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What is Nutrition?

Nutrition is defined as the process of taking in food and converting it into energy and other vital nutrients required for life. Nutrients are the kind of substances that provide the necessary energy and biomolecules for carrying out various body functions. All the organisms in the universe need nutrients for proper growth and functioning, but they show divergence in how they fulfil their demand. Some of the animals feed on inorganic compounds to meet their requirement of nutrients, while others utilize the complex compounds. The mode of nutrition changes from one species to another species. 

Types of Nutrition

Generally, there are two types of nutrition among living organisms, namely:

Autotrophic mode

Heterotrophic mode

Autotrophic Nutrition

In this mode of nutrition, organisms use simple inorganic matters, such as water and carbon dioxide in the presence of light and chlorophyll to synthesize food on their own. It is also said as the process of photosynthesis, where light energy is converted into food such as glucose, this type of organisms are called autotrophs. Some of the examples where autotrophic nutrition is observed in plants, algae, and bacteria (cyanobacteria). 

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During the process of photosynthesis, carbon dioxide and water is converted into carbohydrates, which are stored in the form of starch in the plants. Later when plants require energy, it will be derived from the stored starch in plants. The process of photosynthesis is mainly explained in three stages: Absorption (The chlorophyll present in leaves traps the light coming from the sun). Conversion (in this light energy is converted into chemical energy and water will split into hydrogen and oxygen molecules). Reduction (this is the final stage, where carbon dioxide is reduced to form carbohydrates ). All the three events discussed above are not a continuous process and they may or may not take place sequentially.    

Heterotrophic Nutrition

All the organisms are not capable of producing food on their own, such organisms depend mainly on others for their nutrition. The organisms that are not capable of producing their own food and depend on the other organisms or sources are known as heterotrophs, and this mode of nutrition is called heterotrophic nutrition. 

All the animals and fungi are heterotrophs in nature, they can be of many varieties depending on their environment and the adaptations. Like some of them depend on plants for nutrition known as herbivores and others depend on an animal known as carnivores. Also, there are some heterotrophs that eat both plants and animals. 

There are different heterotrophs based on their mode of nutrition given below: 

Parasites (e.g. leeches, ticks)

Saprophytes (e.g. mushrooms)

Holozoic (e.g. humans, dogs)

Nutrition Food Values  

Apple Nutrition of One Raw, Unpeeled, Medium-Sized Apple (100 grams):

Calories: 52

Protein: 0.3 grams

Carbs: 13.8 grams

Sugar: 10.4 grams

Fibre: 2.4 grams

Fat: 0.2 grams

Rice Nutritional Value of Brown and White rice 

Raw peanuts nutrition (100 grams).

Calories: 567

Protein: 25.8 grams

Carbs: 16.1 grams

Sugar: 4.7 grams

Fibre: 8.5 grams

Fat: 49.2 grams

Saturated: 6.28 grams

Monounsaturated: 24.43 grams

Polyunsaturated: 15.56 grams

Omega-3: 0 grams

Omega-6: 15.56 grams

Trans: 0 grams

Milk Nutrition in 1 Cup (Around 240 ml of Milk)

Calories: 149

Protein: 7.7 grams

Carbs: 11.7 grams

Sugar: 12.3 grams

Fibre: 0 grams

Fat: 8 grams

Do You Know?

Which is the best nutritious food? Some of the best nutritious foods are salmon, kale, seaweed , garlic, shellfish, potatoes, livers, sardines, blueberries, dark chocolates, and egg yolks.  If a person needs lots of nutrients without calories, the most obvious strategy is to take dietary supplements. 

FAQs on Nutrition

1. Why is Nutrition Essential for Living Organisms?

Answer. Nutrition is very important in our day to day life to lead a healthy life, a balanced diet reduces the risk of diseases and improves the overall health of organisms. Nutrition provides energy to cells for carrying out cellular activities.  

2. Does Nutrients Timing Matter?

Answer. Nutrients timing means eating food at a particular time in order to achieve a certain outcome. supposedly, it is very important for muscle growth, sportsperson and to lose fat. Nutrient timing is not a new thing, it has been used for almost 50 years by athletes and bodybuilders and many aspects of it have been studied. There are also many nutrition food programmes and books on nutrition timing as the key method for losing fat, gaining muscle and improving performance.

3. What is the Nutritional intake of Adult Humans?

Answer. Nutritional intake mentioned below is on the basis of daily reference suggested by nutritionist: energy (8,400kJ/2,000kcal), total fat (less than 70g), saturates (less than 20g), carbohydrates (at least 260g), total sugars (90g), protein (50g), and salt (less than 6g). 

4. Which are the Signs of inadequate Nutrition?

Answer. The signs that can be seen in the nutrition deficient person are unexplained fatigue (iron deficiency), brittle and dry hair, spoon-shaped nails, mouth problems, diarrhoea, irritability and lack of appetite. These people should consult a nutritionist for a proper nutritional diet in their day to day life. 

Biology • Class 11

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Medicine LibreTexts

1.1: Introduction to Nutrition

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  • Page ID 8675

  • The University of Hawaiʻi
  • University of Hawai’i at Mānoa

Chapter Skills to Develop

  • Describe basic concepts in nutrition
  • Describe factors that affect your nutritional needs
  • Describe the importance of research and scientific methods to understanding nutrition

ʻO ke kahua ma mua, ma hope ke kūkulu

The foundation comes first, then the building

Fig 1.1.1.jpg

What are Nutrients?

Nutrients are substances required by the body to perform its basic functions. Most nutrients must be obtained from our diet, since the human body does not synthesize or produce them. Nutrients have one or more of three basic functions: they provide energy, contribute to body structure, and/or regulate chemical processes in the body. These basic functions allow us to detect and respond to environmental surroundings, move, excrete wastes, respire (breathe), grow, and reproduce.

There are six classes of nutrients required for the body to function and maintain overall health. These are: carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, water, vitamins, and minerals. Nutritious foods provide nutrients for the body. Foods may also contain a variety of non-nutrients. Some non-nutrients such as as antioxidants (found in many plant foods) are beneficial to the body, whereas others such as natural toxins (common in some plant foods) or additives (like certain dyes and preservatives found in processed foods) are potentially harmful.

