Vidafuel Glossary: Nutrition Facts
In the nutritional world, there are plenty of terms and definitions. And it is well-documented that nutrition plays an important role in preventing several common diseases.
To help you comprehend and make good choices, Vidafuel produces a nutrient glossary that includes definitions of common nutritional words.
Albumin: Albumin is the blood's primary and most abundant protein that carries various substances throughout the body, including hormones, vitamins, and enzymes. It is made by the liver, helps keep fluid in the bloodstream, and plays a crucial role in healing wounds, fighting infections, and providing a great energy source to the body.
Amino Acids: Amino acids are the building blocks of all proteins. Twenty different amino acids combine in various sequences to make all the proteins required for metabolism and growth. Our body can manufacture 12 of these amino acids from recycled proteins; however, the other might need to be derived from our food.
Anabolism: Anabolism is the organization of simple molecules being built up into larger, complex molecules. This centers around bone growth mineralization and muscle mass build-up, which requires energy.
Animal protein: Animal proteins, such as meat, eggs, and milk, are complete proteins that provide all of the essential amino acids our body needs. Animal products provide the highest-quality protein sources.
Basal metabolic rate (BMR): BMR measures the energy level required to maintain the body's vital life functions and is measured when the body is at complete rest.
Body mass index (BMI): BMI measures a person's body size by calculating their weight relative to their height. BMI = kg/m2.
Bone density: Bone density is a measure of the strength of a bone by determining the number of minerals within the amount of bone. Bone density increases throughout childhood and adolescence to peak at about 30 years and then slowly declines with aging.
Calcium: We need calcium for strong bones and teeth. Calcium is found in dairy products, fortified soy drinks, green leafy vegetables, nuts, and seeds.
Calorie: Calorie is an energy measurement, and one kcal is equivalent to approximately 4.184 kilojoules.
Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates are the most readily converted energy source, and good sources include rice, bread, cereal, legumes, fruits, and vegetables which also provide essential nutrients. Additional carbohydrate sources include refined sugars, which provide instant energy but don't offer the nutrients that the more complex sources of carbohydrates do.
Catabolism: Catabolism breaks down a more critical and complex molecule into a smaller and simpler molecule, releasing energy. An example is when we digest our food, protein is broken down into amino acids, triglycerides into fatty acids, and glycogen into glucose.
Cholesterol: Cholesterol is a sterol made by the body and is found naturally in animal products such as meat, eggs, poultry, and dairy foods.
Collagen: Collagen is the main protein in the body and represents more than half of our bodies’ overall protein content. It’s made up of amino acids (glycine, proline, hydroxyproline, and arginine). Collagen is one of the critical molecules that holds our bodies together and can be found in our skin, ligaments, bones, and anywhere else connective tissue exists.
Diabetes: Diabetes is a disease caused by the inability of the body to control the amount of sugar (glucose) in the blood. Type 1 diabetes results from the body's incapacity to produce insulin in the pancreas, and Type 2 diabetes is due to the body cells developing insulin resistance.
Diet: Diet is the kind and amount of food prescribed for a person (or animal) for a particular reason or purpose. Also, a regimen of eating and drinking sparingly reduces one's weight while going on a diet.
Diuretic: A diuretic is a substance that increases urine production, thereby increasing water removal from the body. Caffeine is a naturally occurring diuretic.
Energy: Energy is the fuel we need from food to function and be active. Energy requirements vary depending on age, body size, and physical activity. It’s essential to monitor your energy consumption as too much energy can lead to weight gain.
Enzymes: Enzymes are substances that speed up chemical reactions. For example, in our body, some enzymes help break down the food we eat and release energy.
Essential fatty acids: Essential fatty acids are the fatty acids that the body cannot synthesize sufficiently for physiological needs and must therefore be acquired from the diet. There are two essential fatty acids; linoleic acid, an omega-6, and linolenic acid, omega-3 fat.
Fats: Fats (or lipids) are an essential source of energy in the diet as they: are a carrier for the fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K); provide a very concentrated source of energy; the starting ingredient for some hormones and essential fatty acids which our body cannot produce.
Fat (saturated): Saturated fat consists of triglycerides containing only saturated fatty acid radicals.
