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Nutrition What Is It All About?

By Edited May 25, 2015 1 2

Introduction

1.         Having an understanding of nutrition is important especially as a caterer.  Being in this business as a Catering Manager it is my responsibly to give my customer's information about nutrition and advising the customers on what a balanced diet should consist of.  If you don’t have the right nutrients inside your body it can lead to malnutrition and impaired body functions.  Different people rely on receiving the right nutrients everyday.  Nutrition is “The science of food”.

Aim

2.         During this I will be explaining the principles of nutrition, about the bodily requirements and functions.  I will take in account ethnic/religious needs, vegetarians, diets etc.  I will be going through dietary associated illnesses and finally explaining how I implement nutrition at my place of work.

Nutrition

3.         Carbohydrates, fats, proteins, minerals and vitamins are the five main nutrients groups. The body also needs water to sustain and function correctly.  Fibre is just as important to take on.  This helps the digestive transit of foodstuffs and helps the body absorb some nutrients.  It is important that you consume the right balance of all the groups.  Malnutrition can occur when just one of the nutrients are not getting to the body. On the flip side of that, too much of one nutrient  can lead to malnutrition as well.

Carbohydrates

4.         Carbohydrates are one of the main types of food.  Your liver breaks down carbohydrates into glucose (blood sugar).  Your body uses this sugar for energy for your cells, tissues and organs.  Carbohydrates are usally know as simple or complex, depending on how fast your body digests and absorbs the sugar.  You get simple carbohydrates from fruits, milk products and table sugar.  Complex carbohydrates include whole grain breads and cereals, starchy vegetables and legumes.  Complex carbohydrates and some simple carbohydrates give vitamins, minerals and fibre.  Products made with refined sugar provide little nutrition.  It is wise to limit these products.  Below is a break down of carbohydrates in food and the different sugar types and where they are found in food.

            a.         Monosaccharide’s are the most basic unit of carbohydrates.  They are the         simplest form of sugar and are usually colorless, water-soluble, crystalline solids.  Some    monosaccharide’s have a sweet taste.  Examples of monosaccharide’s include:

                        1.         Glucose – We get most of our glucose from digesting the sugar and starch  in carbohydrates.  Foods like rice, pasta, grain, potatoes, fruits, a few vegetables, and processed sweets qualify as carbohydrates.  Our digestive system, using bile and enzymes, breaks down the starch and sugar in these foods into glucose. This functional form of energy then gets absorbed through the small intestine into the bloodstream. There, a chemical known as insulin, excreted by the pancreas, meets the glucose. Together, they can enter cells in muscles and the brain, allowing glucose to power activities like lifting a book or remembering a phone number.

                        2.         Fructose – Also known as fructose, fruit sugar is a simple sugar or monosaccharide found in many different kinds of ripe fruits.  Different from glucose and sucrose, fruit sugar is extremely sweet and is often used in commercial food products.  Along with being found in a number of fruits, fructose is also present in honey and a select number or vegetables such as onions, parsnips, and sweet potatoes.

                        3.         Galactose – Sometimes referred to as brain sugar, galactose is a form of sugar that is understood to give a great deal of energy in a very small amount of product.  Because of the enhanced nutrient properties of galactose, many people classify the product as a nutritive sweetener.  One of the versions of galactose that receives a lot of attention is galactan, which is understood to be a polymer of the substance.

            b.         Disaccharides - Is the carbohydrate formed when two monosaccharide’s undergo a condensation reaction which involves the elimination of a small molecule, such as water, from the functional groups only.  Like monosaccharide’s, disaccharides also dissolve in water, taste sweet which are sugars. These can be used as sweeteners and are a ready source of energy.

                        1.         Sucrose - Is the proper term used to describe sugar.  Two simple sugars, glucose and fructose, are combined to form the complex carbohydrate known as sucrose.  The complex carbohydrate sucrose is also a disaccharide, a fancy term simply meaning a carbohydrate made up of two monosaccharides, which in this case are glucose and fructose.  Regardless of what it's called, sucrose is used to sweeten foods and give the consumer an energy boost.

                        2.         Maltose - Also known as malt sugar, maltose is formed by uniting two units of glucose that give the first link in a process that eventually results in the creation of starch.  Maltose is an important part in the process of creating fermented barley that in turn can be used to brew beer.  Adding in a third unit of glucose produces a sugar known as maltotriose, while further units make it possible to produce maltodextrin.  All these steps create concentrations of sweet product that can be used in a number of food applications, in addition to producing beer.

