A Guide to Food – A Food Guide For the Well Being of Your Body
Food is any material eaten to provide nutrition to the organisms. The food consumed is generally of animal, plant or fungi origin, and includes important nutrients, like proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, or mineral ions. In human beings, food is made up of food substances that are needed to meet the energy requirements and to sustain life. The food eaten by an individual is referred to as ‘food’.
Carbohydrates, including glucose, are the main source of energy in the body. They are available in the form of sugars, starches, simple sugars, complex carbohydrates and fats. Some carbohydrates can be stored in the body as glycogen. Other forms of carbohydrates are referred to as fats. Fats can be classified into fatty acids, alkaline or acid, and the content of each is determined by the nature of the carbohydrate. Complex carbohydrates are made up of chains of glucose molecules, whereas simple sugars are usually in the form of monounsaturated fats and polysaccharides.
Some fats are called saturated fats and contain higher levels of energy than simple carbohydrates. Some dietary fibre makes up the bodies natural fat, known as cholesterol. It also carries oxygen to the cells within the body. A fat molecule has a slightly different structure than a carbohydrate molecule. The water molecule in a fat molecule is bigger than that of a carbohydrate molecule, which makes the fat less dense than carbohydrates.
The major benefits of dietary fibre and oils come from the ability of the fats to slow down the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and to increase the absorption of alkaline-type vitamins. Most fats and some oils are lipid soluble, which means that they can be easily absorbed into the body and metabolised. However, some foods are mineral oil, paraffin wax, petrolatum or paraffin wax ester. These types of fats are not easily absorbed into the body and do not readily metabolise. Some scientists believe that mineral oils may contribute to the risk of heart disease and cancer.
Vegetable oils contain mainly alpha and beta-carotene, with other fatty acids including lauric acid. Eating a diet rich in vegetable oils for prolonged periods may cause vitamin deficiencies. Animal foods, especially red meat and dairy products, contain only a small amount of vitamin A, which is why the Canadian milk powder contains only A1 vitamins. The fat content of animal foods is mostly derived from the skin, rather than the food itself, so animal foods are a good source of vitamin A.
Offal consists of the skeletal remains of animals, including liver, heart, kidneys, brains, bones, and hooves. Meat is a good source of protein and also has a high fat content. However, the concentration of fat in offal varies greatly, depending on the quality of the animal product. Milk, offal and bones are also good sources of micronutrients like calcium, magnesium, thiamin, niacin and phosphorus.