  • fresh meat and poultry
  • the freshest possible fish, or frozen fish, preferably white: cod, pollack, hake, etc. ;
  • fresh dairy products (very fresh and not very salty cheeses, cottage cheese, yoghurts, etc.);
  • all vegetables (except those mentioned above).

Carbohydrates: what are these foods for weight loss?

Carbohydrates are important particles in our balance and our diet. Long accused of putting on weight or being linked to obesity or overweight, they actually have a real role in our body and especially for weight loss and weight maintenance. These carbohydrates, or carbohydrates, are present in many of our daily foods.

Carbohydrates under the microscope


Carbohydrate is the sugar molecule. It is the old name given to carbohydrates, of which simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates are distinguished.

Their role on health

Carbohydrates are an essential source of energy. Our needs are very important because they must cover half of our daily energy intake. They have multiple roles:
  • Energy role: 1g of carbohydrate, i.e. carbohydrates, provides 4 calories. When eaten, they are transformed into glucose and form the fuel for certain cells in the body.
  • Role related to blood sugar: they help maintain a stable blood sugar level and avoid hypo- or hyperglycemia.
  • Role on appetite and digestion: complex carbohydrates allow to reach satiety and to be satisfied on the long term. They also allow the maintenance and the good functioning of the gastrointestinal system.
  • Role on sleep: the digestion of carbohydrates releases tryptophan in the body. Tryptophan is an amino acid precursor of serotonin and melatonin, which are substances that have a positive effect on sleep.
  • Role of constitution: some carbohydrates are part of the composition of fundamental tissues of the body such as cartilage, nucleic acids or mucus.
  • Reserve role: part of the glucose present in the blood is stored in the liver and constitutes a "reservoir" of energy easily available to our body in case of need.

Our needs in carbohydrates

Simple carbohydrates
Simple carbohydrates include glucose, fructose and galactose. They can be combined to form sucrose, otherwise known as "table sugar", lactose (milk sugar) or maltose. These carbohydrates are composed of one or two molecules. They can therefore be present naturally in food or added. They provide a sweet taste. This category of carbohydrate is also called fast sugar. They have the effect of increasing blood sugar levels very quickly.

Complex carbohydrates
Complex carbohydrates are made up of a chain of sugars that are more complex than simple carbohydrates. Unlike them, they are absorbed very slowly by the body. They do not have a sweet taste. They are also called slow sugars.

Energy needs
For an individual whose energy needs are about 2000 Kcal/day, the carbohydrate intake must be about 50-55%, i.e. 1000 Kcal on average. This represents 250 g of carbohydrates. These carbohydrates must be mainly provided by slow sugars. Fast sugars can represent a maximum of 5 to 10% or 100 to 200 Kcal which represents about 25 g to 50 g of fast sugars.

When we ingest carbohydrates, they are more or less quickly transformed into glucose, essential fuel for the body's cells. The brain cells need about 140 g of glucose per day. Glucose is either used immediately or it can be stored as glycogen in the liver and muscles for future use.

The consumption of carbohydrates is therefore essential by limiting the intake of simple carbohydrates and favoring a diet rich in complex carbohydrates.

Sources of carbohydrates


Foods that are sources of carbohydrates include

Starchy foods

Pasta, rice, bulgur, quinoa, flour, bread, cereals, potatoes, sweet potatoes, barley, semolina, corn, wheat and also all legumes such as lentils, kidney beans, split peas, beans, chickpeas... This family of foods provides mainly complex carbohydrates. An average portion is 150 g cooked cereals or 40 g raw, 90 g bread or 3 potatoes.

