Fractionated Nutrients vs Whole Foods
- December 9, 2022
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By Judith DeCava, CNC, LNC [Adapted with permission from Nutrition News and Views, May/June 2006]
Foods nourish. And foods heal. Healing properties of foods continue to be discovered. Yet most scientists hold to a drug model: If foods are good for you, then we must discover the compound or molecule in each food that “works.” A tiny, supposedly “active,” portion is separated from the food, often copied synthetically, and used to suppress a symptom. Is it forgotten that nature’s products are never the sum of their parts? Studies persistently show that real whole foods “work,” but disconnected or manufactured portions do not – or merely work as weak drugs. Drugs reduce symptoms by stimulating or suppressing a segment of metabolism or a biochemical process. They basically mask rather than address the cause. They do not feed the body or aid health to an optimal extent.
Scientists claim there is no difference between separated, manufactured nutrients and natural food complexes, that the body does not know the difference. If you took a stalk of broccoli or a leaf of spinach and brought it to a laboratory, the stalk or leaf could be analyzed into an extensive list of component elements, some of which could be imitated in the laboratory. You would come away with a few chemical compounds, but you would not come away with a stalk of broccoli or a leaf of spinach. You would not be able to reassemble the vegetable from all its identified elements; you would not even have a complete list of all its components.
Real nature-produced foods consist of complicated, balanced ecological systems. Technology can identify some parts, but it cannot tell us the exact mechanisms by which all the intricate interrelated systems come about or the exact delicate, complex structures that make them possible. The questions remain: What are we missing? How does it all function together? Unless a person is eating plenty of real whole foods or supplementing with whole foods concentrates, (s)he comes up short and is missing the synergy of nutrients available only in whole foods. Scientists are discovering whole classes of nutrients that were not detected before or had been ignored as unimportant and later found to be precious. The recognized value of any “new” nutrient is limited by available technology and understanding of human biochemistry. But nature is still smarter than – and not as limited as – modern science.