Throughout history there has been a vast array of nutritional claims and dietary advice. For example, there is evidence of dietary regimens involving fasting as far back as in Ancient Greece and many examples since of diet being used either to restrict intake to lose weight or to act as a cure for a medical complaint. While it is true that the areas of diet and nutrition are subject to evolving research, there are basic concepts and advice that do not alter. Throughout this ebook we will return to these basic concepts whilst also considering the value of new research and developments.
Chapter 1. The Digestive System -Everyone is different
Nutrition and nutrients
General health recommendations
Examples of serving size
Chapter 2. Modifying Diet for a Particular Lifestyle or Genetic Disposition
Chapter 3. Foods and the Nutrition
Why do we need to know the nutrition in foods?
Nutrients provides by the five food groups
Chapter 4. Nutrition and Health Disorders
How diet may affect skin
Diet and our bones, joints and muscles
Nutrition and the heart
Diet and the respiratory system
Diet and the urinary system
Diet and the digestive system
Diet and the brain/mental health
Chapter 5. How to Find Reliable information on Nutrition
Sources of nutritional information
Conditions requiring dietary advice
Weight loss diets
ACS Global Partners
From the book:
What is in our food?
No one food provides all the nutrients required for good health. Learning about the nutrients found in different foods and how to combine foods to achieve a balanced diet is an essential part of dietary planning. In this section we shall focus on the macronutrients or energy providing nutrients (carbohydrates, proteins and fats) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) found in individual foods and discuss why each nutrient is required by the human body and how individual foods can contribute to our daily nutritional requirements.
Food groups and nutrition found in them:
An initial way of understanding the foods we eat is to think of each food as belonging to one of five main food groups which are:
- Fruit and vegetables
- Starchy foods such as bread, potatoes, rice and pasta
- Meat, fish, eggs and pulses
- Milk and dairy foods
- Foods containing fats and sugars.
To achieve a healthy diet it is important to achieve a balance of these food groups. Most governments have information that can be found on the internet that provide recommended daily intakes for the relevant country. The information is often presented visually in images such as the healthy food pyramid that displays food in categories from those that should be eaten plentifully, to those that should be eaten rarely.
Fruit and vegetables: Fruit and vegetables are an essential source of vitamins and minerals in the diet. There is evidence that a good intake of fruit and vegetables helps to lower our risk of heart disease, stroke and certain cancers. This evidence has led to recommendations to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables every day. As different fruit and vegetables have different combinations of vitamins and minerals, it also recommended to consume a variety of different types. In addition, fruit and vegetables are a good source of fibre (discussed in more depth later in this chapter).
Starchy foods such as bread, potatoes, rice and pasta: Starchy foods are another important part of a healthy diet, providing the body’s preferred source of energy from carbohydrate, as well as providing a good range of nutrients such as calcium, iron and B vitamins. Wholegrain or wholemeal varieties of starchy foods such as brown rice, wholemeal bread and whole-wheat pasta are also an important source of fibre and are often higher in vitamins and minerals than white varieties. The varied benefits of starchy food have led to general recommendations for starchy foods to make up around a third of the daily diet.
Meat, fish, eggs and pulses: These foods are the most important source of protein in our diets, also providing a range of vitamins and minerals. For example, meat provides a good range of vitamins and minerals such as iron, zinc and B vitamins- including providing the body’s main source of B12. Fish is also a rich source of vitamins and minerals while oily fish provides omega-3 fatty acids that, among other benefits, helps in the prevention of heart disease. Eggs and pulses (e.g. beans, nuts and seeds) are another good source of protein. Pulses are also high in fibre.
Milk and dairy foods: Milk and dairy foods such as yoghurt and cheese are another good source of protein, although the main reason they are recommended as part of a healthy diet is due to their role in providing the body with the calcium required to keep our bones healthy. The calcium found in dairy foods is particularly important as it is well absorbed in the human body.
Foods containing fats and sugars: Obviously the main nutrients provided by this food group are fats and sugars. Both of these nutrients are good sources of energy, however evidence suggests that we are eating too much of these foods and this has contributed to rising worldwide rates of obesity and in turn to a rise in the incidence of Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers.