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Understanding the Basics of Food and Nutrition

There is no limit to the kinds of information available regarding food and nutrition. Taking the time to determine which food and nutrition resources are based on fact and which on fiction can be a complicated and confusing task. One way to help make sense of it all is to gain an understanding of the basics of food and nutrition, and using that knowledge to help guide your decisions. A large amount of information on food and nutrition can be accessed easily.

The nutritional information regarding common foods, such as lettuce or apples, is often available from many online sources. If you are going for a meal at a restaurant, food and nutrition information is often accessible to diners. One of the most common pieces of food and nutrition information you will see involves calories. Whether it is how many calories you need to maintain your current weight, or how many calories are in a certain food, understanding calories can help you understand your food and nutrition needs better.




Calories are a measurement based on how much energy a food or beverage provides your body. The more calories it has, the more potential energy it provides. The issue comes when you take in more energy than your body needs. This often results in your body storing the excess energy as fat in order to use it later. Balancing the number of calories you bring in with the amount you use as energy promotes a balanced weight while fewer calories consumed than used results in weight loss.

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Calories come from some major building blocks; fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. Your body requires all three to function, produce energy, build muscles, and maintain proper body temperature. Learning which are present in food items makes understanding how food and nutrition work together simpler. You can compare what you are consuming to the food and nutrition guidelines produced by the USDA to get an overview of your recommendations. There is more to food and nutrition than just calories. Your body requires certain vitamins and minerals to maintain a healthy body. It is important to understand how food and nutrition influence this as well. Each food contains a variety of compounds, some of which are vitamins and minerals. These items are necessary components in ensuring your basic food and nutrition requirements are met. The daily recommended amount varies for each vitamin and mineral. Many foods provide information regarding how much of each they contain and you can compare this to your daily needs to ensure you are meeting your requirements.


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