Unit 12. Food and Nutrition Issues
12.1 Introduction to Food and Nutrition Issues
There are many diet patterns globally, in all regions and cultures. Each is influenced by past traditions, along with the produce and livestock available to eat.
Today, most nations have their own set of dietary guidelines influenced by the culture, climate, and foods grown in the region of the world. For example, mainland Americans typically eat a lot of corn and potatoes because these crops are plentiful. Hawaiians consume lots of coconuts and pineapples, and the typical Alaskan diet is abundant in salmon and reindeer.
The phrase “you are what you eat” means that your body will respond to the food it receives, either good or bad. Good nutrition equates to receiving enough (but not too much) of the macronutrients (proteins, carbohydrates, and fats) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) so that the body can stay healthy and grow properly, and work effectively. Processed, sugary, high-fat, and excessively salted foods leave the body unable to perform effectively. By contrast, eating various foods from all food groups fuels the body by providing what it needs to produce energy, promote metabolic activity, prevent micronutrient deficiencies, ward off chronic disease, and bolster a sense of overall health and well-being.
By the end of this unit, you will be able to:
- Explain what functional foods are and the categories of them.
- Describe the different trends in diets and list the most common ones.
- Describe the relationship between nutrition and health.
- Differentiate between undernutrition and malnutrition.
- Explain why some people are underweight and the various weight-related disorders.
- Define food insecurity and discuss programs designed to ameliorate the problem.
Image: “Earth in Hand”e from flickr.com
Attributions for Unit 12
- University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Food Science and Human Nutrition Program, “Nutritional Issues,” CC BY-NC 4.0