Fuels & Starvation

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Scott007
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2017
Total Posts : 74
   Posted 5/4/2017 2:31 AM (GMT -6)   
Upfront Disclosure: This is not an endorsement for any particular diet. I have no blog. I do not benefit monetarily in any way whatsoever with this post. It is for informational purposes only.

Each "type" of cell in the human body has specific nutritional requirements. The one universal requirement, however, is to generate energy. We tend to think that glucose (from digestion of carbs) is the most efficient and primary source of fuel. Well, it is a bit more complicated than that. Yes, glucose is virtually the sole fuel for the brain (except during prolonged starvation). Also, the brain has no fuel storage and requires a constant supply of glucose. The heart muscle, in contrast, uses fatty acids as the main source of fuel (along with a few others). You would actually be surprised at how many organs of the body use fuel sources other than glucose.

In 1982, four medical doctors published a paper in "The Western Journal of Medicine" (West J Med 1982 Nov; 137:379-399). The first sentence of this publication is profoundly significant: "An appreciation of the physiology of fasting is essential to the understanding of therapeutic dietary interventions and the effect of food deprivation in various diseases."

Prior to the publication above, one man had already begun to dedicate his life to the study of metabolism in starvation - George F. Cahill, Jr.! Cahill died in 2012, but published a review of his life's work in 2006, which can be found here:

http://thehealthsciencesacademy.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Fuel-Metabolism-in-Starvation_ReviewArticleTIMM2008-9Lazar-1.pdf

Perhaps Cahill's most significant contribution was the role of β-hydroxybutyrate as a fuel for cellular metabolism. Curiously, we are the only primate born obese. Moreover, metabolism at birth is essentially ketotic. The newborn human brain consumes 60%–70% of total metabolism at birth, nearly half via β-hydroxybutyrate. Say what?!! Yes, we essentially enter this world on the Atkin's diet!

As it turns out, the late George Cahill and I have more in common than an interest in metabolism. The Cahill grandparents came from the west of Ireland, County Clare, in about 1870. My maternal great grandparents also came from County Clare, Ireland and also immigrated to America in the mid-1800's.

Post Edited (Scott007) : 5/4/2017 2:50:03 AM (GMT-6)

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