Recently, an entrepreneur asked me to write several paragraphs on nutrition and weight loss. She forwarded my note to a dietitian employed in one of the top hospitals in the USA. The dietitian regards nutrition as a fuel that provides the body with energy to function. This triggered a response to a question posed by one of my readers.
This, therefore, brings us to this important question what nutrition is?
It refers to studying how food and other substances affect the body’s growth, health, and functioning. It involves the ingestion, absorption, transport, utilization, and excretion of food, its substances, and how they affect the body’s cells, tissues, and organs.
Good nutrition is essential for optimal health and well-being. It helps to maintain a healthy weight, provides energy and nutrients for the growth and repair of tissues, and helps to prevent chronic diseases such as obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer.
Nutrition encompasses a wide range of topics, including food’s chemistry and biochemistry, digestion and metabolism physiology, the role of vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients, and the relationship between diet and disease. It also covers the role of food in public health, food and agriculture, and global food security.
“Nutrition is a critical part of health and development. Better nutrition is related to the improved infant, child, and maternal health, stronger immune systems, safer pregnancy and childbirth, lower risk of non-communicable diseases (such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease), and longevity.” WHO
If we go by the WHO definition, nutrition has a much broader role and meaning. It has three functions- sustenance, protection, and prevention. Food is not just a biofuel for the body. I am inclined towards agreeing with the WHO view. A restricted view on the subject is a common misconception that is not just not restricted to common people like many of us but also by experts.
This takes us to the question of diet and nutrition. These are related but distinct concepts.
Diet refers to the types and quantities of food and drinks a person consumes daily. It is a short-term concept and can vary based on a person’s personal preferences, cultural background, and circumstances. For example, a person’s diet may change depending on whether they are trying to lose weight, manage a health condition, or satisfy their hunger.
On the other hand, nutrition is the study of how food and other substances affect the body’s growth, health, and functioning. It encompasses all aspects of food and its relationship with the body, including the biochemistry and physiology of food, the role of vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients, and the relationship between diet and health. It is a long-term concept that focuses on the overall impact of a person’s diet on their health and well-being.
In summary, a person’s diet reflects the foods they eat, while nutrition refers to the broader scientific understanding of how food affects the body. A nutritious diet provides all the essential nutrients the body needs to function optimally and maintain good health
Additional reading on nutrition:
- Nutrition Facts- a guide to good health
- Natural Solutions for Obesity
- Natural Solutions for Diabetes
- Natural Solutions for Cancer