Skip to main content
Medicine LibreTexts


  • Page ID
  • \( \newcommand{\vecs}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}} } \) \( \newcommand{\vecd}[1]{\overset{-\!-\!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash {#1}}} \)\(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\)\(\newcommand{\AA}{\unicode[.8,0]{x212B}}\)

    Example and Directions
    Words (or words that have the same definition) The definition is case sensitive (Optional) Image to display with the definition [Not displayed in Glossary, only in pop-up on pages] (Optional) Caption for Image (Optional) External or Internal Link (Optional) Source for Definition
    (Eg. "Genetic, Hereditary, DNA ...") (Eg. "Relating to genes or heredity") The infamous double helix CC-BY-SA; Delmar Larsen
    Glossary Entries
    Word(s) Definition Image Caption Link Source
    Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Range (AMDR) The recommended range of intake for energy-yielding macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein, and fat). It is expressed as percentages of total daily calorie intake  sufficient to provide total adequate energy needs. Staying within the AMDR is associated with reducing the risks for developing chronic disease.        
    added sugars Sugars, and other sweeteners (e.g., high-fructose corn syrup, honey, maple syrup, and molasses), that are added to food, whether it be at the table, in cooking, or in processing.        
    adequate Sufficient for a goal or purpose. In nutrition, it is used to signify a diet that provides all nutrients, fiber, and energy in amounts sufficient to maintaining good health and body weight.        
    Adequate Intake (AI) The average nutrient level consumed daily by the average healthy population that is assumed to be adequate to meet this population's needs. If the scientific data is insufficient to establish an Estimated Average Requirement (EAR), the AI is established based on the data available. The AI serves as a nutrient-intake goal.        
    adipose tissue Fatty tissue in the body that consists of masses of fat-storing cells.        
    adolescence The period of the human life cycle, between the ages of 14-18 years old, nutritionally speaking.        
    aerobic Requires oxygen.        
    age-related macular degeneration (AMD) The progressive loss of central vision with age, resulting from damage to the macula (the center of the retina).        
    albumin A butterfly-shaped protein that plays a role in fluid balance, acid-base balance, and the transport of biological molecules.        
    alcohol In chemistry, alcohol refers to organic compounds that have an -OH group attached as a side group. In alcoholic beverages, the alcohol that is being consumed is ethanol.        
    alpha-linolenic acid An essential fatty acid found in leafy greens and some nuts.        
    amino acids The building blocks of proteins. Simple organic compounds composed of carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, and nitrogen.        
    amphiphilic A compound that has both water-loving and fat-loving properties.        
    anabolism The metabolic pathways that use energy to build larger molecules from smaller ones.        
    anaerobic The absence of oxygen.        
    anaphylaxis A life-threatening, extreme immune response to a food allergen. Anaphylaxis can result in difficulty breathing, swelling in the mouth and throat, decreased blood pressure, shock, and death.        
    anorexia nervosa A psychiatric illness in which a person obsesses over their weight, and losing weight by refusing to eat. It results in extreme nutrient inadequacy and, eventually, organ malfunction.        
    anorexia of aging A condition that elderly people can get that is characterized by poor food intake.        
    antibodies Proteins in the blood that protect against unwanted intruders (such as bacteria or viruses) in the body.        
    antioxidant Any molecule that protects cells from the damage caused by free radicals.  Antioxidants can block free radicals from stealing electrons.        
    appetite A psychological desire for food or drink.        
    arachidonic acid (ARA) An omega-6 essential fatty acid that is a precursor tot the synthesis of eicosanoids. It is a polyunsaturated fatty acid that is in found in animal cells.        
    atherosclerosis Disease that is characterized by the deposition of plaques and fatty material in the walls of the body’s artery, vein and blood vessel network.        
    atoms The basic building blocks of all matter, living and nonliving.        
    atrophic gastritis Inflammation of the stomach.        
    balanced diet A diet that provides the appropriate quantities and proportions of foods needed to maintain health. In a balanced diet, foods rich in one nutrient leave room for foods that are rich in other nutrients.        
    basal metabolic rate (BMR) The number of calories being burned while performing basic life-sustaining functions.        
    basal metabolism Metabolic pathways necessary to support and maintain the basic functions of the body (e.g. breathing, heartbeat, liver, and kidney function) while at rest.        
    bile A fluid secreted by the liver to help with the absorption and digestion of fats.        
    binge-eating disorder A nonpsychiatric disorder characterized by periodic losses of control over eating. The periods of excessive overeating are not followed by fasting or purging. People who have this disorder are often overweight or obese.        
    Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) A measurement of the alcohol level in the blood stream, used to determine if an individual is legally intoxicated and/or driving while impaired.        
    Body Mass Index (BMI) A measurement that is based on one's height and weight. It is indicative of obesity and overweight and is a more comprehensive measurement of body fat than just weight alone.        
    bone remodeling The process in which bone tissue is broken down and rebuilt in the same location to create more mature bone tissue.        
    bone resorption The process in which osteoclasts secrete hydrogen ions to make the bone tissue more acidic and dissolve the minerals in the bone tissue matrix.        
    bulimia A psychiatric illness characterized by frequent episodes of eating large amounts of food followed by purging.        
    caffeine A chemical stimulant, also known as xanthine. It is found in the seeds, leaves, and fruits of many plants, where it acts as a natural pesticide. It is the most widely consume psychoactive substance, as it is found primarily in coffee and tea.        
    calcitonin A hormone, secreted by the thyroid, that aids in the maintenance of blood calcium levels by decreasing calcium levels when necessary. It has the opposite effect of calcitriol and parathyroid hormone.        
    calcium The most abundant mineral in mineralized bone tissue. Good dietary sources of calcium are dairy products and many vegetables with low oxalate content, such as kale, collard greens, and okra.        
    calorie A unit of energy. A calorie is equivalent to the amount of energy needed to increase the temperature of 1 gram of water by 1 degree Celsius.        
    carbohydrates Organic molecules composed of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. There are two basic forms: simple sugars and complex sugars.        
    cardiorespiratory endurance The cardiovascular system’s ability to deliver oxygen and nutrients efficiently to fuel physical activity.        
    cardiovascular disease A disease of the heart or blood vessels.        
    catabolism All metabolic processes involved in breaking down molecules, which releases energy.        
    celiac disease An autoimmune disorder in which the small intestine has an abnormal reaction with gluten.        
    cell theory Cells are the most basic building units of life, all living things are composed of cells, and new cells are made from preexisting cells, which divide into two.        
    cellular respiration The process by which organisms combine oxygen with the stored chemical energy in nutrients to produce cellular energy.        
    central nervous system Neurons form the core of the central nervous system, which consists of the brain, spinal cord, and other nerve bundles. The main function of the central nervous system is to sense changes in the external environment and create a reaction to them.        
    chemical energy Potential energy that is stored in the bonds of chemical compounds.        
    chylomicron Chylomicron clusters form when lipids are combined with carrier proteins in the cells of the intestinal lining. Chylomicron is a vehicle of transport for fats throughout the watery environment of the body to the liver and other tissues.        
    chyme An acidic fluid that moves from the stomach to the small intestine. It consists of gastric juices and partially digested foods.        
    circulatory system Consists of the heart, blood, and blood vessels. The main functions of this system are to transport nutrients to all cells and transport waste from all cells.        
    cis fatty acid A fatty acid with the hydrogen atoms bonded to the same side of the carbon chain.        
    coenzymes Organic compounds required by many enzymes for catalytic activity.        
    cofactors Minerals that make up part of enzymes required for converting a substrate to an end-product.        
    collagen A strong, fibrous protein typically found in skin and other connective tissues.        
    complementary foods A combination of foods that when consumed together (though not necessarily at the same time) contain all nine essential amino acids at adequate levels.        
    complete protein Foods that contain all nine of the essential amino acids.        
    concentration The amount of particles in a set volume of water.        
    conditionally essential Nutrients that are required in higher amounts only under special conditions, such as pregnancy, growth, stress, illness, or aging.        
    cortical bone Dense, strong bone that surrounds trabecular bone tissue. Also called compact bone.        
    dehydration Water loss from the body without adequate replacement.        
    dementia A disorder of the nervous system characterized by changes in the normal activity of the brain. It can be marked by memory disorders, personality changes, and altered reasoning.        
    denaturation The physical changes that can modify the molecular structure of a protein under abnormal conditions.        
    dietary fiber Polysaccharides that are highly branched, typically only found in plants, and not digested by the body.        
    Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) A set of nutrient recommendations that includes the Estimated Average Requirement (EAR), Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA), Adequate Intake (AI), Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL), Chronic Disease Risk Reduction Intake (CDRR), and Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Range (AMDR).        
    diglyceride A product of lipid digestion, consisting of a glycerol molecule that has two fatty acids attached.        
    disaccharide Two monosaccharides joined together. The most common disaccharides are sucrose, lactose, and maltose.        
    disease Any abnormal condition that affects the health of an organism and is characterized by specific signs and symptoms.        
    diuretic A substance or drug that increases urine production.        
    diverticulitis Inflammation of the diverticulum, or the out-pockets in the lining of the colon. Symptoms include lower abdominal pain, nausea, and alternating between constipation and diarrhea.        
    docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) An omega-3 fatty acid that is especially important for brain growth and development in infants. Sources of DHA include cold-water fish, dairy, and eggs.        
    dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) An imaging test performed to measure bone density. The procedure involves two X-ray beams passing through a person to calculate the amount of calcified tissue in grams per unit area of bone.        
    eating disorder A behavioral condition that involves extreme attitudes and behaviors toward food and nutrition. These disorders are characterized by overeating or under eating, and include anorexia nervosa, binge-eating disorder, and bulimia nervosa.        
    edema Swelling caused by excess fluid trapped in your body's tissues.        
    eicosanoids Compounds derived from polyunsaturated fatty acids that control several body functions.        
    eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) An omega-3 fatty acid that is made from linolenic acid; it is most commonly found in fish.        
    electrolyte A substance that contains ions. Examples of electrolytes include sodium and potassium.        
    embolism Blood vessel obstruction caused by a mass, such as a detached blood clot or other foreign body, that circulates in the bloodstream.        
    emulsifier A compound that stabilizes emulsions by allowing two immiscible liquids to combine without separation.        
    energy The quantity of work a particular system can perform.        
    energy balance When energy intake is equal to energy expended.        
    energy drinks Beverages containing extremely high levels of caffeine.        
    energy metabolism The metabolic pathways that release or store energy.        
    enzymes Proteins that conduct a specific chemical reaction in order to transform substrates into a product.        
    epidemiological studies Scientific investigations that define frequency, distribution, and patterns of health events in a population.        
    erythrocyte Red blood cell.        
    essential amino acids Amino acids that cannot be made by the body and must come from the diet.        
    essential fatty acids Fatty acids that the body cannot synthesize in adequate amounts and must be supplied through the diet.        
    Estimated Average Requirement (EAR) Average daily nutrient intake levels estimated to meet the needs of 50% of the target population. It is used in nutrition research and policy-making. EARs form the basis for which RDA values are set.        
    Estimated Energy Requirement (EER) Energy intake values that have been established to preserve energy balance in healthy adults of a specific age, sex, weight, and height, and category of physical activity concurrent with good health.        
    estrogen Primary female reproductive hormone.        
    exchange reaction A chemical reaction in which anions and cations of the reactants exchange their positions in the products.        
    extrusion reflex An involuntary reflex that causes infants to push food out of their mouths with their tongues to avoid choking.        
    failure-to-thrive (FTT) A condition in children, characterized by inadequate growth or weight gain due to any cause.        
    fatty acids Organic compounds that have a carboxylic acid (-COOH) group on one end and a methyl group (-CH3) on the other end.        
    fermentable sugars Sugars such as glucose, fructose, and maltose that are easily metabolized by bacteria in a process known as fermentation.        
    fetus An unborn offspring.        
    flexibility Capability of joints to move in a wide range of motion.        
    fluoride A mineral that blocks tooth decay and is part of mineralized bone tissue. The primary dietary source is fluoridated water.        
    food additives Natural or man-made substances added to food during processing to improve it's appearance, quality, and/or preservation.        
    food allergy After eating certain kinds of food, the immune system reacts shortly thereafter producing symptoms such as digestive troubles, swollen airways, hives, or possible death.        
