Almased Lexicon

In our lexicon we explain technical terms that are used in nutritional science, biology or medicine.

Technical terms from research and science are usually not self-explanatory. With a click in our lexicon you will know more about terms that you often encounter in connection with healthy nutrition, metabolic processes, obesity and diabetes.

The acid-base balance (pH) is a physiological control circuit that keeps the pH of the blood (relatively) constant in the slightly alkaline range between 7.35 and 7.45. If the value is lower, one speaks of acidosis (acidification), if it is higher, it is called alkalosis.

Acid is produced in many metabolic processes: carbonic acid when breathing, amino acids when breaking down food, lactic acid when working muscles, uric acid when breaking down proteins. We also absorb acids with food. In principle, the pH is regulated via metabolism (excretion via the intestines and kidneys) or via respiration (CO2 exhalation via the lungs). If the detoxification organs are overwhelmed, acidic waste products are excreted through the skin.

If there are too few alkaline substances (e.g. magnesium) in the food and the body's alkaline reserves are exhausted, the acids remain in the body. They are then mainly stored in the collagen fibers of the connective tissue and in the adipose tissue. Tissue pH gradually decreases and eventually becomes acidic. The natural acid-base balance is permanently disturbed, and the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the cells is impaired. The consequences of chronic hyperacidity affect the entire organism and promote various diseases.

Synonyms: pH

Adiponectin is a messenger substance from the group of adipokines. It is mainly produced in the body's fat cells (adipocytes) and has several functions, including blood sugar regulation: Adiponectin inhibits the production of glucose in the liver and promotes the absorption of blood sugar into muscle tissue. Adiponectin can thus counteract the development of type 2 diabetes. Diabetics have lower levels of adiponectin.


Obesity ("obesity", "obesity") is a chronic disease that is associated with a reduced quality of life and a high risk of complications such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and even cancer. Their causes are manifold. Basically, if the amount of energy consumed regularly and over a long period of time exceeds the energy requirement or consumption (positive energy balance), overweight and obesity will result.

The WHO (World Health Organization) determines obesity according to the body mass index (BMI): A person with a BMI of 30 or more is considered obese or obese.

In general:
• BMI below 18.5 = underweight
• BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 = normal weight
• BMI between 25 and 29.9 = overweight
• BMI from 30 = obesity, grade I
• BMI value from 35 = obesity Grade II
• BMI value from 40 = extreme obesity grade III

Synonyms: obesity, obesity

Antioxidants are "radical scavengers": substances that protect body cells from damage caused by free radicals. The antioxidants are oxidized - thus binding the free radicals - and thus prevent or slow down the oxidative decomposition of vital cellulose even in low concentrations.

Free radicals are reactive electrons. They are constantly created within our metabolism and can cause our body cells to age. If the energy metabolism does not (any longer) work efficiently, the oxidative stress caused by free radicals increases.

These highly reactive oxygen compounds put our cells under oxidative stress: they penetrate the tissue, oxidize proteins and lipids and form new molecules. If the body's own enzymes and hormones (endogenous antioxidants) do not sufficiently bind and thus "defuse" free radicals, they damage the cells. Degenerative diseases up to cancer can threaten.

It is therefore important to get antioxidants from food that our body does not produce itself (exogenous antioxidants). Among other things, vitamins A, C and E as well as trace elements and secondary plant substances such as polyphenols, flavonoids and thiols protect against free radicals. They are found in particularly large numbers in fruit, vegetables, herbs and seeds, as well as in foods made from them with care.

Arginine is a semi-essential amino acid. Our body needs them to build proteins and produces them itself. Arginine promotes protein and fat metabolism, cell formation and the immune system as well as the release of growth hormones, and muscle growth and functionality during intensive training.

However, the amount of arginine produced by the organism does not cover the need in some life phases and situations. Arginine then becomes an essential amino acid that we also have to take in with food - during growth, under heavy stress or illness.

Along with strength, speed, coordination, and mobility, endurance is one of our basic motor skills. Endurance sport increases physical fitness and can be started at any age and practiced into an old (healthy) age. Effective endurance sports are jogging, swimming, cycling, hiking or Nordic walking.

Endurance means the body's resistance to fatigue under stress and its ability to regenerate after stress. In sport, endurance refers to the ability to maintain a certain level of performance, such as running speed, for as long as possible. The better the endurance, the higher the possible stress intensity and the better the use of the available energy.

From a medical point of view, it has proven to be useful to exercise for about half an hour three to five times a week.

Dietary fibers (also fiber substances or plant fibers) are structural and supporting substances of the plants. Fiber is indigestible for our body and cannot be utilized. Nevertheless, they have a "value": They support digestion and ensure a long-lasting feeling of satiety.

A distinction is made between soluble and insoluble dietary fiber, called total dietary fiber. The soluble dietary fibers include pectin, inulin and oligofructose. They are found in fruits and vegetables. Insoluble fibers include cellulose and lignin. They are found in cereals and legumes.

When it comes to solid meals, ensure that you include high-fiber carbohydrates such as whole grain products or potatoes in moderate amounts and add a generous portion of vegetables or salad. Flea seed husks, chia, or flaxseed can be great additions to the shake. Pureed herbs, vegetables, or fruit in moderate amounts also go very well in the shake.

belly fat messenger

Abdominal fat cells (adipocytes) release numerous substances into the blood that affect blood vessels, organs, and the brain. Pathologically enlarged abdominal fat cells produce more messenger substances that promote cardiovascular and vascular diseases and type 2 diabetes and increase cancer risk.


