Lesson 33.2: Limitations of the Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load

Definitions: Glycemic index (GI) is a measure of the effect of 50 grams of carbohydrates from a specific food on blood sugar levels. Carbohydrates that are quickly digested release their sugars into the bloodstream rapidly have a high GI. Glycemic load (GL) is calculated by multiplying the GI by the grams of carbohydrate in a…

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Lesson 23: Best Oils For Frying, Baking, and Dressings

Does Heating Oil Change Its Chemical Composition? Oil can be heated up to a certain point with no significant change in chemical composition. The point at which it changes is called its “smoke point,” but this is different for each oil. You’ll find a table listing the smoke points of different oils in Lesson 23.3.…

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Lesson 23.1: Does Heating Oil Denature It?

Does heating oil denature it? Yes, but only if the oil is heated above its smoke point. Above that point, it begins to break down and form a bluish smoke. Its flavor and nutrition are damaged. As the Smoke Point table demonstrates, many oils can tolerate considerable heat before this happens. Virgin olive oil, for…

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Lesson 23.2: How Beneficial Is Coconut Oil?

Coconut oil consists of about 50 percent lauric acid, 18 percent myristic acid, and 8 percent palmitic acid. This adds up to 76 percent of the fat in coconut oil being saturated fat, the kind of fat that raises cholesterol. Is that the whole story? Not quite. The predominant fat, lauric acid, does raise total…

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Lesson 23.3: Smoke Point Table

The smoke point is the temperature at which oil starts to break down, form a bluish smoke, and be damaged in flavor and nutrition. The smoke contains acrolein, which is very irritating to the eyes and throat. Deep fat frying requires oil with a high smoke point, typically about 350-375° F (175-190° C). Refined oils…

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Lesson 17.1: Four Reasons To Juice Vegetables

by Trevor Justice and Vesanto Melina When it comes to fruit and vegetable consumption, here’s what the National Cancer Institute has to say: “People whose diets are rich in plant foods such as fruits and vegetables have a lower risk of getting cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, stomach, lung, and there is some…

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Lesson 14.11: Getting Enough Protein?

How much protein do vegan and lacto-ovo vegetarian adults need? The recommended protein intake (RDA) for adults is 0.8 grams protein per kilogram of body weight per day (g/kg/day).[1] This RDA includes a significant safety margin and exceeds the needs of most people. Although the RDA is not different for those who choose vegetarian, vegan…

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Lesson 14.12: Amino Acids and Complementary Proteins: Let’s Set The Record Straight!

What’s the story with complete and incomplete proteins? In the early 1970’s Frances Moore Lappé wrote about a need to combine “incomplete proteins” in the same meal. Many people got the impression that it was helpful to classify foods as either “complete proteins” (better) or “incomplete proteins” (worse). Ten years later, Ms. Lappé retracted her…

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Lesson 14.13: A Protein Paradox: Most Vegetables Are High in Protein But Low in Calories

Your caloric intake may range between 1,600 and 2,800 calories per day. Intake for an average adult is considered to be 2,000 calories. The table below lists a variety of plant foods, and for each, the percentage of calories that comes from protein. Notice that the percentages for legumes and green leafy vegetables are similar.…

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Lesson 14.2: How To Absorb More Protein From Fibrous Plant Foods

Vegans are often slim; is this due to less muscle mass or protein intake? Vegans typically have less body fat (and are slimmer) than lacto-ovo vegetarians and omnivores. Is this good news or bad news? Let’s begin with two large studies which found that the average vegan’s body size is healthier, rather than underweight… the…

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