Macronutrients

Nutrients that are needed in large amounts are called macronutrients. There are three classes of macronutrients: carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins . Macronutrients are carbon-based compounds that can be metabolically processed into cellular energy through changes in their chemical bonds. The chemical energy is converted into cellular energy known as ATP , that is utilized by the body to perform work and conduct basic functions.

The amount of energy a person consumes daily comes primarily from the 3 macronutrients. Food energy is measured in kilocalories. For ease of use, food labels state the amount of energy in food in “calories,” meaning that each calorie is actually multiplied by one thousand to equal a kilocalorie. (Note: Using scientific terminology, “Calorie” (with a capital “C”) is equivalent to a kilocalorie. Therefore: 1 kilocalorie = 1 Calorie - 1000 calories

Water is also a macronutrient in the sense that the body needs it in large amounts, but unlike the other macronutrients, it does not contain carbon or yield energy.

Note: Consuming alcohol also contributes energy (calories) to the diet at 7 kilocalories/gram, so it must be counted in daily energy consumption. However, alcohol is not considered a "nutrient" because it does not contribute to essential body functions and actually contains substances that must broken down and excreted from the body to prevent toxic effects.

Fig 1.1.2.jpg

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are molecules composed of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen that provide energy to the body. The major food sources of carbohydrates are milk, grains, fruits, and starchy vegetables, like potatoes. Non-starchy vegetables also contain carbohydrates, but in lesser quantities. Carbohydrates are broadly classified into two forms based on their chemical structure: simple carbohydrates (often called simple sugars) and complex carbohydrates.

Simple carbohydrates consist of one or two basic sugar units linked together. Their scientific names are "monosaccharides" (1 sugar unit) and disaccharides (2 sugar units). They are broken down and absorbed very quickly in the digestive tract and provide a fast burst of energy to the body. Examples of simple sugars include the disaccharide sucrose, the type of sugar you would have in a bowl on the breakfast table, and the monosaccharide glucose, the most common type of fuel for most organisms including humans. Glucose is the primary sugar that circulates in blood to provide energy to cells. The terms "blood sugar" and "blood glucose" can be substituted for each other.

Complex carbohydrates are long chains of sugars units that can link in a straight chair or a branched chain. During digestion, the body breaks down digestible complex carbohydrates into simple sugars, mostly glucose. Glucose is then absorbed into the bloodstream and transported to all our cells where it is stored, used to make energy, or used to build macromolecules. Fiber is also a complex carbohydrate, but it cannot be broken down by digestive enzymes in the human intestine. As a result, it passes through the digestive tract undigested unless the bacteria that inhabit the colon or large intestine break it down.

One gram of digestible carbohydrates yields 4 kilocalories of energy for the cells in the body to perform work. In addition to providing energy and serving as building blocks for bigger macromolecules, carbohydrates are essential for proper functioning of the nervous system, heart, and kidneys. As mentioned, glucose can be stored in the body for future use. In humans, the storage molecule of carbohydrates is called glycogen, and in plants, it is known as starch. Glycogen and starch are complex carbohydrates.

Lipids are also a family of molecules composed of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, but unlike carbohydrates, they are insoluble in water. Lipids are found predominantly in butter, oils, meats, dairy products, nuts, and seeds, and in many processed foods. The three main types of lipids are triglycerides (triacylglycerols), phospholipids, and sterols. The main job of triacylglycerols is to provide or store energy. Lipids provide more energy per gram than carbohydrates (9 kilocalories per gram of lipids versus 4 kilocalories per gram of carbohydrates). In addition to energy storage, lipids serve as a major component of cell membranes, surround and protect organs (in fat-storing tissues), provide insulation to aid in temperature regulation. Phospholipds and sterols have a somewhat different chemical structure and are used to regulate many other functions in the body.

Proteins are macromolecules composed of chains of basic subunits called amino acids. Amino acids are composed of carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, and nitrogen. Food sources of proteins include meats, dairy products, seafood, and a variety of different plant-based foods, most notably soy. The word protein comes from a Greek word meaning “of primary importance,” which is an apt description of these macronutrients; they are also known colloquially as the “workhorses” of life. Proteins provide the basic structure to bones, muscles and skin, enzymes and hormones and play a role in conducting most of the chemical reactions that take place in the body. Scientists estimate that greater than one-hundred thousand different proteins exist within the human body. The genetic codes in DNA are basically protein recipes that determine the order in which 20 different amino acids are bound together to make thousands of specific proteins. Because amino acids contain carbon, they can be used by the body for energy and supply 4 kilocalories of energy per gram; however providing energy is not protein’s most important function.

There is one other nutrient that we must have in large quantities: water. Water does not contain carbon, but is composed of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom per molecule of water. More than 60 percent of your total body weight is water. Without water, nothing could be transported in or out of the body, chemical reactions would not occur, organs would not be cushioned, and body temperature would widely fluctuate. On average, an adult consumes just over two liters of water per day from both eating foods and drinking liquids. Since water is so critical for life’s basic processes, total water intake and output is supremely important. This topic will be explored in detail in Chapter 4.

Micronutrients

Micronutrients are also essential for carrying out bodily functions, but they are required by the body in lesser amounts. Micronutrients include all the essential minerals and vitamins . There are sixteen essential minerals and thirteen essential vitamins (See Table \(\PageIndex{1}\) and Table \(\PageIndex{2}\) for a complete list and their major functions).

In contrast to carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins, micronutrients are not sources of energy (calories) for the body. Instead they play a role as cofactors or components of enzymes (i.e., coenzymes) that facilitate chemical reactions in the body. They are involved in all aspects of body functions from producing energy, to digesting nutrients, to building macromolecules. Micronutrients play many essential roles in the body.