Fiber: Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that the body can't digest. Though most carbohydrates are broken down into sugar molecules called glucose, fiber cannot be broken down into sugar molecules; instead, it passes through the body undigested.
Fructose: Fructose is a type of sugar that is found naturally in fruit and honey.
Glucose: Glucose is a simple sugar derived from the breakdown of carbohydrates. Glucose is a primary fuel source for the body, particularly the brain.
Gluten: Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, triticale, and possibly oats (dependant on cross-contamination during processing). The gluten gives dough its sticky cohesiveness, essential in manufacturing many products such as bread.
Iron: Iron helps create healthy blood and carries oxygen around the body. Iron is found in vegetables, wholegrain bread, cereals, green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, and meat.
Lactose: Lactose is the sugar found in milk, and the body breaks it down to glucose and galactose.
Macronutrients: Macronutrients are the critical nutrients in the diet that provide us with energy: carbohydrates, protein, and fat.
Metabolism: Metabolism refers to the chemical processes in our body that turn what we eat into energy. The energy can then be used for all activities, including walking, talking, thinking, and breathing.
Micronutrients: Micronutrients are the general name given to compounds that are needed in minute quantities to sustain a healthy body, such as vitamins and minerals.
Nutrients: Nutrients are substances from food that we require for metabolism or physiological processes. Carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and water are all nutrients.
Nutrition: The process of taking in and use of food and other nourishing material by the body. Nutrition is a 3-part process. First, food or drink is consumed. Second, the body breaks down the food or drink into nutrients.
Omega-3: Omega-3 fatty is an essential fat, which means they are needed to survive. We get the omega-3 fatty acids we need from the foods we eat, and fish are the best food source of omega-3 fatty acids.
Osteopenia: Osteopenia is a loss of bone mineral density (BMD) that weakens bones, and it's more common in people older than 50, especially women. Osteopenia has no signs or symptoms, but a painless screening test can measure bone strength.
Osteoporosis: Osteoporosis is a health condition that weakens bones, making them fragile and more likely to break. It develops slowly over several years and is often only diagnosed when a fall or sudden impact causes a bone to break (fracture).
Phosphorus: Phosphorus is an essential mineral found in nature combined with oxygen as phosphate. Most phosphate in the human body is in bone, but phosphate-containing molecules are also necessary components of cell membranes and lipoprotein particles.
Plant protein: Plant protein is a significant food source of protein which is from plants. This group can include pulses, tofu, soy, tempeh, seitan, nuts, seeds, certain grains, and peas.
Potassium: Potassium is an essential mineral that helps regulate heart function, blood pressure, and nerve and muscle activity. Potassium is also required for carbohydrate and protein metabolism and helps maintain the proper pH within the body.
Protein: Protein is vital for the growth of body cells, and it is a macronutrient made up of building blocks called amino acids. Protein makes up our muscles, bones, hair, skin, and nails, helps our organs function correctly, and is key to building muscle and supporting immunity.
Protein drinks: Protein drinks are typically made from whey protein. It delivers a quick, powerful dose of high-quality protein.
Sarcopenia: Sarcopenia is the age-related loss of muscle mass, strength, and function, and it leads to weakness and decreased activity, which further contributes to the loss of muscle mass. There are several leading causes of sarcopenia, and those who suffer from obesity, diabetes, and low vitamin D levels are more susceptible to it.
Sodium: Sodium is an electrolyte that helps maintain the acid-base balance of the blood, helps regulate blood pressure and water balance in cells, and aids in muscle contraction and nerve impulse transmission.
Sugar: Sugar is a sweet material consisting of sucrose obtained from sugarcane or sugar beets, is typically colorless or white when pure, and is commonly used to sweeten foods and beverages. It is also a carbohydrate.
Vitamins: Vitamins are molecules that are needed in small amounts by the body for health and growth, and they must be obtained by the diet daily.
Vitamin D: Vitamin D promotes the absorption and use of calcium and phosphate for healthy bones and teeth. The body synthesizes vitamin D when our skin is exposed to at least 10-15 minutes of sunshine daily.
Whey Protein: Whey protein is one of the primary proteins found in dairy products. It provides substantial amounts of the essential amino acids needed to carry out the functions that proteins perform in the body. It is commonly used as a protein supplement and might improve the diet's nutrient content and affect the immune system.
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