Yesterday I posted a technical white paper titled *The Nutritional Density Ratio Dilemma: Developing a Scale for Nutritional Value*, (http://www.peerevaluation.org/read/libraryID:29132) which actually generated a lot more interest than I had originally expected. Less than I had hoped for, but more than I expected, because it is a mathematical analysis of nutrition, and surprisingly a lot of people don’t seem to care for math. Yet the reason for the sudden interest is probably because people need to have the world around them make sense, and right now it doesn’t. Mainstream media often tell the world two diametrically opposing things: hunger and malnutrition have reached epidemic proportions, and childhood and adult obesity have reached epidemic proportions. Sadly, both are simultaneously true, but how can that be?

Intuitively one may think this is a sociological problem where the rich get fat and the poor starve. In fact a clever researcher may even be able to find that such a situation is what they would call “positively correlated,” meaning that statistically there may well be more fat people with adequate financial resources and more malnourished people with inadequate financial resources, but such a correlation shows only . . . a correlation. Without getting into the math, a correlation does not show a relationship or a cause and effect, it can only suggest those sorts of things, and thereby call for more research.

The actual problem is, we don’t really know what we are eating! In other words, the problem is nutritional information and nutritional knowledge. Rich or poor, all we can deduce is that on the whole we are apparently eating the wrong stuff in the wrong amounts. One can have enough to eat, to feel full (satiated) and still be malnourished, or not have enough to eat and still be overweight. Largely this is caused by lack of knowledge about nutrition. That is a fixable problem, simply be learning more about the subject. Read materials on nutrition, speak to a specialist, and consider what and how much you eat in relation to your age, gender and average amount of physical activity.

That’s all well and good. But you can stare at the side of that cereal box or food package all day, and it isn’t going to tell you how many Units of Nutrition per ounce or per gram it has. In fact I challenge you to do so, and write to me if I am wrong! It may tell you how many calories per serving, the daily percentage of vitamins, minerals and even fiber it contains, but it isn’t going to tell you the number of Units of Nutrition! Why? Because such a scale doesn’t exist, at least not entirely, and even the part that does wasn’t made available publically until yesterday.

Most people could not tell you want a calorie is to save their life, and fewer still could define it for you in its actual scientific and mathematical terms. For most people a calorie is just a number, and they have a vague idea that there is some specific number of them needed to remain between malnourished and obese. A few may even know what that number is. The reason for this general lack of knowledge about what constitutes a calorie is because it is complicated. It requires a basic understand of physics and some rudimentary math. So it is just accepted as a number. Yet the development of the scale of the unit Calorie was not just plucked out of thin air. It was mathematically derived.

And so it shall be with the Unit of Nutrition. It will have to be mathematically derived. Fear not! You will not have to then learn advanced calculus to know if what you are eating is nutritious. However, that said, you may need to know how to do simple division, unless the Nutritional Density Ratio becomes mandated on packaging.

The Nutritional Density Ratio is nothing more than the amount of nutrition in a unit of food divided by the number of calories it contains. Most fifth graders could do that . . . if they had a Unit of Nutrition for the numerator, but they don’t, because it doesn’t fully exist yet.

You can look up what units like the angstrom, the parsec, the quanta and yes even the calorie are, but somehow for all of our mathematical, physics and chemistry genius we have simply neglected to define a Unit of Nutrition. You can read on a package how many calories a food has, how much fat, how much trans-fat (if you’ve had some biochemistry you may even know the difference), how many vitamins and how much fiber, but nobody has stopped to ask how that all adds up to some unified value for a Unit of Nutrition! Until a significant number of people in the scientific community start to embrace this problem, and set out to solve it, or at the very least set out to prove me wrong, it will never be answered . . . because I simply cannot do it entirely on my own. Not until we have a definitive Unit of Nutrition will we have a Nutritional Density Ratio, and until then, people will remain malnourished or over nourished.

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