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Nutrition and Diet: Questions and Answers

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What is nutrition? Why is nutrition essential to our daily lives?

What is the connection between nutrition and health?

What are the six classes of nutrients? What are essential nutrients? What are the sources of nutrients? What do nutrients do?

How do vitamins and minerals work?

What does it mean to eat a balanced diet? Why is food choice important for good nutrition?

What is undernutrition? What is overnutrition?

Why is physical activity important as it relates to nutrition and health?

Where might you find dietary recommendations? What are the recommended dietary allowances (RDA)? What are dietary reference intakes (DRIs)?

The United States Department of Agriculture created a diagram titled MyPlate.

What is this diagram? Why should someone study this diagram?

What are some tools for diet planning?

What is the calorie intake calculator? What factors does this calculator take into account?

What are some dangers associated with dieting?

What is the best way to lose weight?

How does exercise influence body weight?

Consider your personal dietary habits. What are some modifications you might make to promote good health?

How does today's society affect our nutritional habits?

References:
Grosvenor, M. B., & Smolin, L. A. (2012). Visualizing nutrition: Everyday choices (2nd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Wardlaw, G. M., & Smith, A. M. (2011). Contemporary nutrition (8th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

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Solution Preview

1. What is nutrition? Why is nutrition essential to our daily lives?

Nutrition is the process involved in the intake and utilization of food by living organisms, and includes ingestion, digestion, absorption, and metabolism of nutrients found in food. The American Dietetic Association defines nutrition in a broader sense, and points out that the process of nutrition is affected by psychological, sociological and economic factors.

Nutrition is essential to out daily lives since it affects our health. Good nutrition can increase immunity, lower susceptibility to disease, increase productivity, and enhance physical and mental development. Ultimately, nutrition serves as fuel to power our lives. The better our nutrition, the better prepared and able we are to operate at maximum efficiency.

2. What is the connection between nutrition and health?

Nutrition plays an important role in the progression of a variety of diseases. The National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion 'indicates that good nutrition lowers people's risk for many chronic diseases, including heart disease, stroke, some types of cancer, diabetes, and osteoporosis' (Williams, 2010). The National Cancer Institute estimates that one-third of cancers are linked in some way to diet.

The type of food we ingest, as well as how it is prepared and packaged, and its' source are all involved in deciding the healthiness of our diet. As well, the amount of food we eat also has an impact on our overall health. Too much food can lead to obesity, which can lead to a greater incidence of disease. Too little food can lead to malnutrition, also associated with disease, as well as inadequate development.

3. What are the six classes of nutrients? What are essential nutrients? What are the sources of nutrients? What do nutrients do?
The six classes of nutrients are broken down into the following categories:
Macronutrients:
- Carbohydrates
- Proteins
- Fats
Micronutrients:
- Vitamins
- Minerals
- Water

Carbohydrates can be found in fruits, vegetables, breads, cereals, pastas, sweets, soda, juice, and sugary drinks. Protein is found in dairy and meat products (tofu, too!). Fats are found in dairy, meat, sweets. Vitamins and minerals can be found in fruits, vegetables, meat (iron), whole grains, and supplements. Water can be found in fruits and vegetables as well as from drinking water and other liquids.

An essential nutrient is a nutrient required for normal body functioning that cannot be synthesized by the body. Included in this list are vitamins, dietary minerals, essential fatty acids and essential amino acids. Also, water and carbohydrates. Essential nutrients must be obtained from the foods we eat.

Nutrients fuel the body, allowing us to function well physically and mentally. Nutrients give our body energy, to allow our body to digest, control our temperature, use our muscles, grow and make new tissue. Nutrients provide energy, help regulate metabolic processes important for energy production and temperature regulation, and support the growth and development of the body.

Specifically, water regulates body temperature by regulating heat (a by-product of energy production), carries nutrients throughout your body and helps with elimination. Carbohydrates supply energy. Protein builds and repair muscles. Fats store energy. Vitamins and minerals regulate body functions and, in the case of minerals help form structures (bones) of the body.

4. How do vitamins and minerals work?

Vitamins and minerals work to provide a key to unlock the energy stored in food. Some vitamins and minerals work together, like zinc and vitamin A. Zinc enables the body to use vitamin A to promote vision. Vitamin A deficiency can lead to night blindness. Water-soluble vitamins (B, C) are absorbed by the body through the bloodstream, as food is broken down during digestion or as a supplement is dissolved. These vitamins release energy, produce energy, build proteins and cells, and make collagen. Fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, E, K) enter the blood via lymph channels in the intestinal wall, utilizing bile. Often fat-soluble vitamins are coupled with a protein to travel through the body. The vitamins are used throughout the body but excess is stored in the liver ...

Solution Summary

This detailed solution defines nutrition, and explains why it is essential, discusses the connection between nutrition and health, outlines the six classes of nutrients, the essential nutrients, sources of nutrients and explains what nutrients do. It also describes how vitamins and minerals work, what it means to eat a balanced diet, why food choice is important. It explains under and over nutrition, describes why physical activity is important, and expains difference between RDA's and DRI's, as well as explaining MyPlate. It shares dangers associated with dieting, the best way to lost weight, and explains how society affects our nutritional habits. APA references are included.

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