What You Need To Know About Food And Nutrition
Food is any material eaten to supply nutritional support to an organism. The word ‘food’ comes from the Latin ‘gna’, meaning grain. In modern times food is generally of animal, plant or fungi origin, and has essential nutrients, including proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, or iron. The human body also requires a variety of other substances, some of which are not soluble in water and must be taken in by the food as a supplement, some of which are toxic, and some of which the body cannot digest at all.
Plants obtain their nourishment from the sun, air, plant leaves and flowers, whereas animals obtain nourishment from food or plants, and meat, fish or milk provide the bulk of the diet. The majority of food we consume is carbohydrates, with starches and sugars making up the bulk of our diet. It is this group of carbohydrates that is the focus of this article, as the discussion here covers the reasons why some foods are better than others when it comes to stimulating the appetite, the effect of food on weight gain and the benefits of consuming a varied diet. Most people eat too much of the wrong types of carbohydrates in their diet and this leads to weight gain, as the extra carbohydrates are not metabolised, so they end up being stored as fat.
Let’s start by considering the macro-nutrients – the nutrients found in whole foods, without additives. The first of these, carbohydrates, provides the bulk of the diet, followed by protein and fats. The next group of nutrients is called fibres and comprises fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, breads and cereals. It should be noted that fibre is not a macronutrient, unlike carbohydrates or protein. The reason for this is that fibre provides fuel to the body, but it does not give the body any of the energy it needs to move.
The next group of food containing nutrients is fats and this group contains the vast majority of oils, such as olive oil, canola oil, margarine and butter. As well as these oils, fats come in different varieties, including saturated fats (found in beef and butter), unsaturated fats (found in nuts, seeds and vegetables), polyunsaturated fats (which are found in nuts and spreads) and trans fats (which are found in butter, shortening and margarine). All fats contain calories, so you need to balance the type of fat you eat, although they all have nutritional benefits. Saturated fats are linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
The third type of food is non-nutritional, which include salt, sugar and vinegar, as well as dried fruits, tea and coffee. In general, it is recommended to avoid all commercially prepared food, as commercial preparation techniques are more convenient and more cheaply available. However, commercially prepared food can be beneficial as long as the correct proportions are used and that the food source is nutritious. For example, it is possible to eat plenty of dried fruit, without gaining weight. Also, try to avoid sugary fruit juices, as they are simply water with sugar added.
Many people use food additives for convenience, but these can have serious effects on your health. For example, additives used in the production of food can alter the chemical composition of the food, making it potentially harmful. For example, as many people know, sugar is a substance found in many foods, and the presence of sugar in processed food usually increases their sweetness, but can also increase the risk of diabetes. A high intake of sugar has also been associated with an increased risk of tooth decay disease. Some of the food additives most commonly found in processed food usually end up in the final product, so it is important to read the label.