  • Belly fat releases more of the satiety hormone leptin. Leptin informs our brain about the filling of the fat stores and thus (with) regulates our feeling of hunger. However, a constantly increased leptin level leads to leptin resistance, there is no satiety, and unbridled hunger becomes a permanent condition.
  • Belly fat slows down adiponectin production. Adiponectin controls fat storage and insulin action. A permanently low level of adiponectin reduces the insulin effect to the point of insulin resistance. Despite more insulin in the blood, the average level of blood sugar increases - and with it the risk of diabetes.
  • Belly fat produces cytokines like TNF-α: inflammatory chemicals that keep the body in a state of chronic inflammation. In addition to various cancer types, this promotes arteriosclerosis, which leads to heart attacks and strokes.

Belly fat messengers are also said to promote thrombosis, asthma, and Alzheimer's.

The basal metabolic rate is part of our energy consumption. It describes the energy our body needs when it is at rest to maintain vital functions such as metabolism, breathing and cardiac activity.

Basal turnover and performance turnover (energy consumption during physical activity) make up our total turnover. On average, men have a higher basal metabolic rate than women. The musculature and liver have the largest share of the basal metabolic rate with approx. 26 percent each. The rest is shared by the brain (14 percent), heart (9 percent), kidneys (7 percent) and other organs (14 percent). The basal metabolic rate is measured via the amount of heat given off or the oxygen consumption.

Bioactive substances are health-promoting substances in food: phytochemicals, fiber and various substances in fermented foods. They are not nutrients, do not provide energy and do not build up endogenous substances. However, they have a positive influence on cellular metabolic processes.

Many foods naturally contain bioactive substances that can be destroyed during processing, for example by heat exposure. They are often added to functional foods that are intended to reduce health risks.

Peptides are made up of amino acids, so they are small proteins. In addition to probiotics and prebiotics, antioxidants, unsaturated fatty acids, vitamins and minerals, bioactive peptides are the most important ingredients in functional foods.

Bioactive peptides are created by enzymes (peptidases) that split protein molecules (enzymatic hydrolysis). They are often deliberately produced with starter cultures (e.g., lactobacilli). For example, to make fermented products like cheese, yogurt, or tofu. Proteins from milk, egg, meat, fish, cereals, or legumes such as soy are used for peptide production.

It is still unclear to what extent the effects of bioactive peptides observed in studies on individual cells can be transferred to the entire human organism. However, the support of the intake (absorption) of minerals and stress-reducing effects are considered proven.

The biological value (BW) describes how well our body can utilize the proteins in a food and form the body's own protein structures from them. More precisely: how many grams of body protein can be formed from 100 grams of dietary protein.

The level of biological value depends on the amount and ratio of the essential amino acids contained. The more a dietary protein resembles human body protein, the higher its BV. If a food has a high biological value, a small (r) amount of it is sufficient to cover the daily protein requirement - and vice versa.

In order to compare different foods in terms of their biological value, the Freiburg doctor Karl Thomas developed an index in the middle of the 20th century into which foods can be entered. The base value of 100 corresponds to the biological value of the protein in a whole egg. If a product has a higher biological value, the protein it contains can be better processed by the human body. Examples of foods: cow's milk has a CV of 82, poultry meat from 80, tuna from 92 and wheat from 47. If protein-rich foods are combined, the CV of the combined proteins is sometimes increased over that of the individual components.

Bioavailability means the proportion of a nutrient or active ingredient available to our body at any time. It also indicates how quickly a substance is processed and used at the site of action.

The bioavailability of intravenously administered substances is 100 percent. Absolute bioavailability describes the bioavailability of a substance compared to intravenous administration. The relative bioavailability compares the bioavailability of different dosage forms, for example tablet and solution.

Bioavailability is determined by the concentration of the nutrient or active ingredient in body fluids, mostly blood or urine.

Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs = Branched Chain Amino Acids) are required for protein construction, especially for building muscles. They are found in high concentrations in milk, among other things.

They are essential, cannot be formed by the body itself, but must be ingested through food. The BCAAs include the essential amino acids valine, leucine and isoleucine. They are particularly popular with athletes because they can be used by the body very quickly.

The blood sugar (BS) describes the glucose content in the blood (glucose level) and thus the amount of the energy supplier that is indispensable for the brain, red blood cells or kidney marrow. Unlike fats, the main source of energy for the rest of our body cells, glucose crosses the blood-brain barrier.

The level of the blood sugar level and especially the long-term blood sugar value HbA1c is an important indicator of diabetes. An undersupply of glucose (low blood sugar) reduces brain performance and can increase the release of adrenaline and trigger trembling hands, sweating and seizures.

In healthy people, fasting blood sugar levels are between 70 and 99 mg/dl. After a meal, values up to 160 mg/dl (directly after the meal) or a maximum of 140 mg/dl (two hours after the meal) are considered normal.

Depending on the blood sugar concentration, glucose is stored in proteins. HbA1c results from the non-enzymatic binding of glucose to hemoglobin (Hb). This process is called glycation and is irreversible. Determining the value of the glycated hemoglobin HbA1c is suitable for diagnosing a diabetic metabolic situation. However, a regular blood sugar determination only provides a snapshot. With the help of the HbA1c value, the metabolism of the last 12 weeks (about 3 months) can be assessed via the blood.

A long-term sugar level of 6.5 percent or lower is considered ideal. Lowering a (too) high HbA1c value reduces the risk of diabetic complications.

