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Concepts of Nutrition

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Nutrition
Wordcount: 2877 words Published: 23rd Sep 2019

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Nutrition assignment 1


Food is any type of substance that can provide nutrients for a person. This could be within any part of their diet such as carbohydrates, proteins, fats etc. It is defined by anything that can be ingested and metabolized into energy and body tissue by a living organism (1). A living thing will need to consume food to gain the correct amount of nutrients for the to survive and function normally. Food is the easiest way for a person to ingest these nutrients into their body so that they can be well nourished and healthy.


Diet is a selection of food in which a person or animal ingests in order to control weight and gain the right amount of nutrients that can be contracted from different types of food (2). Within someone’s diet they may take in many different types of food such as:

  • Carbohydrates
  • Protein
  • Fats                                                                 
  • Fibre
  • Water            
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals

For a person to have a good diet and to contract the right amount of nutrients they will need some of each of these food groups. However, in someone’s diet they will need different amount of each group. This could mean they need to intake more carbohydrates than what they do fats. This will differ from person to person as everyone will need different things. For example, a sports player may need more carbohydrates to provide more energy whereas, someone may need more protein for growth and repair.

Food labelling

 Food labelling involves the labels on the packaging of any type of food to discuss what is contained within the product. This is important as it allows a person easily to identify what is inside the product so if they have an allergy they know if they can eat it or not. It can also help to keep tract the amount of foods you are eating with high sugars, fats or even calories. Having food labels on products helps people to keep a healthy and balance diet.

The labels often include the amount of energy ad calories contained in the product, the levels of fats (saturated and unsaturated), and the levels of any other food groups (such as carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins etc.) The nutrition values are often giving per portion of food or by each 100g (3). Having food labels on products is important for someone’s nutritional health because it means they can tract what they are eating to ensure they are getting the correct amount of nutrients they need.

Over nutrition

Over nutrition is defined as extravagant intake of food. This is usually used to refer to intaking unbalanced of food, either healthy or unhealthy (4). It is an imbalanced nutritional status which generally develops an energy imbalance between energy expenditure and food consumption which may even lead to disorders such as obesity (5). When someone has too much nutrients inside their body it may lead to excessive weight gain or obesity. This can be serious because it may cause later complications for someone. This will mean that people may become unhealthy from having too much nutrients.


Obesity is a medical disorder that refers to someone who has an excessive amount of body fat, causing them to be extremely overweight. It is estimated that 1 in every 4 adults are obese, meaning it is a common problem in the UK. It is cause when someone intakes too much food, especially those with fatty acids and sugars, and takes part in a low amount of physical activity. This causes them to gain excessive amounts of weight. 

  For most adults, a BMI of:

  • 18.5 to 24.9 means you’re a healthy weight
  • 25 to 29.9 means you’re overweight
  • 30 to 39.9 means you’re obese
  • 40 or above means you’re severely obese

However, as there are many people who have a higher muscle percentage than what they do have in body fat, a BMI cannot be used to identify obesity very easily. This is because they may have high BMI with no excess body fat.

Obesity can affect people in many ways, the physical side of it is only one factor as it may lead to many different life-threatening conditions. These could be as follows; type 2 diabetes; coronary har disease; some types of cancer (breast cancer or bowel cancer) and a stroke. It can be treated by:

  • Eating a balanced diet- this may need to be recommended by a GP or a Dietician to ensure it is correct and suited to the person
  • Take part in more physical activity
  • Join a group to help with weight loss

For someone who is obese their nutritional health is affected dramatically as they will be overeating too many nutrients causing them to be unhealthy and have heavy weight gain (6).

Eatwell guide

The eat well guide is a recommendation on achieving a balanced diet from the government. It is a policy tool to define eating healthy to society. (7)

There are five main sections to the eat well plate which are as follows:

  • potatoes, bread, rice, pasta and other starchy carbohydrates.
  • fruit and vegetables.
  • dairy and alternatives.
  • beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins.
  • oils and spreads.
  • drink 6-8 cups / glasses of fluid each day.


The eat well guide contains each of the necessary nutrients and food groups to be healthy and maintain a balanced diet. It is advised that in someone’s diet they should intake; 38% starchy carbohydrates, 33% fruit and vegetables, 12% meat and fish etc, 8% dairy and 1% oils and fats. Eating these amounts will allow someone to maintain a healthy diet.


A nutrient is a substance that helps metabolism or growth by providing nourishment. People gain nutrients from the food that we eat (9). Nutrients are essential for growth and repair within the human body, they provide energy so that necessary functions of the body can be carried out. Nutrients are crucial to life and health, they also help to regulate chemical processes. There are six major nutrients: Carbohydrates, Lipids (fats), Proteins, Vitamins, Minerals and Water. (10)

Nutrients are essential for nutritional health as they allow someone to be well-nourished and healthy in order to accomplish whatever thy want to.