                        3.         Lactose - Is a major type of sugar found in milk and milk products, including human milk.  Lactose makes up less than eight percent of the solids in milk. Lactose is not found naturally in any other food aside from dairy products.  Lactose intolerance is caused by the inability of the body to break down milk sugars. In a normal person, lactase, an enzyme produced by the small intestine, breaks down lactose so it can be absorbed into the bloodstream. People who are lactose intolerant cannot produce enough lactase and are unable to process lactose.

            c.         Polysaccharides - Are essentially carbohydrate structures formed from repeated units bonded chemically.  This form of link is known as a cosidic bond. Usually, polysaccharides form into linear compounds; however, various branching can occur, changing the shape.  Polysaccharides are known as macromolecules and feature a number of different properties such as a repositioning of atoms and possible insolubility in water. One example of repositioning is in the form of DNA.  DNA is merely Ribonucleic acid (RNA) with a modified version of ribose called deoxyribose.  The different types are listed below:

                        1.         Starches - Are found in mainly root vegetables and flour.  Starch when raw is indigestible, once cooked the body is able digest the starch.  It is a slow releasing energy source and should have abundance in your diet as a source of energy.      

                        2.         Dextrin - Are a family of polysaccharides which are obtained as an intermediate byproduct of the breakdown of starches.  Many people treat dextrin like starches, since they behave in much the same way.  Dextrin are used in a wide variety of industries, and they commonly appear as a food additive in a wide range of products, which can be problematic for some people, as they may contain traces of allergens like wheat or corn.

                        3.         Glycogen - Is a polysaccharide molecule stored in animal cells along with water and used as a source of energy.  When broken down in the body, glycogen is transformed into glucose, an important source of energy for animals.  In animals, this molecule plays a role similar to that played by starch in plants.  A great deal of research has been done on glycogen and its role in the body ever since it was recognized as a critical part of the body's energy storage system.

            d.         Non starch polysaccharides are defined as fibre and comes in two forms:

                        1.         Cellulose - Is a synthetic substance that is derived from the naturally occurring organic compound cellulose. this is the main structural ingredient of plants, and is usually considered to be the most common organic compound on Earth.

                        2.         Pectin - In cooking, pectin is used as a thickening agent, and could be considered one of the most natural types around.  The first pectin available for purchase was derived from apples, which have a high amount of it.  There are other fruits that naturally contain this gelling agent, including many plums and pears.

5.         Assuming that you eat 3 meals per day, then the amount of the total energy, carbohydrate, protein and fat should be divided into 3 (33.3%) from the Recommended Nutrient Intakes (RNI).

FATS

6.         Fats have many uses in the body.  Any food material is stored in the body in the form of Fats.  Fats also give insulation to the body, especially to those animals living in very cold regions.  Fats are metabolized to release greater amount of energy than would be normally released by other sources like carbohydrates, etc.  They are also important to store certain vitamins like vitamin A, D, E and K which are soluble in fats and insoluble in water.  It helps protect vital organs such as your heart, kidneys, and liver.

7.         There are two main groups of fats, saturated fat and polyunsaturated fat.  Below are a description of these fats and where to find them:

            a.         Saturated Fat - Is one of the two main categories of fats that appear in foods.  It is distinguished from unsaturated fat in that there are no double bonds between carbon atoms in its chemical makeup, so that the fatty acids are saturated with hydrogen.  Naturally occurring saturated fat, such as the fat found in animal-based foods, congeals when cool, while naturally occurring unsaturated fat, such as olive oil, remains fluid.  Saturated fat is less likely to spoil than unsaturated fat and more stable during cooking.

            b.         Polyunsaturated Fats -  From a chemical standpoint, polyunsaturated fats are    simply fats that have more than one double-bonded (unsaturated) carbon in the molecule.             Polyunsaturated fats are typically liquid at room temperature and when chilled. Polyunsaturated fats can have a beneficial effect on your health when consumed in moderation and when used to replace saturated fats or trans fats.  Polyunsaturated fats can help reduce the cholesterol levels in your blood and lower your risk of heart disease.

Omega 3 and 6

8.         Omega 3 - Omega-3 fatty acids are considered essential fatty acids.  They are essential to human health but cannot be manufactured by the body.  For this reason, omega-3 fatty acids must be obtained from food.  Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in fish, such as salmon, tuna, and halibut, other marine life such as algae and krill, certain plants (including purslane), and nut oils.  Omega-3 fatty acids play a crucial role in brain function as well as normal growth and development.