Synonyms: HbA1c

The body mass index (BMI) is an assessment basis for weight classification. To determine the BMI, body weight is related to body height: It is calculated from the quotient of body weight and body height squared (kg/m 2).

In general:

  • BMI below 18.5 = underweight
  • BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 = normal weight
  • BMI between 25 and 29.9 = overweight
  • BMI from 30 = obesity, grade I
  • BMI from 35 = obesity grade II
  • BMI from 40 = extreme obesity grade III

How to determine your BMI: weight in kg / (height in m 2)

Carbohydrates cause the blood sugar level to rise particularly sharply. Carb units are therefore used as part of diabetes therapies to determine the individual insulin requirement (before a specific meal) and to draw up diet plans.

The Chemical Score (CS) determines the protein content, more precisely: the protein quality of a food. For this purpose, the amino acids contained are compared with amino acids from eggs. The CS thus compares the amino acids of a product with a reference protein.

The CS considers and compares only one amino acid contained, namely the one that is contained the least in the specific food (in relation to the egg) ("limiting amino acid"). Which amino acid this is depends on how the respective food protein is structured.

Example: 100 grams of eggs contain around 890 milligrams of lysine, 100 grams of wheat only around 380 milligrams. The CS of wheat is thus 42 (egg = 100): 380/890 x 100 = 42.

The intestinal flora includes all bacteria and yeasts in the intestine. We "own" about ten times more of these micro-organisms than cells. Most "sit" in the large intestine. The term "flora" is based on the earlier (wrong!) assumption that bacteria and other microorganisms are plants.

The gastrointestinal tract is germ-free until birth. During birth, it is colonized for the first time by maternal bacteria. In the first years of life, the intestinal flora develops depending on age and nutrition. An intact intestinal flora supports metabolism and reduces pathogens.

If the composition of microorganisms that is healthy for our organism - for example through antibiotics - is shifted in favor of individual pathogens (dysbacteria), the intestinal flora is disturbed: Food intolerance, obesity, increased susceptibility to infections and a general weakening of the immune system can follow.

Compound sugars (disaccharides) are organic-chemical compounds of 2 simple sugars (monosaccharides). The human organism splits some compound sugars using disaccharidases to gain energy from the resulting simple sugars. The compound sugars include sucrose (cane and beet sugar), maltose (malt sugar) and lactose (milk sugar).

Currently found in

  • Fruits, vegetables, table sugar, sugar beet and sugar cane (sucrose)
  • Beer and malt products such as malt sweets (maltose - does not occur naturally)
  • Milk and milk products (lactose)

Synonyms: disaccharide

The energy balance describes the relationship between the individual energy requirement and the actual energy intake. If the ratio is balanced, the weight usually remains stable.

If the energy intake exceeds the daily energy requirement (positive energy balance), we gain weight. If the energy supply is less than the energy requirement (negative energy balance) we lose weight.

Energy density is the number of calories in a given amount of food. Example: With 100 grams of chocolate about 550 calories are consumed, with 100 grams of bread 210 calories. So, chocolate has a higher energy density than whole meal bread.

Food is divided into 3 energy density groups:

  • less than 1.5 kcal/g (e.g., vegetables, fruit, fish, low-fat quark, light cheese)
  • between 1.5 and 2.4 kcal/g (e.g., whole meal bread, lean meat, cheese up to 20 percent fat, ice cream)
  • over 2.4 kcal/g (e.g., white bread, toast, breaded meat, sweets, alcohol)

The energy turnover (also total turnover) refers to all metabolic processes involved in the conversion of nutrients into energy. The total turnover is made up of basal turnover and performance turnover as well as thermogenesis (notable above all in the digestion and utilization of proteins).

The basal metabolic rate is the amount of energy that we need per day at rest to maintain vital body functions (breathing, heartbeat, gland function). It depends on gender, age, size, weight, muscle mass and some hormones. In adults, the average basal metabolic rate per hour is around 1 kcal per kg of body weight.

The power turnover is the amount of energy that we expend on physical activity per day. Or the energy requirement that goes beyond the basal metabolic rate. The performance turnover varies depending on the type and duration of the activity, the heat production, the digestion and the extra needs during growth, pregnancy, or lactation.

Enzymes are proteins. They are found in every cell in the body and serve as catalysts that control and accelerate our metabolism, or more precisely: biochemical reactions such as digestion. Many enzymes need additives (coenzymes) for this, mostly vitamins.

Enzymes reduce the activation energy required to convert substances. The "active site" of an enzyme binds the starting material (the substrate), transforms it at the molecular level and then releases the reaction product(s). The enzyme then returns to its original form.

An enzyme can only convert a specific substrate (substrate specificity) into a specific reaction product (reaction or action specificity). A substrate, on the other hand, can react with different enzymes. By inhibiting or enhancing enzyme activities, we can actively intervene in the metabolism.

Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. Our body needs essential amino acids but cannot produce them itself. We must ingest them with food. A protein-rich diet is therefore important. The body obtains essential amino acids from the proteins broken down from food and uses them to make new proteins needed to build and repair cells, for example.

Our body produces semi-essential and non-essential amino acids from other amino acids. If some semi-essential amino acids, that can only be sourced from food, is needed during growth, under heavy strain (strength and endurance sports, stress, etc.) or illness - then they are also essential.

A lack of essential amino acids disrupts the body's protein production. Even non-essential amino acids can then no longer be used for the body's own protein synthesis - for example for enzyme formation.

The amino acids isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine are essential for humans.

