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Homework Help: Metabolism of food

  1. Jun 23, 2014 #1

    I'm asked to write about the following: "High fructose corn syrup and margarine are two commonly used food ingredients that contribute to both inflammation and obesity."

    Write one page each on the metabolism of each of these foods in your body, and cite at least one recent paper (peer reviewed) on their impact on your health.

    Can you please help me understand what is needed? What is meant by metabolism? Where can I find peer reviewed articles? Thanks.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 23, 2014 #2


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    What have you found on your own? Surely you have researched this since you are supposed to write about it.
  4. Jun 23, 2014 #3
    I found the articles, but I don't get metabolism, am I supposed to write on how sugars and fats digested, absorbed and and used in the body?
  5. Jun 23, 2014 #4


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  6. Jun 25, 2014 #5
    it's not that i don't get metabolism, it's a broad term, i don't know whats needed
  7. Jun 25, 2014 #6


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    This whole research paper prompt seems loaded, HFCS doesn't contribute to obesity, more calories in than out does.

    http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/88/6/1716S.full He consults for the food and beverage industry, good read though. And check out some of the references.

    I'm also pretty sure fructose, glucose, sucrose all cause inflammation, it's not limited to one type of sweetener.

    It's wondering how HFCS is absorbed in the body, what happens...ect.
  8. Jun 25, 2014 #7


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    This issue is currently under some debate in the scientific community. Although obesity is clearly caused by eating more calories than our body uses, obesity is not a health problem in itself; rather, obesity is a risk factor for various other health problems such as type II diabetes and cancer. Collectively, the negative health effects associated with obesity are sometimes referred to as metabolic syndrome.

    Research over the past decade or so has suggested consumption of fructose is a major contributor to metabolic syndrome, so calories from foods containing fructose such as sugar or HFCS, are worse that calories from other sources. This is because fructose is metabolized exclusively by the liver, leads to build up of fat in the liver, which is though to contribute to metabolic syndrome. See, for example, my post in a previous thread on the topic for some links to papers studying this issue (the thread may be relevant to the OP as well).

    A good starting point would be to say, what types of molecules compose each of the two substances, and what chemical reactions are involved in breaking these substances down in order to produce energy and/ store them in the body. Good questions to consider might be where in the body are each of these chemical reactions occurring, what enzymes are involved in the reactions, and what metabolic pathways the products of the reactions feed into.
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