    food desert A location that provides little to no access to affordable nutritious foods.        
    food infections Foodborne illness caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasites.        
    food insecurity The situation of not having continual access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food to achieve an active, healthy lifestyle.        
    food intoxications Foodborne illness caused by natural toxins or harmful chemicals.        
    food jag A behavior exhibited by a young child who insists upon eating the same foods over and over again.        
    food security The situation of having adequate access to food and ability to consume enough nutrients to achieve a healthy lifestyle.        
    foodborne illness An illness caused by consuming contaminated food or drinks.        
    free radical A molecule that has one or more unpaired electrons, making it highly reactive and unstable.        
    gastroesophageal reflux A disorder that occurs when stomach acid rises into the esophagus.        
    gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) A persistent form of acid reflux, in which acidic contents of the stomach leak backward into the esophagus and cause irritation more than two times per week.        
    gestation The process of carrying in the uterus; the time spent in the uterus between conception and birth.        
    gestational diabetes A metabolic condition characterized by elevated glucose levels in the blood during pregnancy.        
    gestational hypertension High blood pressure during pregnancy.        
    glucagon A hormone produced by the pancreas that controls glucose levels in the blood.        
    gluconeogenesis A metabolic pathway that results in the formation of new glucose molecules in the body.        
    glycemic index (GI) A measurement that ranks foods containing carbohydrates, based on their effects on blood-sugar levels.        
    glycogen A highly branched macromolecule consisting of thousands of glucose monomers held together by chemical bonds.        
    glycolysis The first stage of glucose breakdown; a ten-step enzymatic process that splits glucose into two three-carbon molecules and yields two molecules of ATP.        
    hard water Water that has a high amount of dissolved minerals (particularly calcium and magnesium).        
    heat capacity The amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of the body by one degree Celsius.        
    heat stroke Failure of the body’s temperature-regulating mechanism when exposed to excessively high temperatures; a condition caused by the body overheating.        
    hemoglobin A protein that transports oxygen in the blood.        
    high-density lipoprotein (HDL) High-density lipoproteins are also known as “good cholesterol.” They contain a high percentage of protein and a low percentage of cholesterol. They collect and transport excess cholesterol and return it to the liver to be reused or excreted.        
    hindmilk High-fat, high-calorie breast milk that the baby receives towards the end of a feeding.        
    homocysteine An amino acid produced by the body.        
    hormones Biological molecules transported in the blood that regulate cellular processes in other tissues.        
    hunger The physiological feeling of discomfort or weakness caused by a lack of food.        
    hyperkalemia Elevated potassium levels in the blood.        
    hyperlipidemia Excessive fat, or lipids, in the blood.        
    hypertension Abnormally high blood pressure. The force of the blood against the arterial walls is strong enough that it could lead to heart disease or other health issues.        
    hypoglycemia Lower than normal levels of glucose in the blood.        
    hyponatremia Lower than normal level of sodium in the blood.        
    immune system The immune system is made up of several different types of white blood cells and other components that act as barricades to foreign invaders. The functions of the immune system are to barricade, seek, recruit, attack, and destroy foreign invaders, such as bacteria and viruses.        
    immunoglobulins Proteins produced by plasma cells that function as antibodies.        
    inorganic Not consisting of or deriving from living matter. In chemistry, it refers to any compound that does not contain carbon.        
    insensible water loss The amount of body fluid that is lost daily and not easily measured.        
    insulin A hormone produced by the pancreas that regulates the amount of glucose in the blood.        
    interventional clinical trial studies Scientific investigations in which a variable is changed between groups of people.        
    intrinsic factor A protein produced by the stomach that increases vitamin B12 absorption in the intestines.        
    iron-deficiency anemia A condition that develops from having insufficient iron levels in the body, resulting in fewer and smaller red blood cells containing lower amounts of hemoglobin. Signs and symptoms include fatigue, weakness, pale skin, shortness of breath, dizziness, swollen and sore tongue, and abnormal heart rate.        
    irradiation The use of radiation on foods for sterilization and the removal of harmful bacteria or pathogens.        
    irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) A disorder characterized by muscle spasms in the colon that result in abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, and/or diarrhea. There is no permanent structural damage to the large intestine.        