Essential fatty acids (EF) help build cell membranes. They are the starting substance of eicosanoids (carbon compounds derived from arachidonic acid) and are involved in many metabolic processes. The term fatty "acid" refers to the fact that fats and oils naturally consist of esters of long-chain carboxylic acids with glycerol.

Our body cannot produce EF itself; we must get it from food. The most important EF includes linoleic acid (omega-6 fatty acid) and alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3 fatty acid).

Nutrients are essential when our body needs them and cannot produce them from other nutrients such as water, fats, or amino acids, so we must get them from food. If essential nutrients are missing, deficiency symptoms occur.

In contrast, the organism produces semi-essential nutrients itself. In certain phases of life - especially during growth, under heavy strain (strength and endurance sports, stress, etc.) or during or after an illness - our body does not produce these nutrients in sufficient quantities. We then have to take them in with food (hence “semi-essential”). This applies to essential amino acids, among other things.

In general, macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, certain fats) and micronutrients (several vitamins, minerals, trace elements and phytochemicals) are essential for humans. In some definitions, on the other hand, only nutrients that – unlike micronutrients – supply the body with energy are considered essential.

The functions of macronutrients are well researched today. The effects of a number of micronutrients such as secondary plant substances, on the other hand, are the subject of intensive research. In addition, the essentiality of individual nutrients is controversial - which is why they are also called functional nutrients.

Synonyms: necessary nutrients

The breakdown of fat (also lipolysis from Greek lipos = fat and lysis = dissolution) is the hydrolytic (read: running with water) cleavage of saponifiable lipids, i.e., triglycerides and cholesterol esters by enzymes. During degradation, mono- and diglycerides and, as intermediates, free fatty acids are formed, which are released into the blood. In addition, alcohols such as glycerol or cholesterol are formed. Fat breakdown in the human body takes place mainly in the fat cells (adipocytes) and is controlled by hormones such as insulin or adrenaline. Lipases (water-soluble enzymes) are responsible for splitting fat. The breakdown of body fat takes place in three steps, in each of which a fatty acid is split off. These fatty acids are released into the blood and absorbed and metabolized by the muscles or organs.

In animal organisms, the breakdown of fat occurs primarily during the mobilization of depot fat from the adipocytes of the adipose tissue. To a lesser extent also in the digestion of fat. It is the most important source of energy when there is a lack of food. Even if – as in the case of overweight people – the accumulation of fat exceeds the breakdown of fat, the body continuously breaks down fat.

Synonyms: lipolysis

Free radicals are intermediate products of metabolism that are produced in every cell in the human body. They are formed as a by-product of cell respiration during combustion processes in the mitochondria, the "power plants of the cells" or as a result of external physical or chemical influences that split off free radicals from body molecules. Such as UV radiation, environmental toxins, alcohol or tobacco. Free radicals are also believed to cause wear and tear and age-related damage, such as hardening of the arteries (arteriosclerosis), rheumatism and Alzheimer's. In a healthy body, defense and repair substances such as enzymes and hormones reduce oxidative stress. To do this, he needs a balanced diet rich in antioxidants. Among other things, the vitamins C...

Basal turnover and performance turnover (energy consumption during physical activity) make up our total turnover. On average, men have a higher basal metabolic rate than women. The musculature and liver have the largest share of the basal metabolic rate with approx. 26 percent each. The rest is shared by the brain (14 percent), heart (9 percent), kidneys (7 percent) and other organs (14 percent). The basal metabolic rate is measured via the amount of heat given off or the oxygen consumption.

Saturated fatty acids (SFA) show only single bonds between the carbon atoms and are therefore saturated with hydrogen atoms. The harder fat is, the more SFAs it contains. Butter, for example, contains many SAFs, while sunflower oil contains only a few.

SFAs are found in animal foods such as meat, butter or cheese but are also hidden in cakes, chips, or ready meals. We do not have to ingest them in large quantities with food because our bodies can produce them. If we eat too much SFA, our LDL cholesterol level ("bad cholesterol") increases, thereby increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Ghrelin stands for Growth Hormone Release Inducing. Ghrelin is a gastrointestinal hormone that regulates growth hormone secretion. In addition, it triggers a hunger signal (high ghrelin level in the blood) on an empty stomach and a feeling of satiety after eating (low ghrelin level).

Ghrelin is the hormonal antagonist to the adipose tissue hormone leptin. When the stomach is full, the leptin level is high, which also triggers a feeling of satiety. Ghrelin prevents fat breakdown and is suspected of promoting obesity. Since lack of sleep increases the ghrelin level, it also promotes risk of obesity.

Synonyms: Growth Hormone Release Inducing

Glucose (or dextrose) is an important supplier of energy, which is absorbed into the blood via the intestines - either directly or after the digestion of carbohydrates by intestinal enzymes.

Eating gives the body energy in the form of carbohydrates. These are digested and remodeled; Starch (multiple sugar) e.g., B. to glucose (simple sugar). The glucose enters the bloodstream via the intestinal mucosa. Tissue cells absorb blood sugar with the help of insulin and convert it into energy through oxidation.

After eating, the glucose level in the blood – the blood sugar level – is increased. Normally it drops again within a few hours as the body's cells absorb glucose. If the amount of glucose absorbed or formed is not sufficient to cover the current requirement, the liver releases glycogen (from glucose) into the blood. This can be the case with physical work, sporting activities or even if nothing has been eaten for a long time.