Minerals are solid inorganic substances that form crystals and are classified depending on how much of them we need. Trace minerals, such as molybdenum, selenium, zinc, iron, and iodine , are only required in a few milligrams or less. Macrominerals, such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, and phosphorus , are required in hundreds of milligrams. Many minerals are critical for enzyme function, while others are used to maintain fluid balance, build bone tissue, synthesize hormones, transmit nerve impulses, contract and relax muscles, and protect against harmful free radicals in the body that can cause health problems such as cancer.

The thirteen vitamins are categorized as either water-soluble or fat-soluble. The water-soluble vitamins are vitamin C and all the B vitamins, which include thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, biotin, folate and cobalamin. The fat-soluble vitamins are A, D, E, and K . Vitamins are required to perform many functions in the body such as assisting in energy production, making red blood cells, synthesizing bone tissue, and supporting normal vision, nervous system function, and immune system function.

Vitamin deficiencies can cause severe health problems and even death. For example, a deficiency in niacin causes a disease called pellagra, which was common in the early twentieth century in some parts of America. The common signs and symptoms of pellagra are known as the “4D’s—diarrhea, dermatitis, dementia, and death.” Until scientists discovered that better diets relieved the signs and symptoms of pellagra, many people with the disease ended up hospitalized in insane asylums awaiting death. Other vitamins were also found to prevent certain disorders and diseases such as scurvy (vitamin C), night blindness (vitamin A), and rickets (vitamin D).

Contributor

University of Hawai’i at Mānoa Food Science and Human Nutrition Program : Allison Calabrese, Cheryl Gibby, Billy Meinke, Marie Kainoa Fialkowski Revilla, and Alan Titchenal

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Classification of Nutrients

Food is one of life’s greatest pleasures. It offers amazing flavors, aromas, and textures. Food also provides our body with essential nutrients and non-nutrients like phytochemicals, both of which are vital to health. This section will discuss the six classes of nutrients and how these nutrients can be classified.

What are Nutrients?

Nutrients are chemical substances found in food that are required by the body to provide energy, give the body structure, and help regulate chemical processes. There are six classes of nutrients:

1. carbohydrates

3. proteins

5. vitamins

6. minerals

Nutrients can be further classified as either macronutrients or micronutrients and either organic or inorganic , as well as whether or not they provide energy to the body ( energy-yielding ). We’ll discuss these different ways of classifying nutrients in the following sections.

Macronutrients

Nutrients that are needed in large amounts are called macronutrients . There are three classes of macronutrients: carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins. Water is also a macronutrient in the sense that you require a large amount of it, but unlike the other macronutrients, it does not yield energy. se that you require a large amount of it, but unlike the other macronut

This image shows the chemical structure of each macronutrient along with typical food sources. Cheese, eggs and meat are shown for protein, bread for carbohydrates, oil for lipids and a glass of water for water.

Figure 1.5. Macronutrients include proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, and water. This figure illustrates each nutrient’s chemical structure and examples of food sources.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are molecules composed of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. The major food sources of carbohydrates are grains, dairy products, fruits, legumes, and starchy vegetables, like potatoes. Non-starchy vegetables, like carrots, also contain carbohydrates, but in lesser quantities.

Carbohydrates are broadly classified into two groups based on their chemical structure: simple carbohydrates (often called simple sugars) and complex carbohydrates, which include fiber, starch, and glycogen. Carbohydrates are a major fuel source for all cells of the body, and certain cells, like cells of the central nervous system and red blood cells, rely solely on carbohydrates for energy.

Lipids are also a family of molecules composed of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, but unlike carbohydrates, they are insoluble in water. Lipids are found predominantly in butter, oils, meats, dairy products, nuts and seeds, and in many processed foods. The three main types of lipids are triglycerides, phospholipids, and sterols. The main job of lipids is to provide or store energy. In addition to energy storage, lipids serve as major components of cell membranes, surround and protect organs, provide insulation to aid in temperature regulation, and regulate many other functions in the body.

Proteins are large molecules composed of chains of amino acids, which are simple subunits made of carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, and nitrogen. Food sources of proteins include meats, dairy products, seafood, and a variety of plant-based foods, like beans, nuts, and seeds. The word protein comes from a Greek word meaning “of primary importance,” which is an apt description of these macronutrients as they are also known as the “workhorses” of life. Proteins provide structure to bones, muscles, and skin, and they play a role in conducting most of the chemical reactions occurring in the body. Scientists estimate that more than 100,000 different proteins exist within the human body. Proteins can also provide energy, though this is a relatively minor function, as carbohydrates and fat are preferred energy sources.

There is one other nutrient that we must have in large quantities: water . Water does not contain carbon but is composed of two hydrogens and one oxygen per molecule of water. More than 60 percent of your total body weight is water. Without it, nothing could be transported in or out of the body, chemical reactions would not occur, organs would not be cushioned, and body temperature would fluctuate widely. On average, an adult consumes just over two liters of water per day from food and drink combined. Since water is so critical for life’s basic processes, we can only survive a few days without it, making it one of the most vital nutrients.

Micronutrients

Micronutrients are nutrients required by the body in smaller amounts, but they’re still essential for carrying out bodily functions. Micronutrients include all of the essential minerals and vitamins. There are 16 essential minerals and 13 essential vitamins (Table 1.1 and Table 1.2). In contrast to carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins, micronutrients are not a source of energy, but they assist in the process of energy metabolism as cofactors or components of enzymes (known as coenzymes). Enzymes are proteins that catalyze (or accelerate) chemical reactions in the body; they’re involved in all aspects of body functions, including producing energy, digesting nutrients, and building macromolecules.

Minerals are inorganic substances that are classified depending on how much the body requires. Trace minerals , such as molybdenum, selenium, zinc, iron, and iodine, are only required in amounts of a few milligrams or less per day. Major minerals , such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, and phosphorus, are required in amounts of hundreds of milligrams or more per day. Many minerals are critical for enzyme function, and others are used to maintain fluid balance, build bone tissue, synthesize hormones, transmit nerve impulses, contract and relax muscles, and protect against harmful free radicals in the body. To give you an appreciation of the many functions of minerals, the table below has a complete list of all the minerals and their major functions. (Note: There is no need to memorize these minerals and functions at this point in the course.)

