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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Richard S. Eisenstein, AB, PhD (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
Description: This book covers nutrient metabolism and function from the biochemical to organism levels in physiological and pathophysiological scenarios. The previous edition was published in 2000.
Purpose: The book covers the fundamental bases of human nutrition at the molecular, cellular, tissue, and organism levels. The book is meant to serve as a textbook for courses as well as a source for students and professionals in nutrition and other areas of biological sciences. These goals are substantially achieved by the authors.
Audience: This is intended for use in a graduate nutrition or nutritional biochemistry class or as a source book for professionals in the field. Students in this class would need to have taken at least an undergraduate biochemistry class (with an organic chemistry prerequisite) and, preferably, an undergraduate nutrition class (upper level preferred). Given the central role of metabolism and metabolic regulation in nutrition research, this book addresses a critical area for graduate training in nutrition. A high quality textbook for graduate training in this area of nutrition has been needed for some time. Strengths of this book, now in its second edition, are its breadth and the fact that the chapters are written by numerous excellent authors including many who are leaders in their field.
Features: Overall the book is well organized, first taking a general approach that describes the definitions and functions of essential nutrients and other dietary constituents (e.g. phytoestrogens) as well detailed coverage of the structure of major nutrients. The remainder of the book contains much detailed and well written coverage of macronutrient function from digestion to metabolism. This is followed by chapters with detailed coverage of vitamins and minerals. A clear strength of the book is its focus on not only on organism (mammalian) aspects of nutrient metabolism/function (e.g. control of digestion/absorption; energy balance), but also on metabolic control at the biochemical and molecular levels. Furthermore, several chapters discuss the control and/or dysregulation of metabolism in physiological (e.g. exercise) or pathophysiological (e.g. metabolic syndrome) situations. Unique features of the book include numerous small sections of chapters that cover "Nutrition Insights" or "Clinical Correlations" relating to the nutrient topic for that chapter. A further strength of the book is its focus on macronutrient metabolism, which fits in well with the resurgence of interest in intermediary metabolism and the emergence of systems biology. Most chapters provide comprehensive coverage of the topic at hand and include nutritional issues to biochemical functions with many including life cycle and clinical issues where relevant. The book might be improved with increased content on the role of genetics in nutrient metabolism and function and the roles for genetic approaches and model organisms in furthering our understanding of intermediary metabolism and nutrient function.
Assessment: This is a very valuable book in an area that has needed updates in topics such as control of macronutrient absorption and metabolism. While other books cover the function of nutrients, the strength of this book lies in its focus on biochemical aspects of nutrient function and in the control of intermediary metabolism.