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Atkins or ‘Fadkins? by Karen E. Bledsoe Biology Department Western Oregon University, Monmouth

Read all of Part I: “Macronutrients and Energy’.
When you are finished, answer the following questions:
a) First, find out what nutrients Janine and Mitchell are talking about. Using a biology textbook and the resources listed, describe what the following molecules are and what they are used for in the human body. List some specific examples of each. Also list major dietary sources of each.
a. Proteins b. Carbohydrates c. Fats

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b) Janine made this statement: “… if your brain doesn’t get carbs??”well, glucose, anyway??”you get really cranky. You have to have enough carbs. ” Find out if Janine is right. How does the nervous system use glucose?

c) Janine also said: “If you eat way too much protein and not enough carbs you can ruin your kidneys forever because of all the nitrogen you have to process breaking down the protein. ” Find out if Janine is right about this, too. Check a biology textbook for information on protein, fats, and carbohydrates. To find out how these substances can be used for energy, look up nformation on cellular respiration.

d) The words “calorie” and “energy’ come up a lot in discussions of diet and nutrition. Use a biology textbook to define both of these terms. Then suppose you found a product that was labeled “calorie-free energy drink. ” Why would that label be misleading?

e) Which substances supply energy to the human body?

3. When you are finished, go on to Part II: “Metabolism and Detox”. Read the entire passage. When you are done, answer the following questions:
a) Find out how the mealcal community defines obesity. “What Tactors contribute to obesity?
b) What is “set point theory’? Are toxins involved? Describe how body size and homeostasis are related.
c) What is “metabolism”? What does human metabolism have to do with energy balance and body weight? d) Janine said that increasing muscle mass increases metabolism. Is she right? If so, how does this work? If not, why not? Check a biology textbook for information on the structure of muscle cells for clues.
e) Mitchell said that the herbal product “detoxifies” the body. Janine said it’s a diuretic. Find out what a diuretic is and what effect it has on the body.
f) What body systems remove toxins from the body? What are “toxins,” and where do they come from?

Do toxins really cause you to gain body fat or prevent you from losing weight? g) Body image and dieting go hand-in-hand. When body image is distorted, people can diet to excess. Do you think that Mitchell has a body image problem? What further health problems can result from a body image problem?

4. When you are finished, go on to Part Ill: “Hormones and Homeostasis”. Read the passage and answer the following questions:
a) What is meant by “sugar”? What is a “carbohydrate”? How are sugars and carbohydrates related?
b) Janine mentioned blood sugar levels, which puzzled Mitchell. What does blood have to do with sugar? How do endocrine hormones control blood sugar levels? Why is the homeostasis of sugar balance important for overall body health? Include a brief discussion of diabetes and hypoglycemia in your answer.
c) What other hormones could affect Mitchell’s appetite? Where do these hormones originate, and what are their effects? Use the textbook and the resources from the resource list (NOVA video, Science News article, NIH website) to answer this question. Note that this is a relatively new area of research and new information may arise at any time. d) Why could a low-carb diet cause headaches, fatigue, and carbohydrate cravings?

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