What's in Food?

Internal wellness begins with what we put into our bodies to fuel them.  It is essential to have an understanding of what our food consists of and why certain foods are better than others.

Consider our food as grouped into carbohydrates, fats and protein, vitamins, minerals, fibre and water (all classified due to their molecular structures), and what these do in the body.

Carbohydrates are essential to provide glucose to the brain and nervous system. The body will convert protein to carbohydrates when carb stores are low. (i.e. when less that 100 to 150 g/day are consumed. This is known as ketosis. Carbohydrates are also used as the primary fuel for muscles in the first 20 minutes of exercise and to maintain metabolic processes including the breakdown of free fatty acids. They have 2 basic forms
  1. Complex(such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains).  They have slower and longer effects on blood sugar levels to allow the body to use them for energy for longer periods.  They are great sources of fibre, minerals and vitamins.
  2. Refined(such as soft drinks, lollies, chocolate and white bread).  They have many calories with minimal nutritional value.  They raise the blood sugar quickly making you feel great but then drop quickly to provide a hypoglycaemic effect of tiredness, dizziness, irritability and decreased mood.  It is refined carbs that create carb addictions with withdrawal symptoms leading to cravings for more refined carbs.  It’s also these that lead to insulin resistance.

Carbohydrates are rated on the way they raise blood glucose levels in the body. This is known as the glycaemic index.

Fats are energy storage molecules and contain vitamin A, D, E and K. They are used in exercise of longer than 20 minute duration at medium intensity. There are 3 basic forms
1.Simple fats (triglycerides) have 2 groups

Saturated fatty acids (from animal fats such as meat, egg yolks, dairy and shell fish) and

Unsaturated (from plants such as corn, olive, sunflower and peanuts.

2. Compound fats 

are simple fats combined with other chemicals such as phospholipids(seen in cell membranes) and lipoproteins(transport molecules in the blood).  The lipoproteins are important as they are commonly tested on lipid/cholesterol tests that GPs perform.  Lipoproteins are of 3 classes; high density (HDL), low density (LDL) and very low density (VLDL). The HDLs are the good lipoproteins that take cholesterol away from blood vessel walls to the liver where they are broken down by bile and excreted into the intestines.  Exercise can increase HDL’s.  LDL’s are ‘bad’ lipoproteins  as they carry cholesterol through the body allowing it to deposit in arteries. 

3. Derived fats 

are combinations of simple and compound fats eg. Cholesterol.  Not all cholesterol is bad as the body does need some cholesterol to make sex hormones and vitamin D. Its having too much that makes its dangerous.

Proteins are the third nutrient and are arguably the most important. They comprise of amino acids (i.e. the building blocks of nature.  They make hormones and enzymes, maintain water and acid balance, carry oxygen in the blood, maintain growth and repair cells/tissue. and provide 10 to 15% of total energy in prolonged exercise.  Proteins constitute 50% of dry body weight. There are 2 types – essential and non-essential.  Essential amino acids cannot be made by the body and must be ingested while non-essential ones can be synthesized from essential amino acids. They must be in correct amounts in the body to allow the body to function.  They are derived from animal products.  Some grains and beans have proteins but usually lack one or more essential amino acids.
Vitamins allow fats, carbohydrates and proteins to release energy essential for the formation of red blood cells, connective tissue and DNA production. Deficiencies cause the body’s biochemical processes to fail causing diseases. Some vitamins are strong anti-oxidants that bind dangerous free radicals that move around the body damaging tissues. There are 2 types of vitamins
  1. Water soluble include vitamins C, B1, B2, B6, B12, folic acid, panthanoic acid and biotin. Deficiencies can occur within only 2 – 4 weeks, but excesses are eliminated in urine.
  2. Fat soluble include vitamins A, D, E and K. Deficiencies are rare but becoming more common while excesses of A and D can cause be toxic to the body.