Table 1.1. Minerals and their major functions

Vitamins are organic nutrients that are categorized based on their solubility in water. The water-soluble vitamins are vitamin C and all of the B vitamins. The fat-soluble vitamins are vitamins A, D, E, and K. Vitamins are required to perform many functions in the body, such as making red blood cells, synthesizing bone tissue, and playing a role in normal vision, nervous system function, and immune function. To give you an appreciation of the many functions of vitamins, the table below lists the 13 essential vitamins and their major functions. (Note: There is no need to memorize these vitamins and functions at this point in the course.)

Table 1.2. Vitamins and their major functions

As you might suspect based on the major functions of vitamins listed above, vitamin deficiencies can cause severe health problems and even death. For example, a deficiency in niacin causes a disease called pellagra, which was common in the early twentieth century in some parts of the United States. The common signs and symptoms of pellagra are known as the “4D’s—diarrhea, dermatitis, dementia, and death.” Until scientists discovered that better diets relieved the signs and symptoms of pellagra, many people with the disease ended up hospitalized and in asylums awaiting death. The following video gives an overview of pellagra and how its cure was discovered through a change in diet.

VIDEO: “ Pellagra video ” by Teresa Johnson, YouTube (June 20, 2012), 5:49 minutes.

Energy-Yielding Nutrients

The macronutrients—carbohydrate, protein, and fat—are the only nutrients that provide energy to the body. The energy from macronutrients comes from their chemical bonds. This chemical energy is converted into cellular energy that can be utilized to perform work, allowing cells to conduct their basic functions. Although vitamins also have energy in their chemical bonds, our bodies do not make the enzymes to break these bonds and release this energy. (This is fortunate, as we need vitamins for their specific functions, and breaking them down to use for energy would be a waste.)

Food energy is measured in kilocalories (kcals). A kilocalorie is the amount of energy needed to raise 1 kilogram of water by 1 degree Celsius. The kilocalories stored in food can be determined by putting the food into a bomb calorimeter and measuring the energy output (energy = heat produced).

A drawing of a bomb calorimeter showing a metal cylinder filled with water and a bomb cell. The bomb cell has two fuse wires attached to a sample and attached to an outside ignition box. There is a thermometer and a stirrer in the water attached to an outside motor. Lastly there is a lid for the top of the cylinder.

Figure 1.6. A Bomb calorimeter

VIDEO: “ Bomb Calorimetry ” by David Read, YouTube (September 16, 2008), 2:19 minutes.

In the US, the kilocalorie (kcal) is the most commonly used unit of energy and is often just referred to as a calorie. Strictly speaking, a kcal is 1000 calories. In nutrition, the term calories almost always refers to kcals. Sometimes the kcal is indicated by capitalizing calories as “Calories.” For the sake of simplicity, we’ll use the terms “calories” and “kilocalories” interchangeably in this book.

Below is a list of energy sources in the diet from lowest to highest calories per gram (a gram is about the weight of a paperclip). Notice the addition of alcohol. Although alcohol does provide energy, it isn’t a nutrient, because it isn’t required as a source of nourishment to the body.

Energy Sources (kcal/g)

  • Carbohydrates 4

Carbohydrates and proteins provide 4 calories per gram, and fats provide 9 calories per gram. Fat is the most energy-dense nutrient, because it provides the most calories per gram (more than double carbohydrates and protein).

Nutrition facts shows the following for a 2/3 cup serving: 230 total calories, 8g of total fat, 37g of total carbohydrate, and 3g of protein.

When you look at the Nutrition Facts panel on a food label, you’ll see that it lists calories, as well as grams of total fat, total carbohydrates, and protein per serving. From these values, you can estimate the amount of calories coming from the different macronutrients.

Looking at the values in the Nutrition Facts label, you can convert grams into calories by doing the following calculations:

  • 8 grams of fat x 9 kcal/g = 72 kcals
  • 37 grams of carbohydrate x 4 kcal/g = 148 kcals
  • 3 grams of protein x 4 kcal/g = 12 kcals

You can double check your math by adding the calories per serving provided from fat, carbohydrate, and protein (232 calories for the example above). This number should come close to the total calories per serving listed on the Nutrition Facts. It will not always match up exactly (like in the example above) due to rounding.

Organic and Inorganic Nutrients

So far, we’ve categorized nutrients as macronutrients or micronutrients and based on whether or not they’re energy-yielding. There is one more way to categorize nutrients: organic or inorganic. When you think of the word “organic,” you might think of how foods are produced (with or without synthetic fertilizers and pesticides), but in this case we are referring to the chemical structure of a nutrient.

Organic Nutrients

The organic nutrients include the macronutrients (carbohydrate, protein, and fat) and vitamins . An organic nutrient contains both carbon and hydrogen. Organic nutrients can be made by living organisms and are complex, made up of many elements (carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and sometimes nitrogen) bonded together. In a sense, they are “alive,” and therefore can be destroyed or broken down.

Vitamin E (shown below) is an organic molecule, because it contains both carbon and hydrogen atoms. Vitamin E is synthesized by plants and can be destroyed by heat during cooking.

A drawing of vitamin E that shows two carbon ring structures with 4 methyl groups and an OH group and then a long carbon chain with 4 methyl groups attached.

Figure 1.8. Chemical structure of Vitamin E

Inorganic Nutrients

Inorganic nutrients include both water and minerals. Inorganic nutrients do not contain both carbon and hydrogen, and they are not created or destroyed. Minerals can’t be destroyed, so they are the ash left when a food is burned to completion. Minerals are also not digested or broken down, as they are already in their simplest form. They are absorbed as-is, then shuttled around the body for their different functions, and then excreted.

The different categories of nutrients are summarized in the following table.

