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The Nature of NutritionA Unifying Framework from Animal Adaptation to Human Obesity$
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Stephen J. Simpson and David Raubenheimer

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691145655

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691145655.001.0001

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The Geometry of Human Nutrition

The Geometry of Human Nutrition

(p.167) Ten The Geometry of Human Nutrition
The Nature of Nutrition

Stephen J. Simpson

David Raubenheimer

Princeton University Press

This chapter explores the methods of nutritional geometry on the modern human diet, applying the geometric approach to an analysis of a key aspect of human nutrition: the topical subject of human obesity. This analysis leads to three conclusions. First, the available evidence suggests that humans can regulate macronutrient intake, but that the intake target contains a built-in component for fat storage. Failure to use this stored fat promotes obesity. Second, when humans are faced with imbalanced diets, protein intake is prioritized. When the ratio of protein to carbohydrate in the diet is lower than optimal, it is easier to gain the required amount of protein—and hence overconsume fat and carbohydrate—when foods are high in energy density, present in great variety, and easily available throughout the day. Lastly, the regulation of nutrient intake in humans has evolved “assuming” a higher level of energetic expenditure than is usual today.

Keywords:   nutritional geometry, modern human diet, human nutrition, human obesity, macronutrient intake, stored fat, imbalanced diets, protein intake, energetic expenditure

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