Nutrition has long been considered more the domain of medicine and agriculture than of the biological sciences, yet it touches and shapes all aspects of the natural world. The need for nutrients determines whether wild animals thrive, how populations evolve and decline, and how ecological communities are structured. "The Nature of Nutrition" is the first book to address nutrition's enormously complex role in biology, both at the level of individual organisms and in their broader ecological interactions. Stephen Simpson and David Raubenheimer provide a comprehensive theoretical approach to the analysis of nutrition - the Geometric Framework. They show how it can help us to understand the links between nutrition and the biology of individual animals, including the physiological mechanisms that determine the nutritional interactions of the animal with its environment, and the consequences of these interactions in terms of health, immune responses, and lifespan. Simpson and Raubenheimer explain how these effects translate into the collective behavior of groups and societies, and in turn influence food webs and the structure of ecosystems.
Then they demonstrate how the Geometric Framework can be used to tackle issues in applied nutrition, such as the problem of optimizing diets for livestock and endangered species, and how it can also help to address the epidemic of human obesity and metabolic disease Drawing on a wealth of examples from slime molds to humans, The Nature of Nutrition has important applications in ecology, evolution, and physiology, and offers promising solutions for human health, conservation, and agriculture.
Acknowledgments ix CHAPTER ONE Nutrition and Darwin?s Entangled Bank 1 1.1 Nutrition Touches and Links All Living Things 3 1.2 Nutrition Is Complex 5 1.3 Dealing with Nutritional Complexity: Enough but Not Too Much 7 1.4 Charting the Void between Nutritional Detail and Generality: The Geometric Framework 10 CHAPTER TWO The Geometry of Nutrition 11 2.1 The Geometric Framework: Basic Theory 11 2.2 The Geometric Framework in Practice 22 2.3 Conclusions 34 CHAPTER THREE Mechanisms of Nutritional Regulation 35 3.1 How to Defend an Intake Target 35 3.2 Postingestive Regulation 48 3.3 Conclusions 56 CHAPTER FOUR L ess Food, Less Sex, Live Longer? 57 4.1 How Does Macronutrient Balance Affect Life Span? 62 4.2 Less Sex, Live Longer? 66 4.3 Conclusions 70 CHAPTER FIVE Beyond Nutrients 71 5.1 The Distinction between Nutrients and Toxins 72 5.2 Self-medication and Ecological Immunology: The Distinction between Nutrients and Medicines 79 5.3 Toxins and Nutrients Interact 84 5.4 Conclusions 87 CHAPTER SIX Moving Targets 88 6.1 Moving Targets in the Short Term 88 6.2 Moving Targets in Developmental Time 91 6.3 From Parents to Offspring--Epigenetics 95 6.4 Evolving Targets 97 6.5 Evolving Rules of Compromise: Nutrient Specialists and Generalists 99 6.6 Evolving Postingestive Responses 105 6.7 Conclusions 106 CHAPTER SEVEN From Individuals to Populations and Societies 108 7.1 Cannibal Mormon Crickets 109 7.2 Locusts Are Cannibals Too 113 7.3 Communal Nutrition in Ants 114 7.4 The Blob 117 7.5 Conclusions 119 CHAPTER EIGHT How Does Nutrition Structure Ecosystems? 120 8.1 From Individual Fitness to Population Growth Rates 121 8.2 Interactions among Organisms and the Environment 122 8.3 Do Predators Regulate Nutrient Intake? 124 8.4 The Nutritional Geometry of Food Webs 130 8.5 The Nutritional Niche 138 8.6 Agent-Based Modeling of Nutritional Interactions: From Individuals to Ecosystems 144 8.7 Conclusions 145 CHAPTER NINE Applied Nutrition 147 9.1 Domestication 147 9.2 Wildlife Conservation 157 9.3 Conclusions 165 CHAPTER TEN The Geometry of Human Nutrition 167 10.1 The Modern Human Nutritional Dilemma 167 10.2 Do Humans Regulate to an Intake Target? 170 10.3 What Is the Human Rule of Compromise? 175 10.4 What Are the Implications of Protein Leverage? 182 10.5 How Do Humans Deal with Nutrient Excesses? 191 10.6 Conclusions 191 CHAPTER ELEVEN Perspectives 194 11.1 Expanding GF into Further Dimensions of Nutrition 194 11.2 GF and "Omics" 195 11.3 Nutritional Epigenetics and Early-Life Prevention of Metabolic Disease 196 11.4 Human Obesity 196 11.5 Nutritional Immunology 197 11.6 Modeling Nutritional Interactions: From Individuals to Ecosystems 198 11.7 Conclusions 199 References 201 Index 229