Since this was the first week of classes, most of what we covered was a review of basic concepts and terms. So some of this is not really newly learned so much as newly reminded. Some of the things I learned in class and a few are from conversations with my professors.
1) Homeostasis (dynamic equilibrium maintained within the body) is a freaking amazing thing. Your body is constantly checking and balancing itself. Homeostasis is not a static process but one that is constantly working and tweaking.
2) In the developed world we are not really at risk for deficiency diseases (those arising from the lack of certain nutrients, frequently vitamins and minerals. Think scurvy or pellagra) anymore. Of course they can happen but they are not the primary focus of nutrition these days, instead it is to promote wellness and address chronic diseases (think type 2 diabetes or obesity.)
3) Nutrition needs to be accounted for over time. One meal or even a couple may not show a nutritional issue, but consistency over enough time might result in health problems. This can make studying nutrition extremely difficult.
4) Human bias can play a role in scientific findings – experiments can be designed to only show a desired outcome, findings can be modified to only show a desired outcome, finding can be left out to only show a desired outcome. If you can, check the parameters of the experiment yourself.
5) Many modern diets make recommendations based on our current overconsumption of certain foods, which throws our proportions out of whack. These diets are then in turn overcorrecting for poor nutritional choices and also need to be modified.
6) The words carbohydrate, fat, and protein are misused and misunderstood in nutritional contexts all the time. You need to define your terms. People bring their own bias and understanding to these words, so you need to be clear about what you mean when you use them.
We also covered things about anatomical language and what significant figures are in science, but I don’t think you all really want to hear about that!
Is any of this new to you? Do you want me to clarify or expand on anything? What did you learn this week?