Fruits

They are mainly a source of simple carbohydrates and fructose. It is all a question of equivalence. It is recommended to consume 2 to 3 portions of fruit per day and one portion : 1 apple or 1 pear or 1 peach or 1 orange or 2 kiwis or 2 plums or ¼ of a melon or 2 tangerines or 2 clementines or 1 bowl of red fruit or 3 slices of pineapple or watermelon or 12 mirabelle plums or 10 lychees or ½ grapefruit or 2 to 3 apricots or ½ mango or 1 compote with no added sugar or 1 glass of 100% pure fruit juice or ½ banana or 10 cherries or 12 grapes or 2 figs

Dairy products

Yoghurt, cottage cheese, milk, whey, which naturally contain lactose and therefore quick sugar.

Sweet products

Sugar, chocolate, honey, jam, ice cream, cakes, cookies etc. which contain mostly sucrose, which is also a fast sugar.

The link with weight


Carbohydrates play an important role in the process of maintaining a healthy weight. They simply limit feelings of hunger, cravings, low energy or high fatigue, lack of concentration, sleep problems or other parameters that can prevent reaching and maintaining a healthy weight.

An excess of carbohydrates

Over the course of the day, this excess of carbohydrates can have an adverse effect. If the consumption of carbohydrates, whether slow or fast, is too high in relation to needs and expenditure, the quantity stored will be much higher and not used. This can lead to weight gain, especially body fat. 

A lack of energy

A lack of energy can, contrary to what we think, also lead to weight gain. If the necessary energy is not there, the excess of other nutrients, i.e. lipids and proteins, will be stored to provide the energy necessary for the proper functioning of our body. For a good weight loss, the quantity of carbohydrates consumed is therefore an important parameter. It is important not to eliminate them but not to consume them in excess. It's all about balance.

Each person has different needs. In most cases, it is advisable to consume carbohydrates at every meal and to limit the intake of fruit to 2-3 portions and dairy products to 2-3 per day. This intake covers the need for fast sugars. A professional such as a dietician or a nutritionist can help you know your nutritional needs and how to cover them. 

Chemical properties


Carbohydrates are biomolecules composed of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. Their chemical formulas are all derived from the formula Cn(H2O)n. 

Carbohydrates can be classified as :
  • Simple carbohydrates, i.e. fast sugars comprising monosaccharides and disaccharides;
  • Complex carbohydrates, i.e. slow sugars comprising oligosaccharides and polysaccharides.

Iodine

Description of Iodine


Iodine is a micronutrient that is essential to the functioning of the human body. Indeed, iodine is one of the main components of the thyroid hormones that play a role in the regulation of body temperature, basic metabolism, reproduction, growth, blood cell production, as well as in the development of the nervous system and muscle function.

Iodine is also used externally as a contrast agent in radiological examinations or for its antiseptic and disinfectant properties.

Dietary sources of iodine


Most of the iodine consumed is converted to iodide for absorption in the intestines. Iodate, an additive in table salt, is also converted to iodide and then absorbed. Iodine in the body is mostly managed by the thyroid gland.

Some foods naturally contain iodine such as seafood, fish and some seaweed. Milk and dairy products also contain iodine in varying amounts due to iodine-based disinfectants used during milking. Table salt and sea salt do not naturally contain iodine. Iodization of table salt has been mandatory in Canada for many years and is widely used in many countries such as France and the United States. However, sea salt is not necessarily fortified with iodine. This iodine enrichment of table salt has eliminated iodine deficiency leading to goiter, characterized by the enlargement of the thyroid gland in the neck. Commercial salty foods such as ham, bacon or nuts will also contain iodine. Iodine is also found in some baked goods that contain iodate (dough conditioner).

Food
  • Table salt, iodized
  • Cod, cooked
  • Haddock
  • Cottage cheese
  • Soybeans (soy)
  • Yogurt, plain
  • Milk (whole, 2%, 1%, skim, chocolate)
  • Soda crackers
  • Bread (rye, whole wheat, white)
  • Beans (white, black), cooked
  • Eggs, cooked

Bioavailability


The absorption of iodine by the body is above 90%. However, it has been shown that soybeans inhibit the absorption of iodine. In addition, certain foods known as "goitrogens" are able to inhibit the production and use of thyroid hormones. These foods include cassava, millet, cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower as well as sweet potatoes, peanuts, soybeans, turnips, rutabaga, radishes or mustard greens. Cooking inactivates the goitrogenic effects of these foods.

