Project #18: Nutrients of Life (Chapter 13: Introduction to Biochemistry)

                                                         (5 points)(2-4 hours)

Read Chapter 13: Nutrients of Life

The Main Idea is to expose you to the four main classes of Biomolecules (Introduction to Biochemistry).



    When we absorb molecules from food we eat and either use them for energy or incorporate them into various  structures that give our bodies both form and function.  Interestingly, no molecule in a living organism is a permanent resident; rather, there is perpetual change as ingested food molecules are transformed and utilized to replace older molecules. Within a decade, most of the molecules in a human body have been replaced by new ones --- the body you have today is literally not the same body you had seven years ago.

    Although your molecules are continually replaced, the genetic code that guides the assembly of those molecules is pretty much the same. This is similar to what we see with identical twins who are made of different molecules but share pretty much the same genetic code. No one would claim  two identical twins to be the same person. Similarly perhaps you are as different  from your past self as identical twins are from each other. Perhaps an individual’s identity is not static; but is continually re-established every moment (dynamic).

   To help you read and understand Chapter 13, John Suchocki recently created the videos for Chapter 13. Please view these videos:


Chapter 13: Nutrients of Life
13.1 Biomolecules Are Produced and Utilized by Organisms
13.2 Carbohydrates Give Structure and Energy
13.3 Lipids Are Insoluble in Water
13.4 Proteins Are Polymers of Amino Acids (two videos)
13.5 Nucleic Acids Code for Proteins (four videos)
13.6 Vitamins Are Organic, Minerals Are Inorganic
13.7 Metabolism Is the Cycling of Biomolecules Through the Body
13.8 The Food Pyramid Summarizes a Healthful Diet


The last video gives a great summary of is a healthful diet.


An old adage: “You are What you Eat!”


So: what do you eat is the question?



 Diet Analysis (optional) (5 points) (2-4 hours)


    Image result for composition of fast foods



1.    The student will list and estimate the amounts of each food consumed for a normal day,


2.    The student will prepare a table breaking down the foods in five of the six categories of body nutrients: Fats (Saturated & Unsaturated [trans & Cis]), Carbohydrates (Digestible and nondigestible), Proteins, Vitamin, and Minerals (excluding water: Water,).


3.     Then each food should be researched as to the chemical breakdown into these categories, (most of the information is on the label and the amounts estimated by the mass ingested). Use the Internet data bases for food in the home and also for fast foods. Here is one data base (78 pages pdf file):

           If you find a good source, especially fast food, then email me the link and it will be
          included in the list above.

4.    The totals for each category should be computed as well as the total calories for each food consumed.


5.     The daily total should be computed. If possible the student could extend the project into a “normal” day and an “abnormal” day.


6.    The data should be presented in spreadsheet/table format with a cover page summary


  There Data are Bases online for all food , even fast foods. Most cost to access 80,000 items, but most have a 2-7 day free trial. So set you spreadsheets up, record the foods and the amounts, then use the data bases to break down the categories. You can also