Synonyms: dextrose, glucose

Gluten (also gluten protein) is a protein component that is contained in various types of grain such as wheat, spelt, rye, barley, unripe spelt and oats, but also in old types of grain such as einkorn and emmer. When processing gluten-containing grains, gluten causes the flour to turn into a sticky dough. Products made from these grains also contain gluten. Gluten is even found in beer.

Gluten is considered the main cause of celiac disease. The food labeling regulation for allergens therefore provides for the labeling of gluten and gluten-containing ingredients in addition to other allergens.

Synonyms: gluten protein

The glycemic load (GL) evolves the concept of the 'glycemic index' (GI): The GI measures how food affects blood sugar: the blood sugar rise from 50 grams of carbohydrate from any food is compared to the blood sugar rise from 50 Grams of glucose, which has the highest GI: 100.

Example: 50 grams of carbohydrates from boiled carrots and white flour baguette have the same GI at around 70. To absorb 50 grams of carbohydrates, you would have to eat around 700 grams of carrots. But only a good 100 grams of baguette. For the same GI value, you can eat 7 times as many carrots, which means carrots cause the blood sugar to rise far less than baguettes.

In theory, high GI foods cause blood sugar and insulin levels to spike and spike rapidly, creating cravings. However, the GI does not measure blood sugar response to a food, but to 50 grams of the carbohydrates it contains - regardless of the total number of grams one needs to ingest for the assumed blood sugar response.

In addition to the sugar formation during ripening, preparation, the amount consumed, the speed of eating and the time of day, the GI overlooks the variety of foods in a meal: some ingredients lower the blood sugar level, while others slow down the absorption of carbohydrates. The effect of fat on blood sugar is also left out. The GL includes the carbohydrate density and examines the blood sugar effect of different foods with an intake of 100 grams each. The blood sugar effect of the baguette is almost 7 times higher than that of carrots. Foods with a rather low GL help keep blood sugar and insulin levels low.

Synonyms: GL

Glycemic Index

The glycemic index is a measure of the blood sugar-raising effect of food or the carbohydrates it contains. The blood sugar-increasing effect of glucose serves as a reference value (100). It therefore indicates how high and how quickly the blood sugar level rises after eating a food.

Synonyms: GI

In the case of hyperglycemia (HG; increased blood sugar levels, also "excess sugar"), the glucose content in the blood is chronically increased. As a result, the body excretes more sugar and thus water through the kidneys. The "most prominent" case is diabetes: the body produces too little/no insulin or - due to increasing resistance of the body cells - too much insulin, too little/no blood sugar gets from the blood into the body cells. Acute hyperglycemia is reflected in the blood sugar level, permanent hyperglycemia in the long-term blood sugar value (HbA1c).

Synonyms: HG


Hypoglycemia is a low blood sugar level, the glucose content in the blood drops. Processes in the body can no longer get enough because there is a lack of energy.

Insulin is produced by pancreatic cells, the so-called islets of Langerhans - hence the name: from the Latin "insula" for island.

The hormone reduces blood sugar: It stimulates body cells to absorb glucose from the blood to use it for energy. Insulin is the natural antagonist of the hormone glucagon, which promotes the breakdown of glycogen in the liver and thus increases blood sugar levels.

Carbohydrates from food are broken down in the small intestine into glucose, among other things, which then enters the blood. Insulin "opens" the cells in muscles, fat tissue, liver and kidneys for the sugar molecules. It also slows down the breakdown of adipose tissue and regulates our appetite.

In diabetes mellitus, the insulin metabolism is disturbed: the body does not produce any insulin (type 1 diabetes) or no longer reacts to it despite a high insulin level (insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes). In both cases, the cells absorb too little glucose, and the sugar content in the blood rises.

Insulin sensitivity indicates how strongly body cells respond to the hormone insulin. Insulin moves sugar from the blood into the cells, which use it to generate energy. The amount of insulin at which cells begin to smuggle in sugar depends on their insulin sensitivity. Reduced insulin sensitivity is typical of type 2 diabetes. In this case, the cells hardly respond to insulin.

Keto acids (also keto carboxylic acids or oxo acids) are carboxylic acids with an additional carbonyl group. They play a key role in the amino acid metabolism and acid-base balance: When the body's own fat deposits are broken down, the keto acids result in acidic metabolic products that reduce metabolic performance. Hyperacidity can occur, especially during a diet, which slows down further fat loss. Keto acids should therefore be neutralized with base preparations.

With a diet, the body draws on its fat reserves. When fat is broken down, so-called keto acids are formed, which cause an increase in acidity in the tissue. This leads to acidification. Overall metabolic performance deteriorates and fat loss decreases.

Synonyms: oxo acids, keto carboxylic acids

The small intestine enzyme lactase breaks down lactose ("milk sugar") supplied with food into its components, glucose, and galactose - since our body can only absorb and utilize the breakdown products through the intestinal wall into the blood.

Lactase is produced by special cells in the small intestine, and it decreases over adulthood. Explanation: Babies need the enzyme to digest the lactose in breast milk. As soon as breast milk is no longer the main food after infancy, lactase production decreases. In addition, inflammatory bowel diseases promote lactase deficiency. Partly up to lactose intolerance. In rare cases, a congenital enzyme defect leads to a reduced or complete failure of lactase formation.

In the case of lactose intolerance, the enzyme can be supplied externally. For example, taken in the form of tablets shortly before a meal containing lactose.

Lactose ("milk sugar") is sugar contained in milk. Crystalline, colorless, and sweet in taste. Lactose belongs to the group of disaccharides (“double sugars”), consists of one molecule each of galactose and glucose and is broken down into these two simple sugars by the enzyme lactase in the small intestine.