9.         Omega 6 – Omega 6 fatty acids are derived in food sources from dietary items like eggs, meat, whole grains, cereals, polyunsaturated oils from vegetables and nuts, and most baked goods.  Most often, western diets do not require supplementation of Omega-6 because our diets tend to be packed with Omega-6.  These acids are called essential, because they are important to brain growth.

10.       There is another group of fats known as Trans Fats (or trans fatty acids) are created in an industrial process that adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid.  Another name for trans fats is partially hydrogenated oils.  Look for them on the ingredient list on food packages.  Companies like using trans fats in their foods because they’re easy to use, inexpensive to produce and last a long time.  Trans fats give foods a desirable taste and texture.  Many restaurants and fast-food outlets use trans fats to deep-fry foods because oils with trans fats can be used many times in commercial fryers.

Recommended Daily Fat Intake

Total calories
per day

Saturated fat
in grams

Total fat
in grams

1,600

18 or less

53

2,0001

20 or less

65

2,200

24 or less

73

2,5001

25 or less

80

2,800

31 or less

93

Proteins

11.       Protein is a major building block of the human body.  Hair, skin, muscle, connective tissue, metabolism, and many chemical processes in the body are affected by or made up of protein. Protein itself is made up of amino acids.  There are 20 necessary amino acids for protein, and the body produces only eleven.  This means that we need to get the remaining nine from high protein foods.  We need to consume them daily because the body doesn't store them for later use.  Eating protein high foods with a low amount of saturated fat is the healthiest way to meet your recommended daily amounts.  Be sure to read labels when you are purchasing high protein foods. In general, the best high protein foods are meat, dairy, including milk, cheese and yogurt, and eggs.  These are the most complete foods for essential amino acids.  Fish is another example of food with a high protein content.      

Vitamins

12.       There are of two types; fat soluble and water-soluble.  Fat-soluble vitamins can be stored in the body, and are used as per the body's need.  They can be replenished at regular intervals.  Water-soluble vitamins don't get stored, but travel through the bloodstream in the body, and need to be replenished daily.  Following is a quick look at what are vitamins for:

            a.         Vitamin A - A fat soluble vitamin is essential for good eyesight, normal growth,      healthy cell structure and to increase appetite.  It can be sourced from liver, fish-liver oil,          egg yolks, enriched margarine, milk products, and yellow fruits.

            b.         Vitamin B1(Thiamine) -  A water-soluble vitamin helps to break carbohydrates in the body, aids digestion and improves appetite, nervous system functioning, and helps build alcohol-damaged nerve tissues.  It is found in whole grains, brown rice, beans, peanuts, pork, and milk.

            c.         Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) - It is a water-soluble vitamin needed for healthy growth of skin, nails and hair, the breakdown of protein, fat and carbohydrates, normal formation of       important enzymes, and prevention of sores, ulcers and swelling of mouth and tongue. Sourced from milk and other dairy products, yeast, green leafy vegetables, meat, poultry, and fish.

            d.         Vitamin B3 (Niacin) - A water-soluble vitamin, essential for proper blood circulation, and the healthy functioning of the nervous system.  It helps in the synthesis of the sex hormones, like estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone, as well as cortisone, thyroxine, and insulin.  They help to support healthy skin.  They can be sourced from whole grains, lean meats, fish, and poultry.

            e.         Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) - This is water-soluble vitamin, that helps to prevent skin diseases, nerve problems, helps the body to keep up blood sugar levels and absorb protein and carbohydrate, and essential in making of hemoglobin.  It is found in whole grains and dried beans, wheat germ, brewer's yeast, bananas, chicken, pork and fish.

            f.          Vitamin B12 - A water-soluble vitamin, need to for normal development of red blood cells, formation of the nerves, production of genetic composition in cells, aids the body to effectively absorb and use carbohydrates and folic acid from the diet.  It can be sourced from dairy products, eggs, organ meats, beef, pork, and fish.

            g.         Vitamin C - This water-soluble vitamin boosts the immune defense system of the body by protecting it from viruses and bacteria, healing wounds, increasing cell lifespan, and reducing cholesterol and plaque build-up.  Citrus fruits, berries, potatoes, tomatoes, cauliflower, and green leafy vegetables are a rich source of vitamin C.

            h.         Vitamin D - A fat soluble vitamin is needed for strong bones and teeth, proper       absorption of calcium and phosphorus from the digestive tract.  Sunlight, cod liver oil, fatty fishes like sardines, herring, salmon and tuna, eggs, milk and milk products are sources of vitamin D.

