Nutrition Nutrition, Digestion and Weight Gain

Healthy nutrition always mean healthy digestion and sustainable weight. Here is how our body works and negatively reacts to specific food!


What we are made of

The average 70 kilogram adult human contains detectable traces of at least 60 elements. There are eleven elements considered to be vital. Also, there are traces of some that are thought to be toxic to the body. And they are in large amounts. Almost 99% of mass of the human body is made up of the following six elements: oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, carbon phosphorus and calcium. About 0.85% of another 5 elements, potassium, sodium, chlorine, magnesium, and sulfur make up the rest. These 11 elements are considered vital.

There are about 29 elements considered to play a role for positive well being and health in human beings. As long as a person eats well and foods contain all ingredients, minerals and vitamins of a well balanced diet, their body will make sufficient energy to fuel our day to day.


Minerals cannot be made up of living systems. Plants obtain minerals from the soil, so most of the them in our diet comes directly from plants or indirectly from animal sources. Foods with a high mineral content are: legumes (vegetables containing pods), milk and milk products. Refined foods such as cereals, bread, fats and sugary food contain hardly and minerals.

The body’s prime source of energy is glucose, obtained by the breakdown of carbohydrates in the diet. During stamina exercise, distance swimming, running, cycling etc, the body uses fat as a reserve of stored energy. Fatty acids are also used by the body for energy whenever glucose is not available in carbohydrate from. This energy is called lipolysis. Lipolysis is one example of human body’s day to day needs.


The body uses vitamins, 13 of them for growth, maintenance and repair. Long term deficiencies often caused by intestinal disorders or alcoholism can lead to series disease. A balanced diet provides a perfect mix of water, vitamins and minerals in a form the body can easily use. All 13 vitamins are essential for life.

Fat from food must be absorbed into the body’s cells to release energy. It moves through the intestine and lymphatic system before reaching the blood.

The process of digestion in the human body

Digestion is the process in which the complex chemicals in food are broken down into smaller chemicals that can be absorbed into the body. It takes place in the alimentary canal which is made up of the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small and large intestine and the rectum. Digestion begins in the mouth and stomach. However, it is in the small intestine that most of the digestive process takes place. This part is divided into three sections: the duodenum, jejunum and ileum.


The length of the intestine is 6.5 meters. The duodenum is about 25 cm long. This is where material from stomach is mixed with juices. The jejunum is about 2.5 meters long and merges with the ileum which makes up the rest of the small intestine.

Food moves along the bowel with by muscular contraction (also known as peristalsis). The process continues into the small intestine. The main role of the jejunum and ileum is to absorb nutrients the products of digestion into the body. Stomach stores and breaks up food.

Other organs vital to digestion

Although liver is not actually part of the digestive tract, it is still vital for the digestion of food, along with the pancreas and the gall bladder. The liver is the body chemical unit for the processing of the products of digestion.

Saliva in the mouth is made up of three pair of glands. Saliva secretes from in the face and neck, it surrounds the chewed food lubricating it to move down the esophagus. It contains a chemical called lysozyme (acts as a disinfectant) and enzyme called ptyali (begins the process of digesting certain starches). Ptyali splits starches into disaccharide sugars, such as dextrose and maltose.

Foods that contribute to our weight negatively

Sugary drinks

Artificially flavoured/ coloured drinks such as Ribena, Oh! Sparkling, Coca-Cola etc. and flavoured drinks do not quench thirst. They add a large amount of sugar to the body in very short amount of time.

An acceptable substitute of water is coconut water for electrolyte replacement before or after exhaustion. Especially at times when the body loses lots of salts and minerals through extreme sweating. However, there is no real substitute like that of water. Every cell in the body needs water.

Potato Chips

Chips like Kettles Ready Salted, provide absolutely no nutritional value. They are useless carbohydrates that make you thirsty and leave you feeling unsatisfied in hunger. Potato chips usually make you hungry for more potato chips because of the added salt. They are easily reached for when hungry and busy.

A good alternative to potato chips is a snack you can have quickly. For example, carrots, cucumber and celery can be easily reached and require minimal preparation to be eaten. They can be rinsed clean and eaten whole as they are, or chopped into bite size pieces.

White Bread

It is made from refined flour and is extremely low in protein and fiber. It has an extremely high glycemic index lifting the blood pressure dramatically in a small amount of time. A healthy alternative would be to replace your bread with a whole meal option, with more fiber and protein content.

Overall, bread intake should be cut right back as all kinds of breads contain only a small amount of protein and fiber. It will leave you feeling full. However, bread not a good source of energy as it has a lot of useless carbohydrates, or empty calories. This makes it low on the list of good fuel food.

Processed Meats

These are meats such as bacon, salami and deli meat. All of these contain considerable amounts of fats and nitrites. They are particularly unhealthy additive. Consumption of these foods increases your risk of developing a cardiovascular disease.

A better alternative to processed meats would be to choose a cut of meat that has been handled by humans a lot less. A more organic cut of meat would be nice for digestion and will provide the body with vitamins and minerals such as iron.

A helpful tip: when consuming a heavy in iron meal, try to include a small amount of vitamin C as this aids the body in absorption of iron. This is extremely helpful for the body if you suffer from a blood disorder like anemia.

Alcoholic drinks

These effect nutrition and weight loss by constricting your metabolism. High calories in alcoholic drinks are not available to our muscles. Alcohol calories are not converted into glycogen. Instead, it is converted to acetaldehyde, a carcinogenic molecule in the body. The body treats alcohol as fat converting alcohol sugars into fatty acids. This would prove to be detrimental to weight loss and the very best alternative to alcohol would be water.


Pasta has 200 calories, 7 grams of protein, 40 grams of carbohydrates and 2 grams of fiber to every cup of pasta. For a more positive effect in weight loss, a better substitute would be to opt for boiled potatoes. Potatoes have a lot less calories (80-150 calories in a 100 gram serving) and 1.71 grams in protein, 20,01 in carbohydrates and 0.10 grams in fat.

What do you think?