Minerals are enzymes or co-enzymes aiding in cellular and energy metabolism, allow muscle and nerve conduction and act to maintain the acid/base balance in body fluids. They are also used in teeth, bone, haemoglobin, protein and hormone synthesis. There are 6 major minerals; calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, potassium, sodium and chloride. The body requires in excess of 100mg per day of these minerals per day. Trace minerals need less that 100mg per day. There are 14 of these in the body; chromium, cobalt, copper, fluoride, iodine, iron, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, selenium, silicon, tin, vanadium and zinc.
Fibre provides bulk to stools to remove toxins, soak up fats, reduce appetite, and reduce the risk of colon cancers. There are two types of fibre. Water soluble fibre (beans and oats) acts to bind fats to reduce cholesterol, while water insoluble fibre (wheat) adds bulk. The body needs 25 to 40 grams of insoluble/soluble fibre is every day.
Water is essential for life. Two-thirds of the body’s composition is water as is 85% of the brain. Water is essential for digestion, absorption, circulation and excretion. It regulates body temperature, lubricates joints, moisturizes skin and maintains muscle. The body requires 8 to 10 glasses daily.

Just a note on vitamin and mineral supplementation

There is much controversy regards supplementation being a waste of money. This would be true if we ate fresh food from the garden which had no pesticide exposure and a high soil nutrient content.  Nowadays, this is an unlikely situation and so for efficient body functions to occur supplementation is essential.  However, many of the over the counter preparations consist of low doses with low grade ingredients.  The result is that you need more to get the desired effect.  So when choosing supplements select only high grade, concentrated products. These will be cost effective.  Your anti-aging doctor should be aware of these and can make recommendations.  Ask what they use for themselves and their families!


The glycaemic index (GI) is a rating of carbohydrate foods from 0 to 100 indicating how these foods raise blood glucose levels in the body when eaten. This is important when dealing with insulin resistance and diabetes as those foods with lower GI require less insulin to control blood glucose rises.

The GI rating is not the only factor in choosing suitable carbohydrates in a diet. Generally the slower the digestion the better the glycaemic control as well as appetite control. Factors that slow digestion of carbohydrates include

  1. the type of starch
  2. increasing particle size
  3. choosing less ripe fruit
  4. less cooking and processing of food
  5. water soluble fibre
  6. the type of sugar chosen, eg; fruit sugars digest slower that sucrose
  7. adding fat and protein
  8. increasing the acidity eg; adding lemon or vinegar

The amount of carbohydrate is equally important as the type.  This is indicated by the glycaemic load calculated as

Glycaemic load = 

GI of food  x  amount of carb in a normal serving


In this case

> 20 high

11 – 19 medium

< 10 low

The ideal GI food is high in fibre and low in fat.

A point of importance in reference to diets is the use of the word ‘diet’ itself.  To many this word implies temporary eating changes to produce a desired effect, usually weight loss.  I prefer to use the word ‘lifestyle eating plans’, as it is only long term changes that will provide satisfactorily lasting results.  The word diet in this context simply means an eating plan.

All anti-aging diets, i.e. lifestyle eating plans, should be tailored to the individual.  However some basic rules can be applied.

They should be balanced with


Complex carbs



50 to 60%

20 to 30%

15 to 20%

Calorie intake should be around 1800/day for the average 70kg moderately active person.

This balance will change depending upon exercise, insulin resistance and maximizing the use of growth hormone.     

Domenic Pisanelli

Domenic Pisanelli

Domenic Pisanelli is a qualified Naturopath and has helped hundreds of people regain their health back as an experienced naturopath with over 18 years of clinical experience.

Privacy Policy

This privacy policy sets out how we (Vital Health and Natural Medicine) uses and protects any information that you give us when using this website.

Vital Health and Natural Medicine is committed to ensuring that your privacy is protected. Should we ask you to provide certain information by which you can be identified when using this website, then you can be assured that it will only be used in accordance with this privacy statement.

