Living organisms, from the thermodynamic point of view, are defined as open systems. That is, they survive and create a condition of equilibrium with the surrounding environment with a continuous exchange of energy and matter with the outside. That is, the living, whether they are plants or animals, must take food and water from the outside to survive. Billions of years ago the Earth began to cool down and the planet was mostly covered with water. Then there followed a long period in which there was a slow chemical evolution in which, starting from simple chemical compounds and elements, more complex ones were formed. For example, organic compounds were born that had a structure based on one or more carbon atoms.
That is, there was a long and slow chemical evolution that preceded the subsequent biological evolution. In other words, molecules were formed that were able to replicate by reacting with the surrounding molecules. In other words, this was the beginning of the first elementary life forms. Then this process was followed by biological evolution with the formation of the first cells. First of all, they were open thermodynamic systems capable of multiplying and interacting with the external environment to reach a condition of equilibrium. The metabolism of the first prokaryotic cells, of the eukaryotic cells that developed later and of the multicellular organisms have many elements in common. That is, they derive the energy needed to survive from glycolysis. In other words, they extract almost all of their energy from sugars by making them react with oxygen.
METABOLISM, ANABOLISM AND CATABOLISM
Metabolism is the set of biological processes by which the body obtains energy and organizes substances to produce tissues and chemicals useful for survival. In particular, catabolism represents a series of reactions that break down energetic molecules to obtain less energetic molecules. That is, they are chemical processes that produce a release of energy. For example, these processes are useful, in animals and plants to produce the energy necessary for survival and maintenance of homeothermic for a condition of equilibrium. That is, of a constant body temperature. Then the opposite phenomenon is anabolism. First of all, catabolism is a process in which more complex molecules break down into simpler molecules with the release of energy.
Secondly, anabolism consists of that series of processes to which, on the contrary, we must supply energy, to allow the bond, between them, of simpler molecules to form more complex ones. For example, a type of catabolic reaction is represented by the digestion of meat to obtain the various amino acids that form proteins. Then an example, instead of anabolic reaction, is represented by the union of these amino acids to form the proteins that are the basis of body tissues such as muscles. The processes of glycolysis, lipolysis or proteolysis are also an important part of the metabolic reactions
GLYCOLYSIS, LIPOLYSIS AND PROTEOLYSIS
First of all, the former consist in breaking down sugars by making them react with oxygen to produce energy. Secondly, lipolysis consists of the chemical reaction that breaks down fats into simpler compounds to obtain energy. Finally, proteolysis is also a way for energy production. That is, it is a reaction in which energy is formed through proteins. In recent years, people often talk about clean energy. That is, of energy production systems that produce minimal pollution such as wind, hydroelectric or solar power. Then there is also talk of dirty energy. That is, of polluting production systems such as those that use fossil fuels.
DIRTY ENERGY AND CLEAN ENERGY IN BIOLOGICAL SYSTEMS
Similarly to the methods of industrial energy production, even referring to living organisms we can speak of dirty energy and clean energy. That is, the healthiest energy source for the body for a condition of equilibrium is represented by carbohydrates. In other words, they are macromolecules made up of sugars that represent the true clean energy for the organism. Especially since sugars are ternary compounds. that is, they are made up of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. Then they react with atmospheric oxygen releasing their energy.
Then the compounds that are formed from this reaction are simply water and carbon dioxide which are released into the atmosphere. But the reaction involving fats and proteins produces catabolites (metabolic products) which can be harmful to health. In particular, the healthiest and most natural fuel of the organism is represented by sugars. That is, fats and proteins are reserve energy sources that the body uses when blood sugar drops.
PROBLEMS FROM AN EXCESS OF FATS IN THE DIET
There are reactions of the body that use fats. But an excess of lipids produces an increase in blood cholesterol values
There are reactions of the body that use fats. But an excess of lipids produces an increase in blood cholesterol and triglyceride values. In addition, excessive use of fat in the metabolism enriches the body with waste. Finally, even the use in the metabolism of proteins is harmful. That is, their breakdown enriches the blood with uric acids which can cause blood, kidney and joint problems. Everyone knows the danger of any excessive blood cholesterol and triglycerides. In other words, our ancestors, thousands of years ago, evolved by living with limited food supplies. That is, the food was obtained by gathering it in the woods or by hunting and was not always sufficient and of good quality.
Then, in modern times came an availability of food unthinkable in ancient times. That is. especially in the recent period, an availability of products of animal origin unthinkable in the past has spread. In other words, meat, eggs and cheeses are now easily available. But the human organism did not evolve for a diet so abundant and rich in animal fats. That is, excessive and poorly controlled nutrition can become harmful to health.
EFFECTS OF AN EXCESS FAT ON HEALTH
Fats in the body have very important functions. That is, they represent a backup energy source. In other words, animals convert excess energy into fats, that is, reserve substances with a high energy content that are accumulated in particular cells called adipocytes. Then these reserves can be useful in times of low blood sugar to use these reserves for energy. In particular, this was a means created by evolution to be able to survive, thanks to these energy reserves in the days when food was scarce. But then, what was an evolutionary advantage in modern times can often become a disadvantage. That is, an excessive accumulation of adipose tissue can become an aesthetic damage.
But above all also a health problem. That is, elevated lipid values of cholesterol and triglycerides can be harmful to blood circulation. In particular, because these substances make the blood less fluid and tend to accumulate on the internal walls of blood vessels. Then this phenomenon produces serious health problems. in particular because it restricts the caliber of blood vessels making circulation difficult. In addition, all this facilitates the formation of plaques that can increase the risk of stroke and thrombosis. That is, of pathological events that can be disabling and life-threatening.
EFFECTS OF AN EXCESS OF PROTEINS ON HEALTH
Proteins are essential substances for life but their excessive ingestion can cause serious damage to health. In other words, the blood uric acid values would rise. In particular, this means that there could be an excess of nitrogenous waste in the blood. Especially uric acids are a product of protein metabolism. In addition, they are a harmful product if present in high values in the blood stream. That is, the kidneys would be forced to work excessively to purify the blood and this could compromise its functionality. Similarly, these excess acids would lower the pH of the blood by altering the functioning of the biochemical system that regulates the various functions of the organism.
CALCULATE YOUR REAL PROTEIN NEEDS
The human body has an average protein requirement of 0.8 grams per kg for each day to have a condition of equilibrium. Then it is useful that about a third of the proteins ingested come from foods with a high biological value. That is, foods such as soy (36% protein), milk (3.6%), eggs (13%), fish (22%), meat (26%). Especially depending on the breed of animal, the protein percentages may undergo some variation. But knowing approximately the average protein content of each food, it will be possible to satisfy one’s dietary needs without risking deficiencies or excesses. Then when calculating the amount of daily protein you must take into account about 12 or 13% contained in bread and pasta. In particular, they are foods with a low biological value. But their proteins must also be included in the count.
doc. Massimiliano Mangafà