Lactose split in this way can take on important functions in the body: it provides energy, supports calcium absorption, inhibits putrefactive bacteria in the intestine and promotes the growth of healthy bifidobacteria. If there is a lack of lactase, however, the lactose is not digested, but only split by bacteria in the large intestine (lactose intolerance). Lactose is then difficult to digest (stomach pressure, diarrhea, etc.) and can no longer be used by the body.

In the case of lactose intolerance ("milk sugar intolerance"), lactose ingested with food is not broken down and digested in the small intestine because of reduced or absent formation of the digestive enzyme lactase, but only broken down or fermented by bacteria in the large intestine. The consequences: flatulence, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea. In general, the more lactose, the stronger the symptoms.

A lactase deficiency can be congenital or only develop in adulthood through the natural decline in the body's own lactase production or a disease, for example chronic intestinal inflammation.

In Germany, around 15 percent of adults are lactose intolerant. Congenital and natural lactase deficiency are currently not curable. However, the negative consequences of lactose intake can be reduced by changing the diet to a low-lactose or lactose-free diet and/or through the targeted supply of lactase before a lactose-containing meal.

Leptin (from Greek leptos = "thin") is a fat tissue hormone (adipokine). In particular, fat-storing cells (adipocytes) release leptin after meals. It transmits satiety signals to the brain, reduces the feeling of hunger and thus controls our appetite. So, leptin keeps you slim (“thin”) because it curbs our appetite.

Leptin is the hormonal antagonist of the gastrointestinal ("stomach and intestines") hormone ghrelin, the level of which is low when the stomach is full and thus also signals satiety. The healthy leptin mechanism: the more fat cells, the less hunger. And vice versa.

A permanently elevated leptin level promotes high blood pressure (hypertension) and obesity. Many overweight people even show leptin resistance: the pathologically enlarged abdominal fat cells flood the blood with leptin, but this weakens the satiety signal. The result is a constant appetite.

The peptide lunasin occurs naturally in cereals such as barley, wheat, and rye. The highest concentration was found in the soybean. Lunasin seems to be (primarily) responsible for several of its health-promoting properties.

Initial studies suggest that lunasin has an epigenetic effect: it can apparently activate or deactivate individual genes and thus contribute to cell health.

Lysine is an essential amino acid. It is a central component of many proteins and can also be found in blood plasma. Our body cannot produce lysine itself; we must get it from protein-rich food, like fish, meat, eggs, dairy products or legumes like soy.

Our bodies need lysine for bone growth, muscle building and the production of semi-essential amino acids. Lysine is also involved in wound healing: it stimulates cell division and builds up collagen, the structural protein of our connective tissue. Lysine accelerates the dissolution of ibuprofen in the intestine and thus the effect of the painkiller.

Lysine overproduction in infancy and childhood can disrupt physical and mental development. Lysine deficiency weakens the activity of enzymes and the immune system at any age.

In multi-component proteins (MP), several protein sources are combined in precisely balanced mixing ratios in order to obtain a higher quality dietary protein. By supplementing different amino acid profiles, protein suppliers with a high/higher biological value and improved absorption are created. Proteins frequently used in MP are soy protein, casein and whey or whey proteins.

Synonyms: MP

Nutrient density is the amount of nutrient in a food in relation to the energy content of the food.

It is true that modern man's energy requirements have decreased. But the need for essential nutrients is not. Therefore, foods with a high nutrient density should be preferred. These include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat milk and dairy products, and lean meat and fish. Foods with high fat and sugar content and alcohol have low nutrient density. They provide many calories but otherwise hardly any vital components.

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential, unsaturated fatty acids: our body cannot produce them, therefore we must get them from food. Rich sources of omega-3 fatty acid are vegetable oils such as linseed, rapeseed, or walnut oil, as well as algae and fish such as salmon, herring, or mackerel.

We need omega-3 fatty acids for cell metabolism, protein synthesis and the formation of hormones and immune cells. Omega-3 fatty acids protect against infections and heart diseases. They dilate the vessels, keep the arteries elastic, and promote blood circulation. They inhibit inflammation and have a positive effect on the performance of our brains. In biological membranes, they influence the fluidity and regulation of ion channels.

Omega-6 fatty acids have a similar effect. Enzymes convert both fatty acids into messenger substances (eicosanoid synthesis). In the body, they are then local mediators that have a hormone-like effect. Although, according to the DGE, we should consume about five times as many omega-6 as omega-3 fatty acids, the ratio in Central Europe is often 10:1, sometimes 20:1, since omega-6 fatty acids are derived from animal products.

The more the ratio is shifted in favor of omega-6 fatty acids, the greater the risk of cardiovascular disease. Here, as with rheumatic diseases, the increased intake of omega-3 fatty acids can reduce the risk of disease and alleviate symptoms. Positive effects are also ascribed to omega-3 fatty acids in age-related eye diseases, Alzheimer's disease, and some types of cancer.

Omega-6 fatty acids (O6F) are the unsaturated, essential fatty acids we must ingest through food. O6F is important in many ways: they improve blood lipid levels, inhibit coagulation, protect against arteriosclerosis, and thus strengthen the heart and blood vessels. They are also a vital component of healthy cell membranes in all tissues - brain and nerve cells.

O6F is sourced mainly from sunflower, thistle, and corn oil. However, omega-6 fatty acids can also be found in meat and its byproducts.

Important: Messenger substances (e.g., prostaglandins) can arise from O6F, which have a significantly more inflammatory effect on the metabolism than messenger substances that arise from omega-3 fatty acids. According to the DGE, omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids should be consumed in a ratio of approx. 5:1.

