Jean-Louis Tu wrote:
> Hi Ellie,
> thanks for your comments, and welcome to the list.
> > I am not an organic chemist, but have some experience in research in
> > biochemisty, and had some colleagues who were organic chemists. My
> > understanding of how organic reactions occur is that there is a
> > theoretical equilibrium constant for all organic reations, so that when
> > two molecules exist together, a reaction may start at any temperature.
> > Heat or sun merely speed up the reaction, so that a temp. of 105F isn't a
> > point at which Maillard's molecules suddenly form.
> I am afraid I forgot most of the few notions of chemistry I ever had,
> but what I remember is that if A, B, C, D are electrolytes in
> solution, and the reaction is A+B --> C+D, the concentrations at
> equilibrium satisfy a law of the type K=([C]^c[D]^d)/([A]^a[B]^b).
> But not all chemical reactions are on that model (and the proteins in
> food are not in solution). For instance, take combustion
> X+O2 --> CO2+H2O+NO2+energy+... (X can be a protein, a sugar, a
> cow...) That reaction occurs when enough energy has been brought (a
> barrier of potential has to be crossed); but if you mix
> CO2+H2O+NO2+... you will never get a protein or an animal (for reasons
> of entropy).
Thanks for that feedback. If molecule X is a protein wouldn't it go
through many stages in oxidation before becoming CO2, H2O and NO2? Do you
think if a food is slighly digested by its own enzymes in the process of
warming, etc. , that some proteins might be broken down into poypetides,
and would then be in solution in the fluid of the food and might react,
e.g. the amino groups with sugars, forming a small amount of Maillard's
> And even if all the molecules present in bread were present in raw
> wheat, the immune system may only have the ability to eliminate the
> tiny amount of abnormal molecules that are naturally present.
Makes sense to me, hopefully only a few Maillard's molecules are formed,
and we may be adapted to them.
> > Unless we have leaky guts, proteins don't enter the blood stream except
> > maybe a few dipeptides or small polypeptides. Whether we are adapted to a
> > protein food would depend on whether we have enough specific hydrolytic
> > enzymes to break the peptide linkages in that protein, not whether our
> > own protein is similar to that of the animal we eat (Burger's
> > theory).
> Theoretically, given the fact that 20 amino-acids exist, the number of
> possible hexapeptides is 20^6=64000000, which is quite a lot. Maybe we
> are genetically adapted to those which come from "original" food, but
> our immune system is not able to eliminate cow's milk's polypeptides,
> which are 1] non "original" 2] too close from our own proteins to be
> recognized as foreign.
Again, hopefully we don't have such leaky guts that too many polypeptides
get through, and that mostly only the amino acids we need are cirulating
in our blood. I'm not aware that the body ever uses polypetides in
building protein. I surely will study up on that when I get a chance.
> Alas, a food is more complex than a collection of amino-acids. I am
> not sure all the gluten-intolerants find raw wheat particularly
> bad; our tastebuds are not designed to recognize non original proteins.
I am sure in awe and respect of that comment. My physiology book says tha
unlike most receptors, adaptation of taste occurs in the central nervous
system rather than at the recpetors of tastebuds. The CNS is capable of
detecting the ratios of stimulation of the different types of taste buds,
i.e. most taste buds respond to the four taste stimuli to varying
extents. The possibilities are endless, and the CNS might be able to
compute which foods are not fit for us. It's beyond my understanding, but
I don't doubt it's designed to protect us, as long as it's functioning
My best, Ellie