Table 1.3. Summary of nutrient classifications

Attributions:

  • University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Food Science and Human Nutrition Program, “ Introduction ,” CC BY-NC 4.0
  • Figure 1.5. “Macronutrients” from University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Food Science and Human Nutrition Program, “ Introduction ,” CC BY-NC 4.0
  • Table 1.1. “Minerals and major functions” from University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Food Science and Human Nutrition Program, “ Introduction ,” CC BY-NC 4.0
  • Table 1.2. “Vitamins and major functions” University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Food Science and Human Nutrition Program, “ Introduction ,” CC BY-NC 4.0
  • Figure 1.6. “ Bomb Calorimeter Diagram ” by Lisdavid89 is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0
  • Figure 1.7. “ FDA Nutrition Facts Label ” by USDA Food and Drug Administration is in the Public Domain
  • Figure 1.8. “ Vitamin E ” by Annabel is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0
  • Table 1.3. “Summary of classification of nutrients” by Tamberly Powell is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

Chemical molecules that are found in foods; required by our bodies to maintain life and support growth and health.

Nutrients that are needed in large amounts and include carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins.

Nutrients required by the body in smaller amounts; include all of the essential minerals and vitamins.

Complex nutrients that can be made by living organisms from many elements (especially carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and sometimes nitrogen).

Nutrients that do not contain both carbon and hydrogen; can not be created or destroyed.

Nutrients that provide energy to the body; include carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.

Macromolecules composed of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen; major fuel source for all cells of the body.

A family of organic compounds that are mostly insoluble in water; the three main types are triglycerides, sterols, and phospholipids.

Macromolecules composed of chains of amino acids, which are simple subunits made of carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, and nitrogen.

One of the most vital nutrients; composed of two hydrogens and one oxygen per molecule of water.

Proteins that help speed up or facilitate chemical reactions in the body; they bring together two compounds to react, without undergoing any changes themselves.

Inorganic elements classified according to how much the body requires.

Minerals required by the body in amounts of 100 milligrams or less per day.

Minerals required by the body in amounts greater than 100 milligrams per day.

Essential, non-caloric, organic micronutrients that are required for many bodily functions.

Vitamins that dissolve in water; include vitamin C and all of the B vitamins.

Vitamins that dissolve in fat; include vitamins A, D, E, and K.

Nutrition: Science and Everyday Application, v. 1.0 Copyright © 2020 by Alice Callahan, PhD; Heather Leonard, MEd, RDN; and Tamberly Powell, MS, RDN is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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  • Nutrition Modes Living Organisms

Nutrition In Living Organisms & Modes Of Nutrition

We are indulged in a lot of daily activities. To carry out these activities a large amount of energy is required. This energy comes from the food we consume. Food is vital as it provides the energy needed for growth, repair, and other life processes. All these come under the life process called nutrition.

essay on types of nutrition

Let’s learn about nutrition and different types of nutrition in detail.

What is Nutrition?

“Nutrition is the process of taking in food and converting it into energy and other vital nutrients required for life.”

Nutrients are the substances which provide energy and biomolecules necessary for carrying out the various body functions. All living organisms need nutrients for proper functioning and growth. But they show divergence in how they fulfill this demand. Some animals feed on simple inorganic compounds to meet their nutrient requirement, while others utilise complex compounds. The mode of nutrition varies from one species to another.

Also Read:  Nutrition in Plants

Types of Nutrition

Broadly, there are two types of nutrition among living organisms, namely:

  • Autotrophic mode
  • Heterotrophic mode

Autotrophic Nutrition

In the autotrophic mode, organisms use simple inorganic matters like water and carbon dioxide in the presence of light and chlorophyll to synthesize food on their own. In other words, the process of photosynthesis is used to convert light energy into food such as glucose. Such organisms are called autotrophs. Plants, algae, and bacteria (cyanobacteria) are some examples where autotrophic nutrition is observed.

During photosynthesis, carbon dioxide and water get converted into carbohydrates. These carbohydrates are stored in the form of starch in plants. Plants later derive the energy required from the stored starch. The process of photosynthesis can be explained in three stages:

  • Absorption: The chlorophyll present in leaves traps the light coming from the sun.
  • Conversion: The absorbed light energy gets converted into chemical energy. And water absorbed will split into hydrogen and oxygen molecules.
  • Reduction: At last, carbon dioxide gets reduced i.e. hydrogen molecules combine with carbon, to form carbohydrates (sugar molecules).

Nutrition

All three events are not a continuous process. They may or may not take place sequentially.

In plants, stomata are the openings on leaves where gaseous exchange takes place and is regulated by guard cells. Plants take in and release gases through these stomatal pores.

In desert-like habitats, to avoid water loss, guard cells keep these pores closed during the daytime. Later, during the night time, stomata will be opened to absorb carbon dioxide and store in the vacuoles. During the daytime, they will use this stored carbon dioxide to perform photosynthesis.

Other than photosynthesis, plants also depend on soil for micro and macro elements. These elements are used to synthesize proteins and other essential compounds required for the proper functioning and growth of the plants.

Also Read:  Nutrition in Animals

Heterotrophic Nutrition

Nutrition

Every organism is not capable of preparing food on its own. Such organisms depend on others for their nutrition. The organisms which cannot produce food on their own and depend on other sources/organisms are called heterotrophs. This mode of nutrition is known as heterotrophic nutrition .

Fungi and all the animals including humans are heterotrophs. Heterotrophs can be of many varieties depending upon their environment and adaptations. Some may eat plants (herbivores) and others eat animals (carnivores) while few eat both (omnivores). Thus we can say survival of heterotrophs depends directly or indirectly on plants.

Heterotrophs are classified into different categories based on their mode of nutrition. They are:

  • Parasites (e.g. leeches, ticks)
  • Saprophytes (e.g. mushrooms)
  • Holozoic (e.g. humans, dogs)

Also Read: Photosynthesis

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the different modes of nutrition in living beings.

The different modes of nutrition include:

  • Autotrophic nutrition
  • Heterotrophic nutrition

What are the different modes of heterotrophic nutrition?

The different modes of heterotrophic nutrition include:

  • Saprophytic

What is holozoic nutrition? Which organism exhibits holozoic nutrition?