Malnutrition is when someone has a poor amount of nutrition within their bodies. This may mean that they have a poor health and lack the energy they need to function normally. Malnutrition can be cause by many different things such as: not taking in enough through foods, illness (chronic diarrhea), eating an unbalanced diet. This will result in inadequate amounts of nourishment within the body (11).

Signs and symptoms of malnutrition:

-          weight loss

-          a low body weight (a BMI under 18.5 means they are at risk of being malnourished)

-          lack of interest of eating/drinking

-          feeling tired all the time

-          weak immune system

-          feeling fragile or weak

Anyone can be affected by malnutrition however, it is more likely to occur in people who have swallowing problems, have an illness that may affect their eating/weight, people who are isolated or who need more energy (cystic fibrosis). (12)

Malnutrition can cause people to become extremely ill and cause them to become unhealthy as they don’t have the correct nutrients they need.


Undernutrition is defined as a nutritional deficiency. It is caused from a lack of nutrients from food from either not intaking enough or because the body cannot convert or absorb it (13). Undernutrition can mean that someone is underweight for their age, stunted meaning they are too short for their age, deficient in any vitamins or minerals or dangerously thin (14).

Undernutrition can cause someone to become extremely ill as they will not be able to gain the energy they need, and their body will not be healthy. This can be dangerous and lead to many people having deficiencies.


When someone is classed as overweight it refers to them being over the average healthy weight for their age or height. This can be shown when they have a BMI between 25 and 30. A person ca become overweight from ingesting too much food with little physical activity. This will cause them to gain more weight.

Being overweight can cause medical complications as it will mean that the person is unhealthy and may find it hard to move about and become more fatigued. This will mean that they are unhealthy and may have too many of the same nutrients rather than a variety.


A deficiency is when someone has a lack of or a shortage of something that may be necessary to them. For example, if someone doesn’t have enough iron within their body they may be deficient (15).

If someone is deficient it can lead to a range of medical conditions depending on what they are deficient from.

Iron deficiency anaemia:                           Potassium deficiency:            

-          Lack of energy                                – Muscle cramps

-          Shortness of breath                        – Tiredness

-          Heart palpitations                            – Heart problems (17)

-          Pale skin

-          (16)

Recommended dietary allowance (Dietary reference values)

Recommended dietary allowance is how much nutrients and food is suggested for a person to ingest within a day. The dietary allowance can be affected by age and gender, as some will need to intake more than others (18).

Having a recommended dietary allowance is important as it means that people know how much food of each types they should be ingesting in order to be healthy. This will ensure people aren’t eating too much or too little. The recommended dietary allowance is updated periodically to make sure that it is still useful when they have new evidence.    


Snacking is referred to as being small portions of food which is eaten throughout the day between meals (19). Snacking can be any type of food, healthy or unhealthy. This means that it can provide people with the extra nutrients they need between meals.

Snacking is good for people throughout the day to provide them with extra energy. However, if the eat too many snacks it may cause them to miss meals or even be over eating which isn’t healthy as they could gain weight or even lose it if they aren’t eating meals.


The five a day is a nutritional guideline that recommends everyone to eat 5 portions of fruit or vegetables each day. This will ensure that people are in taking the right amount of nutrients from fruit and veg each day so that they can be healthy.

Fruit and vegetables are important for health because they provide vitamins, minerals and fibre and help to contribute to a healthy balanced diet. This means that people can intake the right amount of nutrients from fruit and vegetables each day. 


  1. (Collins English Dictionary 2012 William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd)
  2. (Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979)
  3. (https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/how-to-read-food-labels/ 05/06/2018)
  4. (Dictionary.com 2018)
  5. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/mesh?term=overnutrition 2004)
  6. (https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/obesity/ 15/06/2016).
  7. (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-eatwell-guide 17 March 2016
    Public Health England).
  8. (https://www.food.gov.uk/business-guidance/the-eatwell-guide)
  9. (The American Heritage® Science Dictionary 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.)
  10.  (health.gov.au/internet/publications/publishing.nsf/Content/canteen-mgr-tr1~nutrients 08/10/13)
  11.  (The American Heritage® Science Dictionary 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company)
  12.  (https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/malnutrition/ 17/02/17).
  13.  (https://www.dictionary.com/browse/undernutrition?s=t 2018).
  14.  (https://www.unicef.org/progressforchildren/2006n4/index_undernutrition.html 4, May 2006)
  15.  (The American Heritage Stedman’s Medical Dictionary 2002)
  16. (https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/iron-deficiency-anaemia/ 12/01/18)
  17. (https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/potassium-deficiency-symptoms#section5 Copyright © 2005 – 2018 Health line Media.) 
  18.  (https://ods.od.nih.gov/Health_Information/Dietary_Reference_Intakes.aspx)
  19.  (https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/snacking)


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