Nutrition terms you should know

Nutrition: The process by which the body draws nutrients from food and uses them for body functions.

Calorie: It is a unit of energy. In human body, it represents the amount of energy provided by food and spent by activity. Calories not used as energy are converted into fat and stored in the body.

Metabolism: It is a term used to describe the production and use of energy by the body to perform body functions. It is a two-part process: one part is called catabolism – when the body spends energy and the other is called anabolism – when the body uses food to build or mend cells. Diabetes is considered a metabolic disease because it affects the body’s ability to produce and use energy.
Obesity: An abnormal and excessive amount of body fat. Obese people have 20 per cent (or more) extra body fat for their age, height and sex. Most obese people are significantly overweight. Obesity also occurs in people who are not overweight, but have more body fat than muscle.

Carbohydrate: It is a constituent of food. It is of two types:
1. Simple carbohydrate, e.g. sugar
2. Complex carbohydrate (starch), found in cereals. pulses, vegetables,etc.
Carbohydrate is broken down into glucose during digestion.

Protein: One of three major sources of calories in the diet, protein provides the body with material for building blood cells, body tissue,
hormones, muscles, etc.

Fats: It is the most concentrated source of calories in the diet.

Another name for fat is lipid. It is of two types:

1. Saturated fats – found primarily in animal products.
2. Unsaturated fats – found mainly in plants.

Unsaturated fats are of further two types – monounsaturated (olive oil) or polyunsaturated
(corn oil). Fatty Acids: A basic unit of fats. When insulin levels are too low or there is not enough glucose (sugar) to use for energy. the body burns fatty acids for energy.

Fibre: The indigestible part of foods of plant origin and common examples are skin/peel of fruits and vegetables. They are of two types — soluble and insoluble.

Glycogen: A substance made up of sugars. It is stored in the liver and muscles. Glycogen is the chief source of stored fuel in the body.

Glycogenesis: The process by which glycogen is formed from glucose. Sugar: A simple carbohydrate which is of various types, such as white, brown, etc. Fructose, lactose, sucrose, maltose, dextrose, glucose. honey, corn syrup and molasses are also sugars.

Lactose: A type of sugar found in milk and milk products.

Fructose: A type of sugar found in many fruits and vegetables and in honey.

Glucose: It is the main source of energy for the body. The amount of glucose in the blood is known as the blood glucose level.

Sucrose: Table sugar; a form of sugar that the body breaks down into a more simple form before the blood can absorb it and transport it to the cells.

Sugar Substitute: Sweeteners used in place of sugar. Some sugar substitutes have calories and affect blood glucose levels, such as fructose and sugar alcohols (sorbitol and mannitol). Others have very few calories and do not affect blood glucose levels, such as saccharin, and aspartame.

Glycaemic Index: A ranking of foods based on their effect on blood sugar levels. It measures how much blood sugar increases over a certain period after a meal. It has been observed that some kinds of foods may raiseblood glucose levels more quickly than other foods containing the same amount of carbohydrates.

Meal Plan: A guide for controlling the amount of calories, carbohydrates, proteins, and fats a person should consume. People with diabetes can use such plans as the Food Exchange Lists to help them plan their meals so that they can keep their diabetes under control.

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