    jaundice A condition characterized by yellow discoloration of the skin or whites of the eyes.        
    ketoacidosis A condition where high levels of ketones in the body cause the blood to become more acidic.        
    ketones Acidic organic compounds that are a byproduct of fat metabolism; typically produced when the body uses fat as an energy source instead of glucose.        
    kilocalorie (Calorie) A unit of energy. It is the amount of heat, that is generated by a macronutrient, to raise the temperature of 1 kilogram of water by 1 degree Celsius. Kilocalories are listed on the Nutrition Facts label as "Calories".        
    kwashiorkor A syndrome of severe protein and micronutrient deficiency, characterized by swelling (edema) of the feet and abdomen, poor skin health, growth retardation, low muscle mass, and liver malfunction.        
    lactation The medical term for the process of producing and secreting breast milk.        
    lactose intolerance The inability to digest lactose, caused by a deficiency of the enzyme lactase.        
    leukocytes White blood cells that play a role in the body’s immune system; they help the body fight infections and diseases.        
    life cycle The span of a human life, which includes different stages such as infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and older age.         
    lifestyle The way in which a person lives. The components of lifestyle are dietary habits, physical activity levels, recreational drug use, and sleeping patterns, which all play a role in health and impact nutrition.        
    linoleic acid An omega-6 fatty acid that is essential for human health.        
    lipase A pancreatic enzyme that is responsible for the breakdown of fats in food so that they can be absorbed.        
    lipids A family of organic compounds composed of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. They are insoluble in water. The three main types of lipids are triglycerides, phospholipids, and sterols.        
    lipoprotein A group of proteins that transport fats in the body.        
    low-density lipoprotein (LDL) Low-density lipoproteins are also known as “bad cholesterol.” They contain high concentrations of triacylglycerols and low concentrations of proteins. They are responsible for delivering cholesterol to the tissues in the body.        
    macronutrients Nutrients that are needed in large amounts. Includes carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, and water.        
    magnesium A mineral that is involved in nerve signaling, healthy bone building, and muscle contractions. Dietary sources of magnesium include meat, fish, dairy products, whole grains, nuts, chocolate, and coffee.        
    marasmus A syndrome of severe protein and energy deficiency, characterized by emaciation, poor skin health, and growth retardation.        
    mechanical breakdown Chewing, followed by muscular contractions in the esophagus, stomach and small intestines to break down food and transport it to the rest of the digestive system.        
    metabolic syndrome A medical condition in which people have three or more risk factors for Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.        
    metabolism The chemical reactions in the body's cells that change food into energy.        
    metastasis Spread of cancerous cells from an original location to one or more new sites within the body.        
    micelles Lipid molecules that arrange themselves in a sphere.        
    micronutrients Nutrients (including vitamins and minerals) needed in small amounts for normal growth and development.        
    moderation Eating only as much as the body needs. Not eating to the extremes, neither too much nor too little.        
    monoglyceride A product of lipid digestion, consisting of a glycerol molecule with one fatty acid attached.        
    monosaccharide The simplest unit of a carbohydrate. The most common monosaccharides are glucose, fructose, and galactose.        
    muscle endurance The muscle's ability to perform repetitive movements for a lengthy period of time.        
    muscular system The organ system that includes skeletal muscle, smooth muscle, and cardiac muscle. This system is responsible for mobility and stability.        
    mutual supplementation The process of combining two or more incomplete protein sources to make a complete protein.        
    mycotoxins Natural, poisonous substances produced by certain molds and mushrooms that can cause foodborne illness.        
    nonessential amino acid Amino acids that are produced by the body.        
    non-nutrients Substances absorbed from food that are not strictly required by the body to function.        
    nutrient-dense Foods that are high in nutrients (vitamins, minerals, complex carbohydrates, lean protein, and healthy fats), but relatively low in calories.        
    nutrient Substances that are required for the body that must be obtained from the diet to aid in growth and maintenance of life.        