Synonyms: O6F

The power conversion (LU) is the amount of energy that is consumed during physical activity - in addition to the basal conversion - for muscle work.

Physical activity varies from person to person and has a significant impact on LU. For light activities, the LU is a maximum of 30 percent of the total energy requirement - the normal daily case for around 2 thirds of the population.

The level of physical activity is expressed in PAL (Physical Activity Level) values – the basis for calculating LU, which is expressed in kilocalories (kcal) or kilojoules (Kj) per day.

Synonyms: LU

Prebiotics are the nutrients of probiotics: They stimulate micro-organisms such as lactobacilli and bifidobacteria to form active cultures, displace pathogenic germs and thus promote the intestinal flora. This also improves the uptake (absorption) of nutrients and their digestion and strengthens our immune system. To put it simply: without prebiotics (in the long run) no probiotics. They are, therefore, often added together to probiotic medicines and foods.

Those who take in no or too few prebiotics deprive probiotics of important nutrients. Undesirable, pathogenic micro-organisms spread (dysbacteria), digestive problems and diseases threaten.

Prebiotics include indigestible carbohydrates such as inulin and oligofructose, often obtained from chicory. Jerusalem artichokes, parsnips, artichokes, black salsify, untreated honey, and other little or no processed plant foods also naturally contain prebiotics. Other prebiotics, such as lactulose, are isolated from milk or milk sugar (lactose).

Probiotics (from Greek pro bios = "for life") are micro-organisms in food and medicines. Mostly lactic acid bacteria such as bifidobacteria and lactobacilli or yeasts. Many products naturally contain probiotics. However, they are often added in different compositions and mixing ratios to achieve certain effects.

Probiotics are supposed to improve digestion, contain pathogenic germs in the large and small intestine, preserve the intestinal flora - and thus our physical and mental health. They counteract allergies, lower blood pressure, and strengthen our immune system, among other things by activating T cells (white blood cells that serve as defense cells).

For micro-organisms to form effective cultures in the intestine, probiotics are often combined with prebiotics - the nutrients of "good" bacterial strains. In sufficient quantities, probiotics can positively affect metabolism. Since most probiotic cultures do not settle permanently in the intestine, we must ingest them regularly.

Probiotics are traditionally found in fermented foods such as sauerkraut, miso (Japanese soybean paste with rice and grains) or kimchi (Korean fermented vegetables). In addition, the range of probiotic yoghurt, quark and cheese varieties is growing.

Proteins, also known as proteins, are biological molecules. They fulfill numerous vital functions. Proteins give life (Greek protos: "prime"); they are basic elements of our body. They are made up of building blocks, the amino acids, which are connected by peptide chains.

Proteins not only contribute to the maintenance of normal bones. They also contribute to maintaining and increasing muscle mass.

In medicine, remission means the temporary or permanent cessation of disease symptoms, but without achieving recovery.

This describes the ratio of exhaled carbon dioxide to inhaled oxygen. By measuring the RQ, one can determine the proportion of the various energy carriers in the overall metabolism. This means: The higher the RQ, the more energy is gained from carbohydrates. And the smaller, the more energy is based on fats.

Synonyms: RQ, Respiratory Quotient

Resting and activity energy expenditure

When the body becomes active and is no longer in a resting state, for example as soon as we walk, run, do everyday things, carry something or are active in sports, your body uses energy in addition to the basal metabolic rate.

Sufficient sleep is responsible for a balanced metabolism. Lack of sleep affects hunger and satiety. Metabolic processes are hormonally controlled, among other things. The length of sleep influences the hormone release of the messenger substances leptin and ghrelin and has a variety of effects on the metabolism. Sleep disorders promote obesity and even metabolic diseases such as diabetes.

Secondary plant substances are chemical compounds that only plants produce in the so-called secondary metabolism. Secondary plant substances are not essential for humans, but some have a health-promoting effect. Some of the phytochemicals are antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory.

Serotonin is a messenger substance that passes on vital information in our nervous system. Most serotonin is produced in the gut, and only exceedingly lesser amounts of serotonin are produced in the brain. It fulfills numerous functions in the body, e.g., B. positive mood, drive, sleep-wake cycle, pain perception, feeling of hunger, body temperature, and bowel movements. Since it influences our emotions and many other processes, it is not for nothing that people call serotonin the “happiness hormone”: A lack of serotonin in the brain can be associated with depression, among other things.

Trace elements are among the minerals. Minerals are divided into quantitative or macro elements (body content of more than 50 mg per kg body weight) and trace or micro elements (less than 50 mg per kg body weight) - which our body only needs and contains "in traces". Trace elements are building blocks of vitamins, enzymes, and hormones. As coenzymes, they influence our metabolism.

A distinction is made between vital (essential) and non-essential (non-essential) trace elements. The trace elements chromium, cobalt, iron, fluorine, iodine/iodine, copper, manganese, molybdenum, selenium, silicon and zinc are considered essential. In metabolism, they are involved as cofactors in many enzyme-catalytic reactions.

If essential trace elements are missing, there is a risk of deficiency symptoms and physiological damage such as anemia in the case of an iron deficiency or metabolic disorders in the case of an iodine deficiency. A deficiency occurs, for example, when we lose too many trace elements through diarrhea or heavy sweating. Metabolic diseases and poor eating habits also lead to an undersupply.

In a metabolism chamber, one can determine the energy turnover (calorie consumption) and the ratio of carbohydrate and fat turnover of a person.