Iodine deficiency


Iodine deficiency is very rare in North America due to the iodization of table salt. Clinical symptoms of iodine deficiency are related to insufficient production of thyroid hormones and include goiter, mental retardation, hypothyroidism, cretinism (neurological disorders in the fetus), and growth and developmental disorders.

Excess iodine


Most people would be tolerant of high intake from food. However, excessive intake from food, water and supplements can lead to exceeding the Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) and result in thyroiditis, goiter, hypo- or hyperthyroidism, hypersensitivity reactions or thyroid hair cancer.

Lipids : all about lipid metabolism

Even though they have been criticized for many years, lipids or dietary fats are essential for good health. They provide the human body with "essential" fatty acids that cannot be synthesized by the body. Lipids are an important source of energy for the human body.

Characteristics of fats :
  • There are saturated fats and unsaturated fats
  • Omega-3 and 6 are said to be essential because the body cannot produce them
  • Lipids are mainly found in vegetable oils, butter, industrial products, etc.     
  • Constituents of all the cell membranes of the body
  • A deficiency or an excess can have serious consequences

Why eat foods that contain lipids?

Definition of lipids

Some fatty acids are called essential because the body cannot synthesize them. These are the omega-6 (linoleic acid) and omega-3 (alpha-linolenic acid) fatty acids. They play an important role in the cell membranes of the human body. The ratio between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids is very important because an imbalance between these two types of fatty acids can be harmful. For example, omega-6 consumed in excess prevents omega-3 from exerting its beneficial effect at the cardiovascular level.

Monounsaturated fatty acids are not essential fatty acids, but they are a key component of nervous system cells. They are mainly found in olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds.

Saturated fats and trans fats are not essential fatty acids and are even recognized in various studies as having harmful effects on LDL cholesterol levels and cardiovascular risk. They should therefore be limited as much as possible.

Roles of lipids in the body

Energetic

Unlike proteins and carbohydrates, which provide 4 kcal per gram, lipids provide 9 kcal per gram. They therefore contribute to the coverage of energy needs.

Structural role

Lipids, especially unsaturated fatty acids, are the major constituents of cell membranes and cells of the nervous system. They also ensure the plasticity and elasticity of the skin because they are important constituents of the cells of the dermis.

Transport of fat-soluble vitamins

In the body, some vitamins can only be transported with the help of lipids. They are called fat-soluble vitamins: vitamins A, D, E and K.

Synthesis of hormones

Fatty acids allow the synthesis of certain steroid hormones, directly derived from cholesterol: estrogens, testosterone and cortisol. Prostaglandins are also derived from lipid molecules.

Lipid profile and exploration of a lipid anomaly

A lipid profile allows us to assess the lipids present in the blood and to know if they are in excess or not. The levels of LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol and triglycerides are the most studied lipid levels. The results of the lipid profile give a good idea of the cardiovascular risk. In fact, a too high level of total cholesterol or triglycerides is a risk factor for cardiovascular accidents that must be taken seriously.

Fat digestion

Once ingested, lipids are emulsified and mixed with bile salts in the intestine. They form micelles that can enter the cells of the small intestine. They then emerge as chylomicrons. The chylomicrons release the lipids into the bloodstream, where they circulate bound to lipoproteins: HDL, LDL, etc. It is the presence of these lipoproteins that is measured during a blood test in order to detect a possible lipid anomaly.

Foods rich in lipids

The main sources of fat are butter, margarine, vegetable oils, fried foods, pastries, and some prepared foods. Because they enhance the flavour and texture of foods, they are used extensively in industrial foods.