    Nutrition Facts label Found on most packaged foods. Contains information such as amounts of calories, sugar, fat, vitamins, minerals, etc. Compares the amounts of nutrients in the food to the recommended intake values - these are reported as percent DV. Ingredients are also listed on the label.        
    nutritional science The investigation of how an organism is nourished, and how this nourishment affects personal, population, and planetary health.        
    nutritionist Health-care professionals who work in the field of nutrition, but do not have the credentials to be Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RD/RDN).        
    obese Having excess body fat (BMI greater than 30 for adults; BMI at the 95th percentile or higher for children and teens).        
    oligosaccharide A carbohydrate that is a chain of a few (3-10) monosaccharides.        
    organ systems Two or more organs that work together to support a specific physiological function.        
    organelles A structural or functional unit in a cell that is constructed from several macromolecules bonded together.        
    organic Relating to or derived from living matter. In chemistry, it refers to any compound that contains carbon. When used to describe food and/or farming practices, it refers to food grown or produced without synthetic pesticides or fertilizer.        
    organism A complete living system that is capable of conducting all basic life processes.        
    organ A group of tissues arranged in a specific manner to support a common function.        
    osmosis The movement of molecules through a semipermeable membrane from an area where it is highly concentrated to an area where it is less concentrated.        
    osteoblast A cell that helps build bone.        
    osteoclast A cell that helps break down bone.        
    osteocytes Star-shaped cells that are the most abundant cell type in bone tissue.        
    osteoid Bone tissue that is not mineralized.        
    osteomalacia Similar to rickets, this disease involves softening and weakening of the bones in adults due to a lack of vitamin D or a problem metabolizing the vitamin.        
    osteopenia Lower than normal bone mass.        
    overweight Having excess weight (BMI of 25.0-29.9 for adults; BMI from the 85th to less than the 95th percentile for children and teens).        
    oxidation The interaction between oxygen molecules and all the different substances they may contact. Can be more precisely defined as the loss of at least one electron when two or more substances interact and these substances may or may not include oxygen.        
    oxidative stress An imbalance in any cell, tissue, or organ between the amount of free radicals and the capabilities of its detoxifying and repair systems.        
    pancreatic amylase Enzyme secreted by the pancreas that breaks down carbohydrates in the small intestine by breaking the glycosidic bonds between monomers.        
    peak bone mass The greatest amount of bone mass that a person reaches during their lifetime.        
    pepsin An enzyme secreted by stomach that breaks the peptide bonds between amino acids to produce shorter protein fragments.        
    peptide bond The chemical bond that connects amino acids.        
    percent Daily Value (%DV) The percentage of how much the nutrient in a serving contributes to the Daily Value based on a 2,000-calorie diet.        
    peristalsis Waves of smooth muscle contraction that propel food down the digestive tract.        
    persistent organic pollutants (POPs) Hazardous organic compounds that are resistant to biodegradation and can have an adverse effect on human and environmental health.        
    pesticide A substance used for destroying insects or other organisms.        
    phospholipids Lipids that have a glycerol backbone attached to two fatty acids and a phosphate group.        
    phosphorus A mineral that makes up a substantial part of mineralized bone tissue. The dietary sources are meat, fish, and dairy products, as well as processed foods, and cola beverages.        
    physical activity Any bodily movement that is produced by the skeletal muscles that requires energy.        
    physical fitness The ability of the body systems to work together efficiently to promote good health and strength.        
    phytochemicals Nonessential plant compounds considered to have a beneficial impact on human health.        
    pincer grasp A grip that involves picking up an object with the thumb and index finger.        
    platelets Fragments of cells that, when stimulated by blood vessel injury, rush to the site of injury to help form blood clots to stop bleeding at the wound site.        
    point of unsaturation The place on a molecule where additional hydrogen atoms can attach; typically indicates the place where there is a double bond between two carbon atoms.        
    polysaccharides A long chain of monosaccharides that may be branched or not branched.        
    polyunsaturated fatty acid A fatty acid that contains two or more double bonds (points of unsaturation).        
    prebiotics Specialized plant fibers that act as food for "good" bacteria.        
    prediabetes A metabolic condition in which people have moderately high glucose levels, but do not meet the criteria for diagnosis as a diabetic.        
    preeclampsia A possible complication of pregnancy marked by elevated blood pressure and high levels of protein in the urine.        
    preventive nutrition The use of dietary practices to reduce disease and promote health and well-being.        
    probiotics Living strains of bacteria that add to the population of "good" bacteria in the digestive system.        
    prolactin A hormone produced by the pituitary gland that causes the breasts to grow and make milk during and after pregnancy.        
    proteases Enzymes that break down proteins.        
    protein turnover The processes of continually breaking down proteins and building new ones.        
    proteins Macromolecules composed of amino acids.         
    randomized clinical interventional trial studies Scientific investigations in which there is a control group and experimental group to help determine a causal relationship.        
    Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) Nutrient-intake goals designed to meet the requirements of 97-98% of the target group for a given nutrient.        
    risk factor A variable that increases the chance of developing a disease or adverse outcome.        
    satiety The sensation of feeling full; determined by mechanical and chemical signals relayed from the periphery.        
    scientific method The process of inquiry that involves making an observation, coming up with a hypothesis, conducting a test of that hypothesis, evaluating results, gathering more supporting evidence, and coming up with a conclusion.        
    sedentary behavior Activity that requires less than 1.5 times the amount of energy expended while at rest (examples include sitting, reclining, or lying down while awake).        
    socioeconomic status A measurement dependent on three variables; income, occupation, and education.        
    soluble fiber Fiber that attracts water and turns to gel, which slows digestion. Soluble fiber is readily fermented in the colon by bacteria into gases and waste byproducts.        
    solutes Any dissolved substances in a fluid.        
    solvent A substance in which other materials dissolve.        
    subsidies Federal funding given to an agricultural producer to provide assistance and support.        
    sugar alcohols Carbohydrates that occur naturally in some fruits and vegetables; however they are industrially synthesized by yeast and other microbes for use as food additives.        
    supplements Vitamins, minerals, and herbs which are taken in addition to your regular diet to promote healthy body functions or to target specific body parts.        
    T-score How much a result differs from the average. In bone density tests, it compares the patient's bone density to the average peak bone density of a healthy 30-year-old population of the same sex.        
    taste threshold Minimum concentration at which taste sensitivity to a food or substance can be perceived.        
    teratogens Substances that can cause birth defects or abnormalities in developing embryos or fetuses.        
    tissues A group of cells that share a common structure and function and that work together.        
    Tolerable Upper Intake Levels (UL) The highest average daily nutrient-intake level at which a nutrient can be consumed before it poses a risk of toxicity.        
    trabecular bone Porous bone that forms the inner structure of the bone. Also called spongy bone.        
    transamination The process of transferring an amine group from one molecule to another, typically to form new amino acids.        
    transcription The process of copying a segment of DNA into RNA.        
    translation The process of converting a sequence of a messenger RNA (mRNA) molecule to a sequence of amino acids during protein synthesis.        
    trans fatty acid A fatty acid that has hydrogens attached on opposite sides of the carbon chain.        
    triacylglycerols The most common type of fat in the body, composed of one glycerol molecule and three fatty acid molecules. Also called triglycerides.        
    triglycerides The most common type of fat in the body, composed of one glycerol molecule and three fatty acid molecules. Also called triacylglycerols.        
    Type 1 diabetes A metabolic disease in which cells in the pancreas are killed by an abnormal response of the immune system, causing a lack of insulin in the body.        
    Type 2 diabetes A metabolic disease of insulin insufficiency; also caused by muscle, liver, and fat cells no longer responding to the insulin in the body.        
    variety Consuming an abundance of foods from different food groups on a regular basis.        
    visceral fat The fat that is stored within the abdominal cavity.        
    vitamin D Both a vitamin and a hormone, vitamin D plays an essential role in maintaining calcium homeostasis. A deficiency in vitamin D compromises bone health.        
    vitamin K A vitamin that acts as a coenzyme that modifies proteins important for bone health. The dietary sources are green vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, kale, parsley, spinach, and lettuce.        
    very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) Lipoproteins that are formed in the liver and released in the bloodstream. VLDL carries triglycerides to target tissues.        
    waist-to-hip ratio A comparison of waist size to hip size. It is calculated by dividing the waist circumference by the hip circumference.        
    water-soluble Able to be dissolved in water.        
    wellness Achieving balance and integration of aspects that affect quality of life, including physical, mental, emotional, social, environmental, and spiritual dimensions.        
    • Was this article helpful?