The chamber was fully furnished with a bed, table, toilet, and a hatch with two doors through which meals were served. In this chamber, all components of energy metabolism - resting energy expenditure, energy turnover, sleeping metabolism, basal metabolic rate, and thermal effect of food - are recorded.

Metabolism is linked to gas exchange. The used air is therefore constantly sucked out of the chamber and overly sensitive sensors provide data on the oxygen and carbon dioxide content.

Simple sugars (also monosaccharides) are organic chemical compounds: A chain of at least three carbon atoms forms the basic structure, and they also have a carbonyl group and at least one hydroxyl group.

Simple sugars are the building blocks of all carbohydrates. They can combine to form double sugars (disaccharides), multiple sugars (oligosaccharides), or multiple sugars (polysaccharides). Simple sugars include

  • dextrose (dextrose, glucose); Occurrence: fruits, honey, grapes
  • fructose (fruit sugar); Occurrence: fruits
  • galactose (sugar mucus); Occurrence: lactose

Simple carbohydrates are quickly and completely broken down into their components in the digestive tract. Sugar molecules released (such as glucose and galactose) quickly reach the blood, partly via transport systems, and thus quickly increase blood sugar and insulin levels. Basically, we should consume fewer simple (short-chain) carbohydrates and more complex (long-chain) carbohydrates, as they have a higher nutrient density and keep the blood sugar level even.

Synonyms: monosaccharide

A synergy effect (SE; from Greek "synergismos" - "collaboration") describes the interaction of living beings, substances, or forces. Central to this is mutual support and the benefit resulting from collaboration, which goes beyond the mere addition of individual characteristics. Or with Aristotle: "A substance is more than the sum of its parts."

The musical effect of an orchestra lies in the coordinated interplay - and not in the juxtaposition of individual instruments. In business, an SE designates, among other things, a positive effect through the merger of two or more companies. In team sports, it is not just one player who scores a goal, but usually only through the preparation and support of his/her teammates.

In physiology, SE is found, among other things, when vitamins, minerals, enzymes or the like together produce more effective effects than the individual substances do/would do on their own.

Synonyms: SE

Visceral fat (from Latin viscera = "intestines"; also, intra-abdominal fat) surrounds and protects our internal organs. It serves as an energy reserve. In particular, sick abdominal fat cells are extremely active – and unhealthy. They release various messenger substances such as cytokine, TNF-a, cortisol, and leptin, which can have a negative impact on metabolism, organs, and our brain.

With persistent poor nutrition, lack of exercise, and stress, our body stores too much abdominal fat (visceral obesity). Abdominal fat cells (adipocytes) can grow up to 200 times their normal size. Overweight and obese people of the (rather) male apple type is particularly susceptible: They store excess fat primarily in the abdomen. (The more feminine pear type stores more fat on the hips.)

Diseased abdominal fat disrupts appetite regulation, leads to ravenous hunger and constant hunger, and allows the abdominal circumference to continue to grow - currently the best indicator for predicting diseases that are (also) triggered by being overweight. Women with an abdominal circumference of 80 cm or more and men with a circumference of 94 cm or more have an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes. From 88 or 102 cm, the risk is considered greatly increased.

Belly fat is directly or indirectly responsible for many symptoms and diseases. These include metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. Belly fat is also probably involved in the development of arteriosclerosis, thrombosis, Alzheimer's, and several types of cancer.

Synonyms: belly fat

Vitamins are organic compounds from plants, animals, bacteria, and fungi. In humans, vitamins are involved in many metabolic processes and are indispensable for many body functions. We only make two vitamins ourselves: vitamin D (if we get enough sun) and niacin (formerly vitamin B3). All other vitamins are essential: we must get them from food. Some of them as provitamins, which our body converts into the required vitamin.

Vitamins control the utilization of nutrients and thus the generation of energy. They strengthen our immune system, bind free radicals, regulate enzymes, improve iron absorption, and are involved in the formation of our cells, bones, and teeth, among other things.

In general, a distinction is made between fat (lipophilic) and water-soluble (hydrophilic) vitamins. Our body can store fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, E and the K vitamins) but not water-soluble ones (vitamin C and B vitamins) - we must constantly absorb them with food.

The yo-yo effect describes the difficulties of weight cycling. A diet may reduce weight for a brief time. However, without a change in lifestyle (healthier diet, more exercise), weight rebounds often higher afterward than the start of a diet.

If we suddenly reduce the number of calories on a diet, the body switches to energy-saving mode: it releases more appetite and hunger hormones, lowers the basal metabolic rate, and draws more energy from proteins in the muscles or blood instead of from fat tissue (hunger metabolism).

After the diet, the body initially remains in economy mode despite a "normal" calorie intake: the feeling of hunger remains, as much energy as possible is stored as fat - as a reserve for new "bad times". Studies indicate that the yo-yo effect disrupts the metabolism in the long term and thus increases the risk of diabetes.

Background: Our fat-storing cells (adipocytes) continue to multiply into our youth. During diets, they are emptied but not broken down. Anyone who builds up a lot of fatty tissue at an early age will find it particularly difficult to lose weight as an adult. So, the goal of a diet is not to lose fat cells but to shrink them - while preserving the muscles.

Questions about your diet?

Our Almased Diet Plan experts and Registered Dietitian are available to answer your questions and help guide you. Contact us at toll-free 1 (877) 256-2733 or e-mail us at You can also reach us via LiveChat or direct message us on Facebook or Instagram.

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