Understanding the Nutrition Science of Food
The word food brings to mind sweet delicious meals that humans love to eat. It also brings to mind the fact that humans are constantly hunting for food, whether it be plants, animals, fungus, insects, etc. It also brings to mind all the effort people put into gathering food and preparing it the best they can so that the food is flavorful and nutritious at the same time.
So if food is so important, why do some people shun it? Some just see food as a substance that is there to be used, without any effort or obligation on their part. Food is generally of animal, plant or even fungal origin, and is rich in various nutrients, including proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, or even minerals. While all these things may be true, it does not mean that food necessarily provides the nutrients we need. And when you think about it, the kinds of food that people eat each day, and especially the ones that we don’t, are far from being complete or ideal.
Take carbohydrates for instance. How many times have you heard someone proclaims that carbohydrates are the building blocks of the body, and therefore ought to be eaten regularly? Or how about protein, which is also known as the fuel that drives the body? Even the most muscular athletes admit to supplementing protein to help fuel their workouts. But if you think about it, you will realize that the majority of us have too much carbohydrates in our diets, and that is often the case even for those who are lean. The reason being that carbohydrates can give way to fats that can clog up our arteries and contribute to various health issues, while fats are simply a waste that cannot be used over again.
Fats should not be ignored either, as they too can be harmful if used improperly. The common additive, Trans-fat, is bad news for anyone trying to lose weight because it causes a rise in fat content without any extra calories. On the other hand, saturated fats should be avoided at all costs, as they add nothing but additional fat to food. The good news is that many kinds of fats can be used in food, including olive oils, coconut oil and butter.
In addition to these, another issue that arises with processed foods is contamination. The major ingredient in most packaged foods, sugar, is a sure food contaminants that should be avoided at all costs, as it contributes to obesity, which is a contributing factor in heart disease. Also, many preservatives used in the production of processed foods can also be problematic, contributing to chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s. All these things add up to making healthy choices, especially in terms of nutrition and diet.
Fortunately, there have been some major improvements in the food system over the past few decades. For starters, food processing methods have become increasingly more refined and specialized, which allows manufacturers to create food products that are healthier, more delicious and more nutritious than ever before. Processed food manufacturers have taken care of one of the biggest drawbacks of the old food supply, which was contamination. They have created systems that can successfully prevent many common food contaminants, making the food supply safe for everyone. This progress has benefited humanity, but it is also benefiting the food system itself, which is ultimately the point of the story.