Human Nutrition

Human nutrition can be defined as the science of food and how it is related to health.  It involves the processes where all people (all living organisms) receive and process the nutrients essential for life.

Nutrients themselves are defined as the chemical compounds from food that are found in a person’s diet.  Nutrients are essential to life; they play a variety of vital life roles such as in the provision of energy, the promotion of growth and development, and the regulation of bodily processes. There are six main classes of nutrients in food:

  • proteins,
  • lipids,
  • carbohydrates,
  • vitamins,
  • minerals,
  • water.

Foods have very different nutritional densities – this is the nutritional value of food relative to the number of kilojoules (energy) it supplies.  In general terms, foods which have a high nutrient density are a good source of that nutrient relative to its contribution of energy.  To explain, eggs or liver have high nutrient density as they contribute a great number of nutrients relevant to their kilojoule count, whereas fats and soft drinks provide energy, but have very low nutrient density as they contain few nutrients (these are often referred to as "empty calorie" foods).   

The most essential aspect of nutrition is the volume and variety of nutrients a person consumes in their diet.  All people require the same nutrients during each stage in their life cycle although the volume of each nutrient necessary does vary.  
A good diet can be one of the most effective ways of maintaining natural health. This means not only eating appropriate food, but also avoiding inappropriate food, and eating an appropriate quantity of food. Too much or too little of a good thing can cause problems.

We have more knowledge than ever before about what we should eat, but even amongst experts, the application of this knowledge is not always balanced.

Learn more about Human Nutrition with a course from ACS; we have a great range of courses to suit different levels of knowledge, including:
Human Nutrition
Nutritional Foundation Of Disease
Advanced Certificate In Nutritional Counselling

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