Here are the details of the fat content of certain foods:

Food 
  • Doughnut, cake-like, sweet coating
  • Butter
  • Commercial chocolate cookies
  • Regular ground beef
  • Cream 35%
  • Ice cream
  • Croissant
  • Chicken nuggets
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Vegetable oil (all varieties)
  • Egg yolk
  • Whole milk (3.25% M.F.)
  • Margarine
  • Pecan nuts
  • Pâté
  • Whole milk yogurt
Sources of omega-3 are oily fish, flax and chia seeds, fortified eggs, rapeseed oil and walnuts. Omega-6 fatty acids are found mainly in vegetable oils such as grape seed oil, corn oil, safflower oil and sunflower oil.

How to use fats properly?

Use of fats

How much fat should you eat per day to lose weight or maintain a stable weight?
For healthy adults, here are the nutritional recommendations for fat consumption:

Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for healthy adults
  • Total fat 35 to 40% of total energy intake (TEI)
  • Saturated fatty acids < 12% of TEE
  • Palmitic, lauric and myristic acids < 8% of TEA
  • Oleic acid (monounsaturated) 15 to 20% of TEA
  • Omega-6 4% of TEA
  • Omega-3 1% of TEA
  • DHA 250 mg/d
  • EPA + DHA 500 mg/d

Lipid-based dietary supplements

Certain food supplements based on Omega-3, 6 and 9 can be indicated in the preventive or curative treatment of certain cardiovascular or neurodegenerative pathologies. In any case, before considering lipid supplementation, it is essential to ask your doctor's advice.

Lipids and bodybuilding

For athletes, and particularly for bodybuilding, a good intake of quality fatty acids is essential. Fats enable the synthesis of hormones, accelerate the metabolism and promote muscle gain. A varied and balanced diet is sufficient to cover the needs. However, a supplementation in essential fatty acids can, in some cases, be a good solution.

Undesirable effects of lipids

Lipid deficiency

Insufficient dietary fat intake can lead to growth problems and an increased risk of chronic diseases. If inadequate fat intake is also accompanied by inadequate carbohydrate and protein intake and thus energy intake, this can lead to malnutrition. Adequate fat intake is especially important in childhood and during pregnancy. In addition, a diet that is low in fat but very high in carbohydrates may reduce HDL cholesterol levels and increase glycemic and insulin response after food intake.

Excess fat

It is known that a diet high in fat that exceeds energy requirements can lead to obesity. There is also a link between high fat intake and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer and insulin resistance leading to type 2 diabetes. The type of fatty acid consumed in excess plays a determining role in this relationship.

Interactions with other nutrients


Fats slow down the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates and therefore reduce the glycemic index of a meal. Some fats can compete with each other. This is the case of Omega-6 and 3. Omega-6 consumed in excess blocks the beneficial action of Omega-3 and has a pro-inflammatory effect. Finally, lipids are essential for the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.

Chemical properties


Lipids constitute the fat mass. Depending on their molecular structure, they can be solid or liquid in their natural state. Saturated fatty acids are solid fats because they have no double bonds, which makes them particularly stable and hard. On the contrary, mono and poly unsaturated fatty acids are liquid fats at room temperature, their double bonds make them unstable and particularly sensitive to oxidation. Lipids can be hydrophobic or amphiphilic, i.e. they have a hydrophilic group and a hydrophobic group.

History

History of the nutrient

In the 1850s, scientists began to discover the role of the pancreas in the digestion of lipids. It was not until the end of the 1920s that the first studies demonstrated the more or less serious consequences of deficiencies in various lipids: reproductive disorders, hormonal imbalances, etc. Researchers then began to understand the essential nature of certain fatty acids, which the body is not able to synthesize. However, it was not until 1965 that biochemists became interested in lipid metabolism. For a long time, lipids were demonized and held responsible for the mechanisms of weight gain. Fortunately, we now know that this is not the case and that some fats do us more good than harm.

