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Definitions

Aggregated definitions of terms used on Fruitarian's Network. A definition is a statement of the meaning of a term - a word, a phrase, or a set of other symbols.

The protein digestibility-corrected amino acid score (PDCAAS) has been adopted by FAO/WHO as the preferred method for the measurement of the protein value in human nutrition. 

PDCAAS = Amino Acid Score x Digestibility

The method is based on comparison of the concentration of the first limiting essential amino acid in the test protein with the concentration of that amino acid in a reference (scoring) pattern. This scoring pattern is derived from the essential amino acid requirements of the preschool-age child.

Although the principle of the PDCAAS method has been widely accepted, critical questions have been raised in the scientific community:

  1. the validity of the preschool-age child amino acid requirement values (more than 4 times greater than the EAA requirement for an adult),
  2. the validity of correction for fecal instead of ileal digestibility,
  3. the truncation of PDCAAS values to 100%.

The reference scoring pattern was based on studies performed more than 25 years ago on a limited number of 2-year-old children recovering from malnutrition.

According to the current official recommendations, a 2-year old child needs ~ 3x higher essential-to-non-essential amino acid ratio, and needs essential amino acids in different proportions than adult. Methionine/cysteine is the limiting essential amino acids for adults, and for children it is lysine or tryptophan.

The use of fecal digestibility overestimates the nutritional value of a protein because amino acid nitrogen entering the colon is lost for protein synthesis in the body and is, at least in part, excreted in urine as ammonia.

Zinc is a nutritionally essential mineral needed for catalytic, structural, and regulatory functions in the body.

The RDA (recommended daily allowance) for adult women and men is 8 mg a day and 11 mg a day of zinc, respectively.

Severe zinc deficiency is a rare, genetic or acquired condition. Dietary zinc deficiency, often called marginal zinc deficiency, is quite common in the developing world, affecting an estimated 2 billion people. Zinc deficiency can cause impaired growth and development in children, pregnancy complications, immune dysfunction, and increased susceptibility to infections. Long-term consumption of zinc in excess of the tolerable upper intake level of 40 mg a day for adults can result in copper deficiency.

Zinc bioavailability is relatively high in meat, eggs, and seafood. Zinc is less bioavailable from whole grains and legumes due to the inhibitory effects of phytic acid on absorption of the mineral.

Vitamin C, or L-ascorbic acid, or ascorbate, is an essential nutrient for humans, a water-soluble vitamin. Humans, unlike most animals, are unable to synthesize vitamin C, so it is an essential dietary component. 

  • Vitamin C is required for the biosynthesis of collagen (an essential component of connective tissue), L-carnitine, and certain neurotransmitters, it is also involved in protein metabolism.
  • Vitamin C is also an important physiological antioxidant and has been shown to regenerate other antioxidants within the body, including alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E). Vitamin C regenerates vitamin E by reducing vitamin E radicals formed when vitamin E scavenges the oxygen radicals. 
  • Vitamin C plays an important role in immune function and improves the absorption of nonheme iron, the form of iron present in plant-based foods.

Approximately 70%–90% of vitamin C is absorbed at moderate intakes of 30–180 mg a day. At doses above 1 g a day, absorption falls to less than 50% and absorbed, unmetabolized ascorbic acid is excreted in the urine. 

Insufficient vitamin C intake causes scurvy, which is characterized by fatigue or lassitude, connective tissue weakness, and capillary fragility.

Cells accumulate vitamin C. The total body content of vitamin C ranges from 300 mg (at near scurvy) to about 2 g.

  • High levels of vitamin C are maintained in cells and tissues, and are highest in leukocytes (white blood cells), eyes, adrenal glands, pituitary gland, and brain.
  • Relatively low levels of vitamin C are found in extracellular fluids, such as plasma, red blood cells, and saliva.
  • Fructose and glucose are simple sugars, monosaccharides, with the general formula C6H12O6
    • Fructose, or fruit sugar, occurs naturally in fruits, some root vegetables, cane sugar and honey and is the sweetest of the sugars. 
    • Glucose, dextrose or grape sugar, occurs naturally in fruits and plant juices and is the primary product of photosynthesis. Most ingested carbohydrates are converted into glucose during digestion and it is the form of sugar that is transported around the bodies of animals in the bloodstream. 
  • Sucrose is a compound sugar, disaccharide, with the general formula C12H22O11
    Sucrose is found in the stems of sugarcane and roots of sugar beet. It also occurs naturally alongside fructose and glucose in other plants, in particular fruits and some roots (carrots). A molecule of sucrose is formed by the combination of a molecule of glucose with a molecule of fructose, and it is split into these parts during digestion.

The different proportions of sugars found in plant foods determines their sweetness

Nutrient-dense foods are foods that have a lot of nutrients but relatively few calories.

Nutrient-dense foods and beverages contain: vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, and other beneficial substances that may have positive health effects.

They are also naturally lean or low in saturated fat, and have little or no added saturated fat, sugars, refined starches, and sodium.

Examples of nutrient dense foods are: beans and peas, fresh fruit, unsalted nuts and seeds, vegetables, whole grains - most fruitarian foods are nutrient-dense.

Your comments, suggestions, critique, and ideas:
Carl Sagan

A sharp distinction between humans and “animals” is essential if we are to bend them to our will, make them work for us, wear them, eat them–without any disquieting tinges of guilt or regret. It is unseemly of us, who often behave so unfeeling toward other animals, to contend that only humans can suffer. The behavior of other animals renders such pretensions specious. They are just too much like us.

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