Why Are Whole Foods Better than Processed Foods? - the Nano-Food Hypothesis
|A protein molecule, such as an antibody, is about 1000 times smaller than a cell. [Image: www.particlescience.com]|
Is Whole Food Better for Your Health?
"Never before has there been such a mountain of empirical research supporting a whole foods, plant-based diet." [Colin Campbell, PhD, p. 348-9]
"For more than thirty years, I've directed a series of scientific research studies showing that the progression of even severe coronary heart disease can often be reversed by making comprehensive lifestyle changes. These include a very-low-fat diet including predominantly fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and soy products in their natural, unrefined forms;" [Dean Ornish, MD, p. 7]
"Starches (rice, corn, potatoes, beans, pasta), green and yellow vegetables, and fruits provide us with large quantities of clean-burning, high-energy 'fuel'--carbohydrates. Those sensible foodstuffs furnish us with all the essential fats we need, the ones that our bodies cannot synthesize from carbohydrates. They give us ample, but usually not excessive, quantities of proteins. They provide large quantities of fibers that help prevent or cure our intestinal problems. They supply us with all our vitamins except vitamin D, which we ourselves synthesize, and vitamin B12, which we can obtain from natural bacteria in our bodies or by supplementing with pills. They offer abundant sources of the minerals we require. Just as important as what they provide is what they withhold: Starches, vegetables, and fruits contain the smallest possible quantities of undesirable non-nutrients." [John McDougall, MD, p. 51]
"Vegetables, fruits and whole grains should take up the largest portion of your dinner plate. Eat these foods first, rather than reserving them for the end after you've finished other items. . . . Eat only food that's in its natural state or is lightly processed--'real food.' . . . Legumes, namely beans, lentils, and peas, are excellent source of protein because they have no cholesterol and very little fat." [The Mayo Clinic Diet, p. 24, 52, 129]
"When we evaluate the standard American diet, we find the calories coming from phytochemical-rich foods, such as fresh fruits, vegetables, beans, intact whole grains, raw nuts, and seeds, are less than 13 percent of the total caloric intake. This dangerously low intake of unrefined plant foods guarantees weakened immunity to disease, frequent illness, and a shorter lifespan." [Joel Fuhrman, MD, p. 2-3]
Is Particle Size Important in Pulmonary Toxicology?
Particle size is very important in pulmonary toxicology. In air pollution terminology, PM10 refers to particles less than 10 microns in diameter such as dust, pollen, and mold. PM2.5 refers to combustion particles, organic compounds, and metals with diameters <2.5 microns. PM10 passes the larynx (thoracic fraction); PM2.5 reaches the alveoli (respirable fraction). Protein molecules are in the range of 1-100 nanometers (<0.1 micron), and there are many allergenic proteins that cause occupational asthma (aerosols of enzymes, laboratory animals, insects, fish, latex rubber, etc.)
The increased latex allergy (contact urticaria, asthma, and anaphylaxis) since the beginning of the AIDS epidemic is explained by increased exposure of healthcare workers to latex proteins from protective gloves.
What Happens to Food Particle Size when Food is Processed by High-Speed Machines?
When a student at Indiana University, I had a job in the chemistry department helping a research team study a particular enzyme. Enzymes are proteins, and this protein could be isolated by first liquefying pig hearts in a blender and then adding this mixture to a separating column. We got the pig hearts from a local slaughtering house. Hemoglobin is a protein molecules with a size of about 6 nanometers. A nanometer is one billionth of a meter or one thousandth of a micron. A red blood cell can be seen in a microscope and has a diameter of about 10 micron. So a protein molecule is about 1000 times smaller than a red blood cell. High-speed food processing converts food from cells (microns) into molecules (nanoparticles). Food that has been converted into nanoparticles is not handled by the body in the same way as whole food.
Could the Obesity Epidemic Be Related to the Particle Size of Food?
My theory is that eating processed food makes you fat because of the particle size. If you eat whole food, some of the cells are broken down enough by chewing, acid in the stomach, and digestive enzymes in the stomach and intestines to produce molecules that can be absorbed through the intestinal villi. What is not digested continues through the GI tract as roughage. If you eat processed food in which all of the cells have been converted into molecules, then almost everything is absorbed (more calories) and you get fat. You also may get small stools, constipation, and hemorrhoids!
Could the Increased Prevalence of Allergies Be Related to the Particle Size of Food?
The processing of food with high-speed machines began with the industrial revolution. My grandparents did not eat a lot of processed food. My generation was the one to grow up on TV and Cocoa Puffs. Could the increased incidence of gluten and peanut allergies be secondary to increased number of people being exposed to higher concentrations of the naked proteins in their guts secondary to high-speed processing of peanuts and wheat to break up the cells and release the proteins?