What is lactose? All about this carbohydrate

Lactose is a carbohydrate (or "sugar") naturally present in dairy products (cow, goat or sheep). It is composed of glucose and galactose and is digested by an enzyme called lactase. When this enzyme is absent or produced in insufficient quantities, we speak of lactose intolerance.

Characteristics of lactose :
  • It is a carbohydrate and provides energy
  • Its digestion is possible thanks to an enzyme, lactase
  • Lactose is found in milk, cheese and dairy products
  • Lactose intolerance is quite common and results in digestive problems

Why eat foods rich in lactose?

What to do in case of lactose intolerance?

Depending on the severity of lactose intolerance, dairy products can be reduced or avoided in part or in whole. Some dairy products on the market are available in a lactose-free version (lactose-free milk, lactose-free cheese or lactose-free yogurt), which can be an alternative for people with lactose intolerance who wish to continue consuming dairy products. Symptoms of lactose intolerance often occur a few hours after ingesting lactose. They are usually very uncomfortable and painful: abdominal cramps, bloating, diarrhea, gas or even headaches and nausea.


Be careful, we often speak wrongly of lactose allergy. However, true allergy to cow's milk proteins is very rare and involves the immune system, whereas lactose intolerance results only from a lactase deficiency.

Should I eat gluten-free and lactose-free?

More and more people are adopting gluten-free and lactose-free diets because they think they are intolerant. However, if these diets are not well managed, they can lead to deficiencies, so it is better to be accompanied by a health professional when implementing them. Eating gluten-free and lactose-free is not always the solution, but reducing their consumption can sometimes significantly reduce digestive discomfort.

Benefits

Lactose is a carbohydrate, so it has a nutritional and energetic interest by providing calories to the body.

20 foods rich in lactose

Lactose is contained in all dairy products, whether they come from cows, goats or sheep.

Food
  • Whey
  • Milk powder
  • Skimmed milk (cow, goat, sheep)
  • Whole milk (cow, goat, sheep)
  • Fresh cream
  • Whole milk yogurt
  • Ice cream
  • Yogurt with semi-skimmed milk
  • Ricotta cheese
  • Fresh cheese spread
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Butter
  • Feta cheese
  • Brie cheese
  • Camembert cheese
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Emmental cheese
  • Gruyere cheese
  • Raclette cheese

How to use lactose properly?

Use of lactose

There are no nutritional recommendations for daily lactose requirements. However, it is recommended that healthy adults consume 3 dairy products per day to promote a good intake of proteins, calcium and phosphorus.

Lactase food supplements

More and more laboratories are marketing lactase-based dietary supplements that can help increase lactose tolerance. It is recommended to take them before meals containing lactose to facilitate digestion and reduce unpleasant digestive symptoms.

Undesirable effects of lactose

Consequences of lactose deficiency

Lactose can be completely absent from the diet without any harmful consequences on health. Special attention must be paid to calcium intake, which is often covered by dairy products.

Consequences of an excess of lactose

There are no studies suggesting harmful consequences of an excess of lactose (apart from lactose intolerance).

Chemical properties


The raw formula of lactose is C12H22O11 and its molar mass is 342.2965 g/mol. It is a carbohydrate found in mammalian milk. Lactose is composed of two oses, galactose and glucose. It is called a diholoside. It is a reducing sugar because it contains a hemiacetal function. Its sweetening power is relatively low (0.16). The digestion of lactose in the body involves an enzyme, hydrolase, also called lactase. This hydrolysis releases a molecule of glucose and a molecule of galactose, then taken in charge separately.

History

History of the nutrient

One third of the adults on Earth would be able to digest lactose properly. In all mammals, lactase production at birth is very important. This is fortunate since milk is the basis of all newborns' diet. Then the production of this enzyme will decrease little by little to give way to weaning and a more diversified diet. Several hypotheses exist concerning the evolution and prevalence of lactose intolerance. However, it seems that this decrease in lactase production in the majority of individuals causes digestive problems.

