All about fruitarianism with a long-term fruitarian, Lena

Proteins are chains of amino acids. The sequence of amino acids in a chain is known as the primary structure of a protein. The chains fold up to form complex three dimensional shapes. The chains can fold on themselves locally (secondary structure) and wrap around themselves to form a specific three dimensional shape (tertiary structure).

The secondary / tertiary structure of a folded protein is directly related to its function. For example, enzymes are proteins that catalyze reactions. They have binding sites that interact with other molecules. These binding sites are created through the folding of the amino acid chains that gives rise to the three dimensional shape of the enzyme.

Denatured Protein

Denaturation of proteins involves the disruption and possible destruction of both the secondary and tertiary structures. Since denaturation reactions are not strong enough to break the peptide bonds, the primary structure (sequence of amino acids) remains the same after a denaturation process. Denaturation disrupts the normal sheets in a protein and uncoils it into a random shape.

Denaturation occurs because the bonding interactions responsible for the secondary structure (hydrogen bonds to amides) and tertiary structure are disrupted. In tertiary structure there are four types of bonding interactions between "side chains" including: hydrogen bonding, salt bridges, disulfide bonds, and non-polar hydrophobic interactions. which may be disrupted. 

Proteins can be denatured through exposure to heat or chemicals. Denatured proteins lose their three dimensional structure and thus their function. 

Digestion of Proteins and Cooking

Protein digestion begins in the stomach, where the acidic environment favors protein denaturation. Denatured proteins are more accessible as substrates for proteolysis than are native proteins. The primary proteolytic enzyme of the stomach is pepsin, a nonspecific protease that is maximally active at pH 2. Thus, pepsin can be active in the highly acidic environment of the stomach, even though other proteins undergo denaturation there.

Heat disrupts hydrogen bonds and non-polar hydrophobic interactions. This occurs because heat increases the kinetic energy and causes the molecules to vibrate so rapidly and violently that the bonds are disrupted

Foods are cooked to denature the proteins to make it easier for enzymes to digest them. Cooking food denatures some of the proteins in it and makes digestion more efficient. Heating to denature proteins in bacteria and thus destroy the bacteria.

George Bernard Shaw

The worst sin toward our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them: that's the essence of inhumanity. 

Fructose, Glucose, Sucrose - Sugars in Plant Foods

  • 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

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