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1: Basic Concepts in Nutrition
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- 1.1: Introduction to Nutrition
- Nutrients are substances required by the body to perform its basic functions. Most nutrients must be obtained from our diet, since the human body does not synthesize or produce them. Nutrients have one or more of three basic functions: they provide energy, contribute to body structure, and/or regulate chemical processes in the body. These basic functions allow us to detect and respond to environmental surroundings, move, excrete wastes, respire (breathe), grow, and reproduce.
- 1.2: Impact of Diet and Lifestyle on Health
- Good nutrition, physical activity and a healthy lifestyle are essential for good health. A well established body of research links poor diet and inactivity to a wide range of preventable diseases and premature death. The U.S. Center's for Disease Control (CDC) tracks data about the leading causes of death and disease and provides a wide range of resources for health professionals and the public to support healthier lifestyles.
- 1.3: Achieving a Healthy Diet
- The nutritional value of a food is only one of many factors that affect the dietary choices individuals make. There are five key factors that make up a healthful diet: (1) An adequate diet, (2) A balanced diet, (3) Calorie control, (4) Moderation, and (5) Variety.
- 1.4: Research and the Scientific Method
- Nutritional scientists discover the health effects of food and its nutrients by first making an observation. Once observations are made, they come up with a hypothesis, test their hypothesis, and then interpret the results. After this, they gather additional evidence from multiple sources and finally come up with a conclusion. This organized process of inquiry used in science is called the scientific method.
- 1.5: Types of Scientific Studies and Nutrition Assessment Methods
- There are various types of scientific studies on humans that can be used to provide supporting evidence for a particular hypothesis. These include epidemiological studies, interventional clinical trials, and randomized clinical trials. Valuable nutrition knowledge also is obtained from animal studies and cellular and molecular biology research.
- 1.6: Food Quality
- One measurement of food quality is the amount of nutrients it contains relative to the amount of energy it provides. High-quality foods are nutrient dense, meaning they contain significant amounts of one or more essential nutrients relative to the amount of calories they provide. Nutrient-dense foods are the opposite of “empty-calorie” foods such as carbonated sugary soft drinks, which provide many calories and very little, if any, other nutrients.
- 1.7: Conversions and Units of Measure
- Amounts of substances and energies must always be expressed in numbers and units (in order to make some sense of what you are talking about). You should also develop a sensation about quantities every time you encounter them; you should be familiar with the name, prefix, and symbol used for various quantities.