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Module 8: Food Chemistry, Nutrition, and Traditional Foods. Food : Any substances that can be metabolized by an organism to give energy and build tissue Types : Carbohydrates, Proteins, Fats & Oils Others : Vitamins, Minerals, Salts. Molecules of Food: Carbohydrates. 6-C rings, 5-C rings

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module 8 food chemistry nutrition and traditional foods

Module 8: Food Chemistry, Nutrition, and Traditional Foods

Food: Any substances that can be metabolized by an organism to give energy and build tissue

Types: Carbohydrates, Proteins, Fats & Oils

Others: Vitamins, Minerals, Salts

molecules of food carbohydrates
Molecules of Food: Carbohydrates
  • 6-C rings, 5-C rings
  • Mono-saccharides (sugar, fructose) Dissacharides (lactose, sucrose) Polysaccharides (starch, fibre, glycogen)
  • Carbohydrates are assimilated in the body as “mono-saccharides” following digestion
glucose body s primary fuels
Glucose: Body’s Primary Fuels

Lactic Acid + ATP + H2O



(Branched polymers for short-term storage in liver)


(monomers) (soluble)

Pyruvic Acid CO2 + H20 + ATP


  • Glucose level in blood stream is highly regulated
  • Aerobic respiration is releasing 90% of the energy stored in glucose

Anaerobic Metabolism

Aerobic Metabolism

Pyruvic Acid CO2 + H20 + 32ATP

molecules of food lipids and fats
Molecules of Food: Lipids and Fats

Fats: Large biological molecules, diverse compositions, insoluble in water (i.e. non-polar in nature)


  • Fatty acids (assimilable form)
  • Triglycerides (in blood)
  • Phospholipids (cell membranes)
  • Sterols (e.g. cholesterol)


  • Source of energy (during sustained activity)
  • Structure of cell membrane
free fatty acids one chain
Free Fatty Acids (one chain)
  • Saturated
  • Unsaturated (e.g. Omega-3, Omega-6)
fatty acids
Fatty Acids
  • Long-chain fatty acids (12+ carbons) are abundant in meats and fish
  • Short-chain fatty acids (12 carbons or less) are abundant in dairy products
  • Cold-water fish are rich in essential omega fatty acids
  • Unsaturated fatty acids, when cooked, change conformation to a “trans” shape (which tend to accumulate in blood vessels)
  • Unsaturated fats are more prone to react with oxygen, causing rancidity (common in stored fish)
  • Phospholipids are “modified” triglycerides where one fatty acid chain is replaced by a phosphate group
  • Soluble in water
  • Important in cell membrane
  • Multiple rings of carbon
  • Best-known sterols: cholesterol (the building block for all other sterols)
  • Bile acids, some hormones, Vitamin C


Sitosterol (the most abundant and common plant sterol)

absorption of lipids
Absorption of Lipids
  • Fat breakdown occurs in intestines
  • Smaller units: fatty acids, glycerol, and sterols
  • Cholesterol and triglycerides are non-polar, hence need “lipoproteins” to carry them in the bloodstream
molecules of food proteins
Molecules of Food: Proteins
  • Chains of Amino Acids
  • Diverse roles: enzymes, hormones, regulators, molecular transports, antibodies, building tissue like muscles, and energy
  • Made up of C, H, O, N, other ions
amino acids
Amino Acids
  • Four components around a central carbon (C)
  • One hydrogen
  • An amino group (-NH2)
  • An acid (-COOH)
  • A functional group


amino acids18
Amino Acids

Essential Amino Acid: Leucine

Non-essential Amino Acid: Asparagine

molecules of food vitamins
Molecules of Food: Vitamins
  • Essential organic compounds to ensure proper metabolism
  • Little caloric value
  • Water-soluble vitamins (enter directly into bloodstream)
  • Fat-soluble vitamins (must be transported by carrier proteins)
  • Several diseases are associated with vitamin deficiencies
subsistence food provisioning
Subsistence Food Provisioning
  • Nutrition for indigenous people in the Arctic is changing rapidly; from 100% to <50% “country food”.
  • Presence of larger communities, presence of “Co-op” or “Bay” stores, and an increasing cash economy contribute to changes in feeding habits.
  • Lastly, hunting activities are costly when modern technologies are used  the “pay off” of traditional food provisioning is decreasing.

Subsistence activities: The hunting, fishing, and gathering of local foods for consumption, sharing, and trade or barter.

e.g. caribou, whales, seals, marine birds, waterfowls, eggs, fruits (largely a carnivore diet)

Note: Commercial trapping or fishing is generally not viewed as traditional food gathering; although they could be traditional activities.

example of subsistence food economy
Example of Subsistence Food Economy

Inupiat households in Barrow, Alaska

production vs sharing
Production vs. Sharing
  • Food provisioning is crucial, but sharing is an intricate part of subsistence
  • Sharing touches upon all members of a community, and represents a way of establishing and maintaining ties to family and within the community at large (e.g. support of elders, non-hunting members)
  • Sharing is viewed as part of the “culture” of indigenous society