                i.          Vitamin E - It is a fat soluble vitamin essential for normal brain function and cellular structure, and formation of red blood cells.  Being a powerful antioxidant, it helps fight against pollutants and toxins.  It can be easily sourced from whole grains, nuts, sprouts, soy beans, vegetable oils, green leafy vegetable, and eggs.

            j.          Vitamin K - This fat soluble vitamin is extremely important to the body, as it is needed for the clotting of blood.  It does so by playing a role in the production of prothrombin (a clotting factor). Sources of vitamin k are green leafy vegetables and dairy products.

            k.         Folic Acid or Folate - A water-soluble vitamin, folate is essential for production of red blood cells.  It is generally prescribed as a vital health supplement for women in their first trimester to prevent birth defects, such as spina bifida, cleft palate or cleft lip.  Folic acid is found in green leafy vegetables, eggs, carrots, apricots, beans, pumpkin, etc.

13.       All vitamins are essential for the smooth functioning of the body.  While deficiency hampers growth, an overdose, especially of the fat soluble vitamins can lead to health problems.  Now that you know about vitamins and what they do, it is always recommended to have necessary and regular checkups done to assess our daily vitamin need.

Recommended Daily Vitamins

Vitamins

Women (RDA)

Men (RDA)

Vitamin A

700 mcg

900 mcg

Thiamin (B1)

1.1 mg

1.2 mg

Riboflavin (B2)

1.1 mg

1.3 mg

Niacin (B3)

14 mg

16 mg

Vitamin B6

1.3 mg

1.3 mg

Vitamin B12

2.4 mcg

2.4 mcg

Vitamin C

75 mg

90 mg

Vitamin D

5 mcg

5 mcg

Vitamin E

15 mg

15 mg

Vitamin K

90 mcg

120 mcg

Folate

400 mcg

400 mcg

Biotin

30 mcg

30 mcg

Vegetarians

14.       In general, a vegetarian is someone whose diet does not include certain animal products. There are five main types of vegetarians:

            a.         Semi-Vegetarians aka Flexitarians - Semi-vegetarians limit their intake of either  certain types of meat or the amount of meat.  For example, they might eat no red or white meat (beef, pork, venison, etc), but eat fowl and fish.  Or they might only eat meat once or twice a week. Someone who only eats fish can also be called a pescatarian.  (Purists would say that semi-vegetarians are not vegetarians at all, but I have included them to show the complete hierarchy.)

            b.         Ovo-Lacto Vegetarians - The most common type, ovo-lacto vegetarians do not eat any animals, but do eat eggs and dairy products.

Subcategories:  

                        1.         Ovo vegetarians (eat eggs but not dairy).
                        2.         Lacto vegetarians (eat dairy but not eggs)

            c.         Vegans - Vegans eat no animal products - no eggs, no dairy, no honey, etc.

            d.         Raw/Living Foodists - Raw or Living Foodists eat only raw food, because enzymes are destroyed by normal cooking processes.

            e.         Fruitarians - Fruitarians eat only fruit, fruit-like vegetables (e.g., tomatoes,             cucumbers), and sometimes seeds and nuts.

Diets Related Illness

15.       This section will look at several illnesses related to people's dietary habits.

            a.         Diabetes - Diabetes mellitus (just called diabetes from now on) occurs when the level of glucose (sugar) in the blood becomes higher than normal.  There are two main types of diabetes. These are called Type 1 diabetes and Type 2 diabetes.

                         1.            Type 1 - Is the type of diabetes that typically develops in children and young adults.  In Type 1 diabetes the body stops making insulin and the blood glucose level goes very high.  Treatment to control the blood glucose level is with insulin injections and a healthy diet. Other treatments aim to lower the risk of complications and include reducing blood pressure if it is high, and to lead a healthy lifestyle.