Vital Health and Natural Medicine may change this policy from time to time by updating this page. You should check this page from time to time to ensure that you are happy with any changes. This policy is effective from January 1st 2012.

We may collect the following information:

  • name and job title
  • contact information including email address
  • demographic information such as postcode, preferences and interests
  • other information relevant to customer surveys and/or offers


What we do with the information we gather

We require this information to understand your needs and provide you with a better service, and in particular for the following reasons:

  • Internal record keeping.
  • We may use the information to improve our products and services.
  • We may periodically send promotional emails about new products, special offers or other information which we think you may find interesting using the email address which you have provided.
  • From time to time, we may also use your information to contact you for market research purposes. We may contact you by email, phone, fax or mail. We may use the information to customise the website according to your interests.


We are committed to ensuring that your information is secure. In order to prevent unauthorised access or disclosure, we have put in place suitable physical, electronic and managerial procedures to safeguard and secure the information we collect online.

Our Policy for Protecting Your Online Privacy

This website uses Google Analytics to help analyse how users use the site. The tool uses “cookies,” which are text files placed on your computer, to collect standard Internet log information and visitor behaviour information in an anonymous form. The information generated by the cookie about your use of the website (including IP address) is transmitted to Google. This information is then used to evaluate visitors of the website and to compile statistical reports on website activity for MyVitalHealthSolutions.com.au.

We will never (and will not allow any third party to) use the statistical analytics tool to track or to collect any Personally Identifiable Information (PII) of visitors to our site. Google will not associate your IP address with any other data held by Google. Neither we nor Google will link, or seek to link, an IP address with the identity of a computer user. We will not associate any data gathered from this site with any Personally Identifiable Information from any source, unless you explicitly submit that information via a fill-in form on our website.

How we use cookies

A cookie is a small file which asks permission to be placed on your computer’s hard drive. Once you agree, the file is added and the cookie helps analyse web traffic or lets you know when you visit a particular site. Cookies allow web applications to respond to you as an individual. The web application can tailor its operations to your needs, likes and dislikes by gathering and remembering information about your preferences.

We use traffic log cookies to identify which pages are being used. This helps us analyse data about webpage traffic and improve our website in order to tailor it to customer needs. We only use this information for statistical analysis purposes and then the data is removed from the system.

Overall, cookies help us provide you with a better website by enabling us to monitor which pages you find useful and which you do not. A cookie in no way gives us access to your computer or any information about you, other than the data you choose to share with us.

You can choose to accept or decline cookies. Most web browsers automatically accept cookies, but you can usually modify your browser setting to decline cookies if you prefer. This may prevent you from taking full advantage of the website.

Links to other websites

Our website may contain links to other websites of interest. However, once you have used these links to leave our site, you should note that we do not have any control over that other website. Therefore, we cannot be responsible for the protection and privacy of any information which you provide whilst visiting such sites and such sites are not governed by this privacy statement. You should exercise caution and look at the privacy statement applicable to the website in question.

Controlling your personal information

You may choose to restrict the collection or use of your personal information in the following ways:

  • whenever you are asked to fill in a form on the website, look for the box that you can click to indicate that you do not want the information to be used by anybody for direct marketing purposes
  • if you have previously agreed to us using your personal information for direct marketing purposes, you may change your mind at any time by writing to or emailing us at 

We will not sell, distribute or lease your personal information to third parties unless we have your permission or are required by law to do so (we hate spam as much as you do… probably more). We may use your personal information to send you promotional information about third parties which we think you may find interesting if you tell us that you wish this to happen.

You may request details of personal information which we hold about you under the Data Protection Act 1998. A small fee will be payable. If you would like a copy of the information held on you please write to info@myvitalhealth.com.au

If you believe that any information we are holding on you is incorrect or incomplete, please write to or email us as soon as possible at the above address. We will promptly correct any information found to be incorrect.