Nutraceuticals or alicaments: what are these superfoods?

In today's world, where the quality of our food is becoming more and more important, many foods claim to have health benefits. Moreover, several claims are made such as "Helps reduce cholesterol", "Good for the figure" or "Helps strengthen the body's natural defenses". Do foods that take care of us, our bodies and our health really exist? This is what nutraceuticals, also called nutraceuticals, promise. Who are these superfoods? Do they really have an impact on our body? Let's find out in this article.

Nutraceuticals or nutraceuticals: definition


Nutraceutical comes from the contraction of the words "nutrition" and "pharmaceutical". It refers to a substance extracted from a food that has a positive effect on our health. This substance can be found in the form of powders, tablets or food supplements. In this case, it is concentrated and provides beneficial effects for the body.

We also use the term "alicament" which includes the words "food" and "medicine". It can sometimes be called "functional food" or "health food". It is a food that has components that have a positive effect on health. This can be natural, such as the richness in polyphenols in grapes, or modified, such as certain margarines rich in plant sterols.

Both designate food products that claim health benefits and have a beneficial effect on the body. The small difference lies in the fact that nutraceuticals are closer to a medical treatment, with a dosage to be respected, while the health food will be integrated into the diet as a preventive measure.

The benefits


The term "superfoods" refers to foods that have a health benefit, with effects superior to those of other foods. This is the case of nutraceuticals and nutraceuticals. This potential is due to the presence of certain elements essential to our health in food, in sufficient quantities. These are mainly vitamins (A, B9, C, or E), minerals, fibers, omega 3, probiotics and plant sterols.

So what are they?

  • Artichoke: it is rich in antioxidants and is excellent for the liver and kidneys. It stimulates the regeneration of liver cells;
  • Blueberry: rich in antioxidants, it helps fight against premature aging of cells and also helps fight against hypertension;
  • Beet: its consumption has a role in the prevention of cardiovascular and hepatic diseases thanks to the nitrates it contains;
  • Garlic and onion: they are antibacterial, antiseptic, antibiotic and recommended for urinary and rheumatic disorders;
  • Turmeric: it has a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effect. This spice also stimulates digestion;
  • Fish rich in fatty acids: salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel, etc. They play a role in the cardiovascular system, the brain and the eyes. They are also necessary in case of heart disease, rheumatism or arthritis. A good consumption also helps to balance the level of cholesterol;
  • Grapes: thanks to its polyphenols, it plays a role on several pathologies (cholesterol, hypertension or anemia). It is a source of vitamins C, B1, B2 and B6 and fiber, essential for the proper functioning of our body;
  • Cabbage: it has anti-inflammatory, diuretic and anti-anemic virtues and plays a role in blood sugar control;
  • Pomegranate: it helps to fight against hypertension;
  • Parsley: it has a protective role with regard to the kidneys, the bladder and the prostate;
  • Celery: it has antiseptic and antirheumatic properties;
  • Dairy products: they are rich in probiotics and contribute to a better digestion;
  • Cranberry: it helps reduce urinary tract infections;
  • Cocoa: it helps to balance cholesterol levels;
  • Modified products: yoghurts enriched with calcium or lactic ferments, iron-enriched cookies, margarines enriched with omega 3, etc. There is a multitude of products. Beware of claims (message on the packaging). It is preferable to take a closer look at the labeling by paying attention to the list of ingredients and nutritional values.
This list is by no means exhaustive. Many other foods have health benefits.

These foods have certain benefits, but are in no way there to cure a pathology. Consuming artichoke will have a positive effect on the liver and the pathologies that may be linked to it. However, its consumption will not cure a liver infection.

The potential dangers


Although these superfoods have many benefits, there is no need to over-consume them. In some cases, excess can become a problem, even if it remains minimal and rare.

