In order to answer the question of how energy is produced, we have to understand how a biochemical reaction results from biological processes like digestion or breathing, and how energy is made available to the body via countless ion transfers. If we dig deep enough, via millions of interim steps we will reach the microcosm of our own energy production where the mitochondria – the powerhouses in the cells – do their work.
These little corpuscles found in all cells except the red blood cells are linked to our metabolism and stress system, finely tuned like the ensemble of an orchestra. They look like bacteria, and millions of years ago were bacteria that have since developed the ability to use oxygen as a source of energy. They account for about eight kilograms of our body weight. They also form the interface between our biology and the biochemical reactions of countless ion transfers. The end result is energy and it is that energy which in turn sustains the processes that make human life possible.
Food may be energy too, but that energy depends on the quality of our food. What does the body do with that energy and what does it do with the surplus? What biological processes of regulation are involved? When do we feel well, when do we feel off-colour and when do we become sick? – we have so many questions and so few meaningful answers.
Scientists cannot agree on many aspects of nutrition.
There are many diverging opinions when it comes to eating. This subject is charged with strong emotions and very little scientific analysis. How each of us eats has a lot to do with our self-image and our idea or belief of what our body needs to function properly. For this reason, I would like to give you a few rules of thumb based on the latest scientific research and my own experience.
Oxidation or combustion is a chemical reaction
involving the use of oxygen.
A reaction involving withdrawal of a hydrogen ion compound is also referred to these days as oxidation or combustion.
In general terms, oxidation describes chemical reactions where hydrogen ions are released and displaced. This can lead to an imbalance and a milieu with increased reactivity (responsiveness). The body has buffer systems to intercept any surplus hydrogen ions resulting from metabolic processes. When the capacity of these buffer systems is exhausted, this leads to an accumulation of so-called free radicals (reactive oxygen compounds). The cell milieu becomes acidic and the inflammation surrounding it is exacerbated. The resultant change in the cell environment damages or destroys the cells. This mechanism plays an important role in all chronic illnesses, whether in the nervous system, the liver, the muscles or other bodily tissue.
My own personal attitude to food
I don’t worry about my cholesterol level.
I eat fat, because fat doesn’t make me fat, any more than spinach makes me green.
I take no food supplements; I only consume complex substances like foodstuffs.
I eat colourful and well-seasoned food.
This means my diet is not one-sided and stimulates my metabolism.
I avoid highly processed or convenience, ready-to-eat food.
I eat very little sugar or other carbohydrates.
I fast two to three times a week for 14 to 16 hours.
I don’t count calories. I follow the principle of “less is more”.
I try to eat in such a way that I don’t need too much insulin.
I don’t always eat on a regular basis, but am guided by my appetite and my hunger level.
I don’t snack.
My aim is to eat in such a way that I train my metabolism to draw on my fatty deposits as a means of accessing the required energy. A one-sided diet is not conducive to that process. Your metabolism then resembles a river estuary with only a few tributaries in active use. They are deeply furrowed and the speed of the river is too swift, carving out deep ravines while other beds lie idle, silt up or disappear altogether at some point. That kind of metabolism is not conducive to wellbeing.
Another aspect of a balanced, varied diet is limiting the oxidation processes within the body. Oxygen is certainly essential to our survival, but it is also extremely toxic and, when a surplus of it is present, it overheats the body and triggers inflammatory processes. This is when that beneficial, warm fire of inflammation becomes the ineffective, cold fire of chronic inflammation. At some point, which may be decades later, a chronic illness then develops out of that inflammatory state.