                        2.         Type 2 - Occurs mainly in people aged over 40.  The 'first-line' treatment is diet, weight control and physical activity.  If the blood glucose level remains high despite these measures, then tablets to lower the blood glucose level are usually advised.  Insulin injections are needed in some cases.  Other treatments include reducing blood pressure if it is high, and other measures to reduce the risk of complications.

            b.         Coronary Heart Disease - Coronary heart disease (CHD) develops when the   artery supplying blood to the heart becomes partially or wholly blocked.  It’s often caused by fatty deposits building up on the inside lining of the arteries.  This causes symptoms of  chest pain, which is temporary and treatable.  CHD can result in a heart attack if the blood supply to the heart is stopped for long enough to cause damage.Heart disease is a concern for everyone.  Research suggests there are just over 2.6 million people living with the condition in the UK.   The older you are, the more likely you are to have heart disease.  It affects about one in four men and one in five women aged 75 and over.  The good news is that heart disease is largely preventable.  There are small changes you can make to your  diet and lifestyle which significantly lower your risk of developing CHD in the future, or having another heart attack.  Keeping your heart healthy will also have other health benefits, reducing your risk of stroke and dementia.

            c.         Osteoporosis - Osteoporosis is a condition that affects the bones, causing them to         become thin and weak.  Approximately three million people in the UK have osteoporosis,    and there are over 230,000 fractures every year as a result.  Osteoporosis happens more        commonly in old age when the body becomes less able to replace worn-out bone.  Special             cells within the bones, called living bone cells, are no longer able to break down old bone   and renew it with healthy, dense new bone.

            d.         Obesity - Obesity is more than just a few extra pounds.  Obesity is the heavy       accumulation of fat in your body to such a degree that it rapidly increases your risk of   diseases that can damage your health and knock years off your life, such as heart disease and diabetes.  The fat maybe equally distributed around the body or concentrated on the stomach (apple-shaped) or the hips and thighs (pear-shaped).  For medical purposes, the body mass index (BMI) is used to find if your weight is in the healthy range.  The BMI does not take in account the weight of a body builder or athlete where depending on their training or sport will depend on their BMI.  Muscle is heavier than fat so if you have a high BMI as a body builder more than likely you will be obese but not necessarily unhealthy.

RNI’s and LRNI’s

16.       In 1991, a committee of experts researched and set the Dietary Reference Values (DRVs).  DRVs are a series of estimates of the amount of energy and nutrients needed by different groups of healthy people in the UK population.  In summary, RNI is often used as a reference amount for population groups, LRNI is a useful measure of nutritional inadequacy and EAR is used for energy.

            a.         The Reference Nutrient Intake (RNI) is the amount of a nutrient that is enough to make sure that the needs of nearly all the population (97.5%) are being met.

            b.         The Lower Reference Nutrient Intake (LRNI) is the amount of a nutrient that is enough for only the small number of people who have low requirements (2.5%).  The majority of the population will need more.

            c.         The Estimated Average Requirement (EARs) is an estimate of the average need for energy, for a nutrient.  Approximately 50% of the population will need less   energy or the nutrient and 50% of the population will need more.

National Nutritional Guidelines

17.       Making food choices for health can be challenging.  The Food and Nutrition Guidelines have been developed to promote a variety of foods low in fat, particularly meat and dairy fats, and salt.  While these guidelines cannot guarantee health, they offer a base for us to menu plan. 

Health is dependant on many factors such as lifestyle, environment, mental health and exercise.

            a.  Eat a variety of foods from, each of the four major food groups every day. Vegetables and fruits, bread and cereal foods, milk and milk products, especially the low-fat varieties, lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts or pulses.

            b.         Prepare meals with minimal added fat (especially saturated fat) and salt.

            c.         Choose pre-prepared foods, drinks and snacks that are low in fat (especially         saturated fat), salt and sugar.

            d.         Maintain a healthy body weight by regular physical activity and by healthy eating.

            e.         Drink plenty of liquids each day.

            f.          If drinking alcohol, do so in moderation.

19.       As a Catering Manager, one of my responsibilities is to promote and make sure my customers are getting the nutrients they need on a daily basis.  I meet this by monitoring the daily menu’s and ensuring the customers have the information available to them by notices boards, leaflets on the tables and posters.  Apart from the 3 meals a day we offer a retail service selling salads, baguette, jacket potato’s, omelette, burgers and all day breakfasts which are available throughout working hours.  At the end of the day the customer chooses what they want to eat, I can only advise and offer guidance if they want it to what to eat or to maintain a balanced diet. 

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Comments

Jan 28, 2012 1:09pm
inkedwriter
Fantastic information. My wife is a chef and is constantly preaching about eating properly and finding nutritional balance.
Jan 29, 2012 5:45am
dansoph
Thanks, you can eat whatever you want just as long as you vary your diet and keep it balanced and try do some sort of exercise at least 3 times a week. That has always seen me right. I'm not the fittest person in the world but this is as basic as it gets bud. i think the key thing about all this nutrition lark is just be honest with yourself and disciplined.
Remember Nutrition is the science of food!!
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