The key is above all to have a varied, balanced diet adapted to these energy needs. Taking nutraceuticals requires a medical consultation beforehand to avoid possible interactions with other medications.

The risk is also to eat essentially these superfoods thinking only about health. Pleasure and taste would then take a back seat, which would be a great pity because these two parameters are also essential to our balance.

Development


The notions of alicament and nutraceutical are quite recent. Thanks to the multiple health benefits they offer, the concept of food-medicines or nutrition-pharmaceuticals has become increasingly attractive in recent years. They are developing enormously in some stores and the shelves are filling up with these superfoods or food supplements.

Lectins : zoom on these proteins

First of all, lectin is a protein that is synthesized by plants to protect themselves. It is a particularly sticky protein that has the particularity of binding specifically to carbohydrates to become glycoproteins. When consumed, they then attach themselves to the cell membranes of the digestive tract. Lectins are present in our daily diet. They are found naturally in many plants and animals. Nevertheless, they are mainly found in cereals and legumes.

Lectins play a role in several biological processes. But what is their interest? Do they have benefits or risks for our health? Let's zoom in on these proteins.

Effect of lectins on the body

Consequences on the intestinal microbiota

Lectins have a real impact on digestion by attaching themselves to carbohydrates (sugar in the food). They make the action of digestive enzymes more complex. A high consumption of food rich in lectins would damage the intestinal wall and cause digestive problems such as bloating and swelling, irritation, acid reflux, nausea and vomiting, flatulence and diarrhea. Indeed, in high doses, lectins increase the inflammatory syndrome and disrupt cell communication. They are also among the proteins to be strongly limited in the case of irritable bowel syndrome or major digestive problems.

Decreased absorption of nutrients

As a result of this impact on digestion, lectins, which are very sticky and bind to micronutrients, reduce the body's ability to absorb and therefore fully benefit from the vitamins and minerals present in the food. This can lead in the long term to deficiencies, dehydration and fatigue, which can be more or less significant.

The positive point is that these lectins contribute to the proper functioning of the immune system. Indeed, it has been noted that a diet without lectins would alert the immune system and favor the appearance of various allergies. Moreover, completely eliminating foods that are sources of lectins would mean doing without foods that have other significant benefits for our health. But how can we limit their negative impact?

Guide to their use

Where to find them?

Many foods contain lectins, whether they are of animal or vegetable origin. However, only a third of them contain significant quantities. These are :
  • legumes: kidney beans, coconut beans, lentils, chickpeas, split peas, beans, etc. ;
  • whole grains: oats, wheat, spelt, barley, rye, kamut, millet, quinoa, etc. ;
  • seeds: sunflower seeds, poppy seeds or chia seeds;
  • oilseeds: walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, pistachios, peanuts, cashews, etc;
  • certain vegetables: eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, etc.
It is hardly found in fresh fruits and green vegetables such as fennel, lettuce, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower and endives. Seafood such as shellfish and various fish are also free of lectins.

How to limit the presence of lectins?

There are several common solutions to reduce the negative effect of lectins on our bodies, particularly in terms of digestion:
  • Cooking: cooking food in a humid environment, such as in a pressure cooker or by steaming, eliminates the presence of these proteins as much as possible. Once cooked, foods rich in lectins will no longer be a problem for digestion and malabsorption of nutrients;
  • Soaking: soaking legumes overnight before cooking them also reduces the risk of inflammation and digestive problems associated with their consumption;
  • Preparation of vegetables: removing the skin and seeds from vegetables such as peppers and tomatoes (which are difficult to digest) improves the digestion of these foods;
  • Meal progress: taking the time to eat by chewing each mouthful correctly also plays a role. Saliva, chewing and the bacteria present in the mouth play a role in predigestion which is important for the proper digestion of each food and nutrient, including lectin. The absorption of nutrients will also be better.
By diversifying our diet, cooking and food families in our plates we ingest enough lectins to be harmful to our body.

Interaction and chemical properties


Lectins are proteins or rather glycoproteins that are able to interact specifically with saccharides (sugar). They form non-covalent, irreversible bonds with each other and cause cells to clump together.

History


The first lectin was discovered by Peter Hermann Silltmark in 1888. These substances were successively named agglutinins, hemagglutinins, phytohemagglutinins and finally lectins. This word comes from the Latin "légère" which means "to choose", "to select".

Since the 1970s, some studies have been carried out on lectins, but for the most part they are in vitro or animal studies.

Leucine: an essential amino acid with many benefits

Leucine is an essential amino acid for the body, so the body cannot synthesize it by itself. Leucine tends to deteriorate with age and is involved in the decrease in muscle mass in the elderly. It is also used as a food additive for its sweet taste.

Characteristics of leucine:
  • Is part of the BCAA (branched-chain amino acids) with valine and isoleucine
  • Allows to trigger muscle building
  • Essential amino acid that the body cannot synthesize
  • Widely used by athletes to promote the development of muscle mass
  • It is mainly found in foods of animal origin

Why eat foods rich in leucine?

Leucine: definition, roles and benefits

Leucine and muscle building

Leucine helps to rebuild muscle mass, so it can be interesting for high-level athletes with a strong need for muscle rebuilding after exercise. It can be consumed in the form of leucine powder capsules.

Regeneration of tissues

Leucine allows bones, skin and muscles to rebuild properly after an injury or an intense effort.

Regulates blood sugar

When leucine is ingested, the pancreas secretes insulin, which tends to lower blood sugar levels.

20 foods rich in natural leucine

Leucine is an amino acid and is found mainly in protein-rich foods such as meat, spirulina and dairy products.

Food
  • Chicken with skin
  • Spirulina
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Skimmed milk powder
  • Steak
  • Gruyere cheese
  • Bacon
  • Emmental cheese
  • Veal cutlet
  • Lupin
  • Turkey
  • Goat cheese
  • Gouda cheese
  • Veal liver
  • Pumpkin seed
  • Yellowfin tuna
  • Split peas
  • Pistachio
  • Semi-skimmed milk
  • Fresh cream

 How to use leucine properly?


The recommended intake of leucine for a healthy adult varies according to physical activity and ranges from 1 to 20g per day.

Use of leucine food supplements

As leucine is one of the main triggers for muscle building, it is mainly used by the sports population in the form of L-leucine. It is often found coupled with valine and isoleucine to obtain complete and effective BCAA (branched chain amino acids) supplements. In the sports world, it is recommended to choose food supplements containing at least 2g of leucine per portion.

Whatever the problem, it is preferable to consult a doctor before taking food supplements.

Adverse effects of leucine

Consequences of a deficiency

There are no scientific studies on leucine deficiency to date.

Leucine overdose, a health hazard

On the other hand, when leucine is consumed in excess, there can be a deficiency in isoleucine and valine, so it is recommended to combine these amino acids in case of supplementation and to avoid side effects.

Interactions with other BCAAs


Leucine acts more effectively if combined with the other BCAAs (branched chain amino acids), valine and isoleucine. In general, a diet rich in vitamins, electrolytes (sodium, potassium, chlorine) and minerals allows a better assimilation of this essential amino acid.

Chemical properties


The formula of leucine is C6H13NO2 and its molar mass is 131.1729 g/mol. It is one of the 9 essential amino acids for the body which cannot synthesize it. L-leucine has a sweet taste that also allows its use as a flavor enhancer in the food industry. It is the food additive E641.

History

History of the nutrient

According to recent studies, leucine could allow to regulate the nitrogenous balance in the rat. This discovery is rather promising since it is precisely the disturbance of this nitrogenous balance in the human being which induces ageing and the associated loss of muscular mass. These results must still be confirmed before leucine can be used on a larger scale in the elderly.

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