It must not be forgotten that nutrition begins with food. The science of nutrition is related
almost to everything with the body that does with food in order to function, live, heal and grow.
Food is any substance, composed of carbohydrates, water, fats and/or proteins, that is either
eaten or drunk by any animal, including humans, for nutrition or pleasure. Items considered food
may be sourced from plants, animals or other categories such as fungus. Although many human
cultures sought food items through hunting and gathering, today most cultures use farming,
ranching, and fishing, with hunting, foraging and other methods of a local nature included but
playing a minor role.
Now foods that are eaten on a regular basis are called diet. And every single person has
its own unique diet. The geographic location and family traditions play extremely major parts in
the formation of a person’s diet although as the person grows, the diet may change but to a little
degree. Food choices vary from people to people just as they vary with almost every living
We cannot make our own food out from the sun or from the wind of from the water. Our
food comes from the plants, which make their food, and from animals that are pretty much like
us dependent on plants. The plants, with the help of the sun, make their food form the chemicals
found in water, air and soil. Animals eat their food, or feed, raw since they are equipped with
specialized digestive organs, perfected through evolution to digest the food they eat.
On the other hand, we humans eat both plants and animals. We like to prepare our food
and in most countries, food preparation is an art that takes years to perfect. Different countries
have different staple foods. Mostly in Asia, rice and corn are ever present in the table. In western
countries, potato and bread are their staple food. Regardless of the difference, these staple foods
are the major source of carbohydrates. Protein and milk are likewise present in the table. Only
people are too busy gobbling down their food that they don’t care about the food they are eating
or its nutritional value. It is vital that proteins, carbohydrate and fats are present. The function of
these will be discussed in the succeeding chapters.
We must never attempt to skip a meal for the sake of weight loss. The more we deprive
ourselves with food, the worse our body will become. Our conditions will worsen even if
physically we look great.
Importance of food :
We cannot deny the fact that we need food in order to survive. Food and water has been
the centre of our life. Humans can survive without their big houses, expensive cars and clothes
but they could never survive for more than a week without any food and water.
If you could observe, large parts of the third world countries suffer from malnutrition.
They have food but the foods they have do not meet the daily required calories or energy of the
body. Also, they do not have enough food for the day that they could only eat once or twice a
day. As they say, “you are what you eat”. If we eat all those greasy and oily foods, we tend to
become overweight or unhealthy. If we eat only sweets and caffeine, then don’t expect that we
could have that perfect, healthy body we always dream.
So just how important is the food?
Food is our primary source of energy. We need energy for our everyday activities
which starts the moment we open our eyes in the morning.
As energy source, they are the ones responsible for our growing process,
rebuilding of damaged cells and regulation of body systems.
Food also produces heat in the form of energy.
Food makes us healthy and strong. This includes our immune system. A vital
system that acts our defence against disease and sickness.
Food makes us glow and young looking. A well nourished person looks young for
his or her age as her body is able to deal with the daily stress it faces.
To function properly, the human body must have nutrients that are present in the food.
Our brain cannot function if the body is weak. We will suffer from fatigue and stress from the
lack of food. Extreme dieting is harmful to us and our body. Our digestive system and our
cardio-vascular system are the ones at greatest risk to being damaged and become not repairable.
The basic four food groups were reworked into a more balanced and healthy food
pyramid guide. Now this food pyramid has its base on the grain group, the second level with fruit
and vegetables group, third level with meat and diary groups and on the last level, fats, oils and
The food pyramid is generally a guide for everyone of what to be eaten each and as to
how much quantity should be eaten. There should be a variety and balance in eating so as to
meet the required calories per day. Each group provides what a person needs but in small
amounts. No food group in the food pyramid could provide all the nutrients that a person needs.
Also, the foods in the pyramids have no substitute and must not be replaced by any commercial
products stating that they are the substitute.
The grain group which is found at the base of the pyramid is composed mainly of cereals,
pasta, rice and other foods made from grains. We need a lot of daily servings of these foods than
any other groups because they are our source of B-vitamins, iron, carbohydrates and some
protein. The daily recommendation is at least 6 servings per day.
Fruit and vegetable group are the richest source of vitamins and minerals. Take note, they
provide fiber which may not contain nutrients but is extremely important for the digestive
system. They aide in the smooth digestion of the food and thus ensure good digestion. At least 3-
5 serving so f vegetables and 2-4 serving of fruits per day is recommended.
Meat and diary groups are the richest source of proteins. On this level, the two groups of
food such as milk, fish, eggs, poultry and cheese are all animal source except for nuts and beans
which are from plants. High amounts of protein, calcium, iron, phosphorus, zinc and B vitamins.
These are essential in bone and muscle development which why children need more meat and
dairy products in their diet during their growing years.
Fats, oils and sweets group are on the top of the pyramid and is recommended to be used
sparingly. Even if they are a pleasure to eat, they provide only calories and very little nutrients to
our body. These include cream, chocolates, sugars, candy sodas and cakes. Too much of this
results in have ailments and problems with the heart and blood sugar.
It is likewise important to know what malnutrition is. This will be vital as some weight
loss diet deprive our body with the much needed nutrients and lead to malnutrition without our
So what is malnutrition? It is the imbalance between the body’s demand for nutrition and
the available supply of nutrients. When the body is not given enough of any of the essential
nutrients over a certain period of time, it will result to becoming weak and more prone to
infection and sickness. The body withers as a result of the muscle being broken down for energy
since the body will tap its stored fats for energy. In extreme cases, death occurs.
What causes it then? It can result from an unsatisfactory diet that often results to
starvation oneself by force. It can likewise come from a disorder that interferes with the body’s
utilization of food.
But did you know that obesity is also a form of malnutrition? It is being defined as body
weight more than 20 percent above the ideal body weight.
Extreme weight loss such as that in anorexics is life-threatening. It is one form of
malnutrition that is extremely rampant among women. Anorexia nervosa is condition that
requires professional treatment and emotional support from family and friends.
In unindustrialized countries, protein-calorie malnutrition is one problem that is common
among children. Their bodies fail to grow with damage digestive organs. Starvation results in
Lack of the critical nutrients results in the deficiency of vitamins and minerals that are
responsible for different disorders. Like, lack of iron results to anemia, lack of iodine results to
goiter which is the enlargement of the thyroid gland and many other diseases detrimental to the