Holozoic nutrition is the mode of heterotrophic nutrition that involves ingestion, digestion, absorption and assimilation of solid and liquid material. This type of nutrition is exhibited by amoeba that takes in complex substances and converts them into simpler substances.

What are mixotrophs?

Mixotrophs are organisms that use a mix of different sources of energy and carbon rather than a single trophic mode. Euglena is an autotroph as well as a heterotroph and is called a mixotroph.

Are all protists mixotrophs?

Not all protists are mixotrophs. A few protists are strict heterotrophs. While a few are both autotrophs and heterotrophs. The mixotrophic protists are called acetate flagellates.

What is the mode of nutrition in plants?

Plants exhibit an autotrophic mode of nutrition because they can prepare their own food. Plants use sunlight, water and carbon dioxide to produce energy during photosynthesis.

Why is nutrition essential for a living organism?

Nutrition is very important to lead a healthy life. A balanced diet reduces the risk of diseases and improves the overall health of an organism. It provides energy to the cells to carry out the cellular activities.

What is the mode of nutrition in blue-green algae?

Blue-green algae can be autotrophs, heterotrophs or mixotrophs.

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Home — Essay Samples — Nursing & Health — Eating Habits — Nutrition as an Important Aspect of Our Life: Physical & Mental Health

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Nutrition as an Important Aspect of Our Life: Physical & Mental Health

  • Categories: Dieting Eating Habits Nutrition

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Words: 2716 |

14 min read

Published: May 17, 2022

Words: 2716 | Pages: 6 | 14 min read

Table of contents

Introduction, associated health conditions due to improper nutrition, benefits of proper nutrition, managing proper nutrients, works cited, what is nutrition, what is physical well-being.

  • eating for Health
  • detoxing Body
  • eating a proper diet
  • regular physical exercise.

Why Physical Wellness is important

  • Physical Activity
  • Mental Well-Being

Why nutrition is important

  • Increased energy
  • Improved sleep quality
  • Improved mood and mental wellbeing
  • Helping you maintain a healthy body weight
  • Clearer skin
  • Lowering the risk of chronic health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, and cancer.

The Impact of Nutrition on our Health

Nutrition and chronic diseases.

  • Diabetes. Diabetes happens when the body can’t make enough insulin or utilize the insulin appropriately. Type 2 diabetes is frequently found in patients who are overweight or stout. The absence of physical activity and a fatty diet are ordinarily found in people determined to have Type 2 diabetes.
  • Cardiovascular sickness. Coronary illness is the No. 1 enemy of people in most of the country Cardiovascular conditions as it frequently brought about by an unhealthy diet and a decrease in physical movement. Diets high in soaked fats and cholesterol increment the danger of blood coagulating. Diets that are rich in sodium can bring about raised circulatory strain, adding to coronary illness. On the off chance that an individual with a drinking problem leads to an arterial problem can lead to a higher possibility for creating cardiovascular sickness.
  • Lung ailment. Numerous individuals don’t understand their food utilization influences how well they relax. For individuals experiencing COPD, a dynamic lung illness that makes breathing troublesome, eating admirably is significant. A poor diet can prompt weight gain, thusly prompting expanded weight on the lungs, which influences relaxation.
  • Eating disorders. An ‘eating disorder’ is an abnormal attitude towards food which causes someone to change their eating behaviors. This definition includes a range of conditions, such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia, which affect a person’s physical and psychological wellbeing.
  • Weekend immune system. Deficient in a balanced diet can prompt poor immune system framework and poor wound healing, particularly in adults. Lacking in vitamin A, B nutrients, and zinc can lead to a weakened immune system, which can lead to problems dor the individual to fight against disease, as indicated by Harvard Medical School.
  • Sleep and stress. Poor nutrition can lead to disturbance in the individual sleep, which can affect its overall health and lead to mental stress. Disturbance in sleep often suppresses the efficiency of immunity also. Therefore lack in sleep also causes many neurological problems as well.
  • Osteoporosis or weak, brittle bones, can result from a lack of dietary calcium – or reduced calcium absorption in our body. An increased risk for developing osteoporosis includes postmenopausal women, women with eating disorders such as anorexia, people who avoid dairy products, and vegetarians. Dairy products are a good source of calcium, for those who don’t consume dairy foods to meet their daily calcium requirements. Calcium-fortified foods and beverages – like some breakfast cereals, brands of orange juice, tofu, soy milk, almond milk, and soy yogurt – are excellent sources of dietary calcium. Many multivitamin supplements are also rich in calcium.

Heart Health

Bone and teeth strength, higher energy levels, mind health, weight control, tackling the inflammatory phase with proper nutrition, helps in recovery from existing disease, have a proper timetable for intake of food, avoid taking excess or lower diet, current situation related to topic covid-19.

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020). Nutrition for Everyone. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/index.html
  • National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. (2018). Nutrition. Retrieved from https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/weight-management/nutrition-overview
  • World Health Organization. (2015). Nutrition. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/health-topics/nutrition#tab=tab_1
  • Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. (2021). The Nutrition Source. Retrieved from https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/
  • American Heart Association. (2021). Nutrition and Healthy Eating. Retrieved from https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating
  • Mayo Clinic. (2022). Nutrition and Healthy Eating. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating
  • National Institutes of Health. (2021). Office of Dietary Supplements. Retrieved from https://ods.od.nih.gov/
  • United States Department of Agriculture. (2020). ChooseMyPlate. Retrieved from https://www.choosemyplate.gov/
  • American Psychological Association. (2020). Nutrition and Mental Health. Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/topics/nutrition/
  • Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. (2022). Eat Right. Retrieved from https://www.eatright.org/

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Sports Nutrition: Diets, Selection Factors, Recommendations

Kristina a. malsagova.

1 Biobanking Group, Branch of IBMC “Scientific and Education Center” Bolshoy Nikolovorobinsky Lane, 109028 Moscow, Russia; [email protected] (A.T.K.); moc.liamg@aylivna (A.A.S.); [email protected] (A.A.S.); [email protected] (A.A.I.); [email protected] (T.V.B.); moc.liamg@1avehsyak (A.L.K.)

