Facts About Food

Defining Diet and Nutrition: Diet is defined as our eating habits, the pattern of how we eat, a nutritional routine, and our food intake. Nutrition is a science and art that concentrates on how food enables us to grow and mature mentally and physically, how we maintain a state of well-being, as well as an immune system that fights disease.

The Relationship between Nutrition and Human Health: Knowledge about nutrition reveals how the foods we eat have a direct impact our health. Currently there are major concerns that Americans as a whole are overweight. Many adults are overweight and unfortunately too many children are considered at risk of being overweight. Obesity fuels the occurrence of chronic disease and lowers the immune system. As a whole, it is integral that we improve our eating habits and increase our physical activity level in order to avoid illness and the need for medication(s).

Defining Food Choices: The foods we decide to eat are choices based on our collective wants, needs and preferences. What we choose, pick or decide to eat is directly linked to our health. It includes how our food is selected and prepared as well as how it provides us with the energy essential to live and function.

What is a Whole Food? A whole food is a food which is in exactly the same natural condition it was when it was picked from the tree vine, or ground. When a food is not considered a whole food it is because something has been taken away or added to change its state. A good example of this is white rice. By removing the bran and germ layer from under the husk of the brown rice it leaves in its place starchy white rice. This process also removes many of the vitamins and minerals found in the whole brown rice.

When a whole food is processed and/or changed it depletes it of many of the essential vitamins and minerals only available to us when the food is in its whole natural state.

Food Misinformation: Information about food can be confusing because many foods claim to be functional and specially formulated to “significantly improve” our health outcomes. The food industry caters to consumers looking for health promoting foods. But this is not necessarily so. Therefore, making wise food choices can be challenging because there are so many choices and because we are greatly influenced by how food is perceived.

Getting the Most for Our Money: Food is definitely a large part of our income. In order to make the best choices and to get the most for your money, it is essential to compare the price, amount, and quality of products that are similar to each other. Learning how to get the biggest bang for your buck requires taking the time to read food labels and select foods that are low in fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium and have complex carbohydrates and dietary fiber. It is very important to know what you are buying and sometimes the front label on a food product may be misleading. Reading the ingredients on the back of the food package insures that we are buying exactly what we think we are.

Hunter, B. (2006). A Whole Foods Primer. Laguna Beach, California; Basic Health Publications, Inc.

Food Labeling, Food Additives and Food Ingredients < >

IAEA: The Global Nutritional Challenge < >

Oregon State Eat Well for Less < >

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion

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For one of my class projects we were instructed to read the ingredient labels on each item we put into our cart the next time we went grocery shopping. Obviously it took much longer to shop that day but it definitely made me aware of how misinformed I was about what I was buying. What I discovered is that the front label of a food item may be very misleading.

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