An omnivore is an organism that can feed a wide variety of food. Apparently a fortune, because if I don’t find one thing I’m looking for another. But in some ways also a bad luck, as our nutritionist Andrea Fossati explains. While the longest-lived populations are those who eat everything, on the other hand being omnivorous means not be “specialized” neither to assimilate plant-based food nor to digest food of animal origin.
Let us know what it means not to be “specialized”.
The herbivorous animals have the rumin – the first of the four stomach cavities, a sort of sack, where the food undergoes a first digestion” – and possess some gastric specializations to metabolize cellulose. For their part, carnivorous animals have enzymes that break down animal proteins. We have neither one nor the other, we are a middle ground.
To Human beings hurt everything, if they overdo it with quantities, and it doesn’t hurt anything if they’re eating a little. In fact the secret is to take a little bit of every food. We are mammals made of digestive, renal apparatuses – and in 99% of cases what is good for one hurts the other.
So what are we going to do?
I try to make a picture of how our body “exploits” food. Carbohydrates and fats (except for membranes) we only use them as gasoline, while we use proteins both as spare parts and as gasoline. Then why not just eat those?
Those who adopt this diet are fine. The problem is that excess of protein produces nitrogen residues that end up in the kidneys. Many bodybuilders in the 1980s who ingested pounds of protein have compromised kidneys or are even on dialysis. If we only consumed protein, our body would be fine, except for the liver, which has to reduce their toxic waste, and the kidneys that eliminate them.
But there are those who say that, to stay healthy and live long, the best diet is based on protein, 1 gram per body per kilo.
An adult man weighing 70 kilos, according to these theories, should take 70 grams of protein (2 small burgers), that is, 300 calories. What can I add to prevent it from wasting away? A sedentary man needs about 2,500 calories a day (and a woman 2,000–2100) to stay healthy.
But how do you get there? With vegetables? Even if you manage to eat 1 and a half kilo at lunch and 1 kilo a half at dinner, what is still missing you have to take from the fats. But, except for olive oil and olives, there is no fatty food that does not contain protein. So, after all, the miraculous diet would be for breakfast, 2 eggs and one fruit; at lunch, 1 kilo and a half of vegetables, 200 olives and 1 burger; ditto at dinner.
It doesn’t seem like a reliable diet.
In fact… I tried and I could get to 2,500 calories by adding 150/200 grams of salami at lunch and dinner; but I would like to measure the nitrogen of those who follow advice like these. The body does not waste the excess proteins and amino acids that are the building blocks. It converts them into sugars, peeling off a small piece, the so-called nitrogen residue. So the blood azothesa increases and the kidneys are fatigued.
Pain, and more. You may have heard someone say: until I was 50 years old I had a great time, I ate everything; Now the world has collapesed on me. The organism, which worked like crazy for 50 years, somehow compensating for all the excesses, at some point did not make it anymore.
What are the foods that we consume in excessive quantities?
The first two elements that we should limit are sugar and salt. In 1950, 85% of diabetics had a first-degree diabetic relative, so much so that it was classified as a genetic condition. Fifty years later, 80% of diabetics did not have a diabetic first-degree relative. In 2020 we are at 90%… So is it genetic or not? There are two types of diabetes: 1 and 2. The 1 is genetic. But today 90% of diabetics are type 2, so-called dietary or food diabetes.
And what about the salt?
An Excessive salt consumption increases blood pressure and the risk of serious cardio-cerebrovascular diseases. Among the Japanese, who use more salt, there are the largest number of stroke cases. But on the other hand there is a population in Brazil, the Yanomami aborigines, who do not eat it and do not know what stroke and degenerative brain diseases are.
Last week I was at a conference and we were talking about salt. I showed a bag of chips: it contained just under 1 gram of sodium. Then I showed the image of a pastry and I said: here too there is 1 gram of sodium. It hurts sodium, not salt. The cookng salt is sodium chloride which is about 60% chloride and 40% sodium.
Hower sodium is not only associated with chloride; for example, one of the most used sweeteners is sodium cyclamate, it is sweet. The baking soda, which we use as a yeast agent, is not salty.