Arthur T. Kopylov

Alexandra a. sinitsyna, alexander a. stepanov, alexander a. izotov, tatyana v. butkova, konstantin chingin.

2 Jiangxi Key Laboratory for Mass Spectrometry and Instrumentation, East China University of Technology, Nanchang 330013, China; [email protected]

Mikhail S. Klyuchnikov

3 State Research Center Burnasyan of the Federal Medical Biophysical Centre of the Federal Medical Biological Agency of Russia, 123098 Moscow, Russia; moc.em@vokinhcujlk

Anna L. Kaysheva

Associated data.

This is a review paper that collected from public data listed in the “Reference” and from open access web-source Pubmed.

An athlete’s diet is influenced by external and internal factors that can reduce or exacerbate exercise-induced food intolerance/allergy symptoms. This review highlights many factors that influence food choices. However, it is important to remember that these food choices are dynamic, and their effectiveness varies with the time, location, and environmental factors in which the athlete chooses the food. Therefore, before training and competition, athletes should follow the recommendations of physicians and nutritionists. It is important to study and understand the nutritional strategies and trends that athletes use before and during training or competitions. This will identify future clinical trials that can be conducted to identify specific foods that athletes can consume to minimize negative symptoms associated with their consumption and optimize training outcomes.

1. Introduction

Nutrition is considered one of the foundations of athletic performance, and post-workout nutritional recommendations are fundamental to the effectiveness of recovery and adaptive processes. Therefore, an effective recovery strategy between workouts or during competition can maximize adaptive responses to various mechanisms of fatigue, improving muscle function and increasing exercise tolerance. An effective intervention to restore the physical fitness of an athlete by monitoring the regimen and diet, timely admission, and the specified quality and quantity of food components is considered fundamental [ 1 ].

Currently, new directions in dietetics are being formed, focusing on the creation of personalized diets. These include (1) genetic studies that are likely to determine people’s predisposition to a particular type of food and the degree of risk of food-related diseases [ 2 ]; (2) studies on the diversity of the human microbiota, the characteristics of digestion, and the state of the intestinal barrier [ 3 , 4 ]; and (3) studies of individual responses of the immune system to food antigens that cause changes in food tolerance and reactivity of the adaptive immune response. The adaptive immune response is provided by lymphocyte functions (acquired immunity) and plays an important role in the defense from infection and elimination of exogenous pathogens in vivo [ 5 , 6 , 7 , 8 ].

Food allergy is defined as an adverse immune-mediated reaction that occurs when exposed to a food agent and disappears when it is withdrawn [ 9 ]. Other non-allergic food reactions are intolerant and do not affect the immune system [ 10 ]. Adverse food reactions can also occur due to toxins, manifestations of congenital metabolic disorders [ 10 ], and functional disorders of the gastrointestinal tract. Food allergy is a health problem affecting 3% to 10% of the worldwide population of adults and up to 8% of children [ 11 ]; approximately 2% to 20% of the world’s population has a food intolerance [ 12 ].

In addition, food intolerance is on the rise among athletes, but the use of unverified food intolerance tests calls into question an accurate assessment of the state of true intolerance in the population [ 12 ]. While physical activity is good for people’s health, intense training, as in the case of elite athletes, harms the immune system and increases the permeability of the gastrointestinal tract. Some studies have linked food intolerance in elite athletes to excessive physical activity [ 12 ]. Therefore, in the research [ 12 ], an experimental longitudinal study lasting three months was conducted to assess the impact of food intolerance on sports performance and the health of elite athletes. According to the results of a food intolerance test, an individual elimination diet was drawn up. The blood test showed a decrease in the level of food intolerance after the diet in each athlete, which indicated that the elimination diet significantly improved the athlete’s well-being, making it possible to achieve a faster decrease in heart rate after cardiopulmonary testing.

The primary manifestation of food intolerance is malabsorption of lactose and fructose, resulting from an insufficient supply of enzymes and insufficient functionality of transporters [ 10 , 13 , 14 ]. Symptoms can vary, including gastrointestinal upsets (bloating, loose stools, abdominal pain) and/or extraintestinal symptoms (fatigue, headaches, and cognitive problems) that appear hours or days after eating [ 10 ]. Some of these symptoms overlap with symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and exercise-induced functional gastrointestinal disturbances [ 10 , 15 ]. Given the ambiguous nature of food intolerance, its diagnosis, as a rule, is performed independently by athletes with the subsequent cancelation of certain food products or a group of products [ 9 , 16 ].

Gluten-free diets are under active development, and there is evidence of the benefits of a diet low in fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols (FODMAPs) for reducing exercise-induced gastrointestinal symptoms [ 9 ].

The review purposed to assess the current state of the eating behavior of athletes, food market development, food choice rationality, and effectiveness of the developed and elaborated recommendations. The primary analysis was performed using a text-mining tool to highlight and pick up concepts from the PubMed ScanBious source ( https://cryptome.ru/ , accessed on 15 September 2021) [ 17 , 18 ]. The combined pool of articles of interest was comprised of 94 studies within 10 years depth. Additionally, we analyzed the literature from the past ten years and used secondary literature sources. The search was conducted using such resources as the National Library of Medicine (PubMed) and Mendeley for the keywords (MeSH) “sports”, “athletes”, “diet”, “nutritional requirements”, “physical endurance”.

2. Factors Influencing Diet Choices of Athletes

Many factors are known to influence food choices, including personal taste, affordability, cost, sustainability, culture, family, and religious beliefs ( Figure 1 ) [ 19 , 20 , 21 ]. In addition to these factors, individual knowledge of food and nutritional science also influences choices [ 22 ].

An external file that holds a picture, illustration, etc.
Object name is nutrients-13-03771-g001.jpg

Factors influencing dietary choices of athletes.

Among athletes, nutrition plays an important role since the regimen and composition of the diet are associated with success in sports [ 23 , 24 ]. Concerns about weight and body shape strongly influence food choices for the general population [ 12 ] and have a similar effect on athletes, where attempts to achieve their goals are associated with external data on physique, weight, and performance [ 25 ]. Factors affecting food choices can differ depending on an athletes priorities, as sports participants can range from recreational (leisure or recreational sports) to elite (national or international competition) [ 26 , 27 ].

