The Nature of Nutrition: A Unifying Framework from Animal Adaptation to Human Obesity Kindle Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0691145655
ISBN-10: 0691145652
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Editorial Reviews


"The geometric framework (GF), introduced into scientific literature a decade ago, brings a new degree of clarity to the discipline of nutrition. Simpson and Raubenheimer highlight species-, habitat-, and tropic-level examples to truly demonstrate the universality of the concepts GF encompasses, providing coherent explanations of numerous interactions and variables--physical, biochemical, chemical, physiological, anatomical--that must be considered when discussing nutrition. . . . The authors successfully demonstrate that nutrition serves as a foundation that integrates the biological sciences."--Choice

"[T]his strikingly well-written book, covering a wide range of issues in nutritional biology, is bound to inspire nutritional scientists, biologists, ecologists as well as medical doctors and nurse practitioners involved in the treatment of nutrition related disease. In addition, I believe that the clear language and enlightening examples allow for the educated layman interested in biology to be astonished by the enormous implications of the nature of nutrition."--Hanno Pijl, American Journal of Human Biology

"A really good read."--Bulletin of the British Ecological Society

"This nicely written synthesis of a vast complex literature is definitive in most aspects. . . . [A] valuable monograph that summarizes important advances in the biology of nutrition."--Caleb E. Finch, Quarterly Review Of Biology

From the Back Cover

"Debates continue to rage about what diet is best, in part because an underlying theoretical framework for choosing one over another has been lacking. Not so any longer. The Nature of Nutrition demystifies the complexity of nutrition and diet choice and shows why people and other creatures eat the way they do. Along the way, readers learn about the adaptive value of cannibalism, the impact of diet on sex lives, how dietary choices affect entire ecosystems, and so much more."--Daniel Rubenstein, Princeton University

"The Nature of Nutrition is a must-read for anyone interested in the role nutrition plays in the survival of the fittest. Starting with the Origin of Species, Simpson and Raubenheimer guide us through the nutritional strategies that maintained reproductive health and mating behaviors despite periods of food shortage and danger from predators. The protein leverage hypothesis provides a solid foundation to explain the growing global epidemic of human obesity."--Eric Ravussin, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Louisiana State University System

"A fascinating and authoritative treatment of nutrition in an ecological and evolutionary framework. Simpson and Raubenheimer's novel perspective crosses disciplines, from the organism to the population to the ecosystem, providing a long-needed unifying framework to what has previously largely been the domain of clinical science."--Simon A. Levin, Princeton University

"This outstanding book provides the first comprehensive theoretical framework for analyzing the roles of nutrition across a huge swath of fields, from ecology and evolution to conservation and human health. The Nature of Nutrition is creative and scholarly yet approachable. I know of no other book like it."--Bernard J. Crespi, Simon Fraser University

"The Nature of Nutrition covers a vast range of issues, from reproduction, immunology, and toxicology to insect migration, population ecology, predator-prey interactions, and ecosystem functioning, as well as applied issues such as conservation biology and human nutritional pathologies. I enjoyed each and every chapter of this excellent book."--Kenneth Wilson, Lancaster University

Product Details

  • File Size: 6363 KB
  • Print Length: 228 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (July 22, 2012)
  • Publication Date: July 22, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,257,326 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Top Customer Reviews

By E. N. Anderson VINE VOICE on August 4, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I got this book hoping to use it in revising my nutritional anthropology book EVERYONE EATS. I'm well grounded in nutrition, so I figured this would be a boring review. What a surprise. The book had me on the edge of my chair. Most of it was new. Not all of it was--I had read many of the studies when they first came out--but the authors' framework let me look at everything with new eyes.
Their synthesizing idea is the Geometrical Framework, basically plotting protein and carbohydrate and sometimes other nutrients to get a graph of the optimal diet for a particular animal (across whatever nutrients the authors are looking at). This is not totally new. It bears a certain resemblance to the linear optimization models and multidimensional scaling long used in some nutrition subdisciplines. Also, they charge optimal foraging theorists with looking only at bulk calories, but at least in anthropology we have been looking at protein and minerals for quite a few years now. But their use of the Geometrical Framework to deal with Darwinian and ecological questions involves some innovative thinking.
Most of what was new and fascinating to me, though, was their work on insects. I study people, and tend to think of insects more as things people eat (more in southeast Asia and Africa than in the US, perhaps) than things that are, themselves, eating. But insect nutrition turns out to be as diverse and amazing as everything else about insects.
Insects choose their optimal diets when given a choice, and as they age and go through metamorphoses they change their needs and thus their preferences. They sometimes have to trade off egg production against longevity.
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Format: Hardcover
In 2003, David Raubenheimer and Stephen Simpson quietly proposed a novel solution to the mystery of the obesity epidemic and coined the term “protein leverage” to re-frame the question of human obesity in terms reflecting animals interacting with their ecology to get the nutrition they need. I say “quietly” because, despite actively searching the obesity literature and attending a wide array of conferences on nutrition science, I’d never heard the term until seven years after their first paper on protein leverage came out. In a series of observations, experiments articles, Simpson, Raubenheimer and colleagues have shown that many species, including humans, regulate food intake by how much protein is needed to maximize health and reproduction. The idea of “leverage” is used to explain the fact that small changes in protein availability can trigger large changes in animal behavior. When protein becomes less available, fruit flies will hold off on mating, humans will overeat and crickets will become cannibals.

In 2012, the two scientists finally put together the major findings regarding protein leverage into a beautiful, readable book titled The Nature of Nutrition-A Unifying Framework from Animal Adaptation to Human Obesity. While the geometric framework is still the centerpiece of their theory, the depth and breadth of the book bring even non-visual and non-mathematical readers to the understanding that protein may be the key to understanding the cause of our weight problems.

This book radically changed my thinking and writing about human obesity. My new book, "What Is Fat For?" relies heavily on the protein leverage hypothesis as a challenge to the currently dominant "Carbs are Bad" over-simplification that is happening in weight counseling. Buy The Nature of Nutrition! Read it. Buy it for a smart friend of yours. Buy it for your doctor. Get it in your library . . . this book needs to be read!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a great book by an intellectual leader in the field of nutrition. Stephen Simpson created the Protein Leverage Hypothesis to explain how subtle changes in the modern food supply has led to overeating and the obesity epidemic.
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