2.1. Physiobiological Factors

Historically, the main factor influencing individual food choices has been satisfying hunger, usually driven by appetite and fullness [ 28 ]. Temporary suppression of appetite after moderate or vigorous exercise may be due to changes in appetite-regulating hormones, body temperature, and/or decreased blood flow in the intestines [ 29 , 30 , 31 ]. In addition, appetite is suppressed at high altitudes and during exercise in hot environments [ 31 ]. In addition, research has shown that exercise at lower temperatures can stimulate appetite based on increased energy intake [ 32 ], and that athletes can eat despite a loss of appetite [ 33 ], or ignore hunger cues and limit their food intake to achieve weight targets [ 34 ]. This behavior suggests that hunger may not be the main motivator for food choices. Relying on hunger as an indicator of an athlete’s energy needs may be inappropriate when working with this population [ 35 ].

The hunger and satiety feeling are influenced by the amount of consumed food and its chemical and physical properties [ 36 , 37 , 38 ]. Being a key parameter that controls nutrient intake and affects the body weight, satiety is comprehensively controlled and depends on food ingredients [ 37 ]. Many athletes need strict weight control to achieve their goals in the competition season [ 36 ]. Controlled consumption of fiber (including oatmeal and barley), dietary fat, and carbohydrates is the main strategy to determine a satiety diet [ 37 , 38 ].

Homeostatic mechanisms related to the balance of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins are thought to help regulate eating behavior and energy balance [ 29 , 39 ]. Increased energy and macronutrient intake after exercise may be related to substrate oxidation, so athletes are more likely to consume foods high in carbohydrates, post-workout, to restore carbohydrate balance [ 40 ]. However, this is not always observed in scientific research, as there are differences potentially associated with the design of the experiment and the population being studied [ 40 , 41 ]. Much of the research on macronutrient regulatory systems relates to energy intake and obesity [ 39 , 41 , 42 ]. Much of the research on macronutrient regulatory systems relates to energy intake and obesity. The results may apply differently to populations of athletes wherein carbohydrate intake during exercise is common practice and wherein training adaptations may affect product use [ 43 ].

Taste is an important determinant of food choices because the aroma, taste, and appearance of foods are pleasurable, activating a rich and varied sensory experience [ 44 , 45 ]. However, among elite athletes, the taste may become a less critical factor before an important game or event when preference is given to products that improve athletic performance [ 26 , 46 ]. For example, some athletes avoid preferred foods before a competition to achieve weight-related goals [ 34 ]. The importance of food taste can differ by gender, income, and age and is often viewed concerning other priorities such as health, weight, or financial concerns [ 19 , 29 , 47 ].

Athletes with food allergies or intolerances tend to avoid certain foods to reduce the risk of an allergic reaction, or to minimize the development of reactions associated with, for example, gastrointestinal disorders (heartburn, bloating, diarrhea, cramps, nausea, and vomiting) during exercise [ 29 , 48 , 49 ]. Gastrointestinal problems impair performance or subsequent recovery and up to 30%-50% of athletes (mostly endurance athletes) face such complaints [ 50 ] Following intense exercise, especially with hypohydration, the decrease of mesenteric blood flow is considered the main symptom of the development of gastrointestinal issues. Since the severity of gastrointestinal upset affects performance and overall competitive results, post-exercise mesenteric blood flow holds a key position regarding the food choice as much before as during the competition. Nutrition should ensure rapid gastric emptying and absorption of water and nutrients, as well as maintaining adequate internal vascular perfusion. It has been shown, that athletes frequently change their diet and food preferences before a competition to avoid gastrointestinal discomfort [ 33 , 51 ].

2.2. Lifestyle Factors

Important factors regarding food choices vary according to lifestyle preferences [ 52 , 53 ]. People may choose to play sports to become physically active. Motivation for this can be to maintain or improve health, the desire to have a lean body, and optimal weight [ 54 ]. Several studies have shown that performance is one of the most important factors affecting food choice for athletes, both for individual and team sports [ 23 , 33 , 55 ]. In addition, an athlete’s attention regarding choice of nutrition may vary depending on the phase of the season, the type of sport, the fitness of the athlete, and the level of competition [ 33 , 46 , 55 ]. For example, when training performance is not particularly critical, hockey players in the off-season are more relaxed about food choices, while more competitive triathletes tend to prefer food that maximizes performance. Strength athletes place less emphasis on performance factors (e.g., nutrient content in foods) than endurance athletes [ 55 ]. It is important to keep these points in mind when working with athletes.

Nutritional awareness and bias can also influence food choices [ 56 ]. Thus, an athlete’s knowledge of foods, dietary patterns, and their role in health and athletic performance can influence their dietary choices. However, despite awareness in the field of sports nutrition, athletes do not always apply the knowledge gained in practice [ 57 ]. Athletes at a higher level (international or national) have higher nutrition knowledge and are more responsible in their food choices while prioritizing performance [ 58 , 59 ]. Although limited research suggests that nutritional knowledge can influence the diet of athletes, further research is needed that considers additional factors that may be important in an athlete’s diet.

2.3. Psychological Factors

Weight is an important factor in food choice [ 60 ]. Cognitive or conscious dietary restriction to control body weight may be characteristic of athletes trying to change body weight to improve athletic performance [ 33 ], or gain athletic form [ 24 , 61 ]. Therefore, athletes are at an increased risk of eating disorders in sports where more attention is paid to body weight and shape (gymnastics, swimming) [ 25 , 62 ]. Consequently, athletes can restrict food intake to achieve the “ideal” weight for esthetic or performance reasons. Overall, weight problems can be a driving force in the dietary choices of many athletes, but more research is needed in this area.

Some studies have shown that people eat more than just to satisfy hunger [ 20 , 28 , 58 ]. Opportunities to consume a variety of delicious, readily available, and, for the most part, inexpensive foods continue to grow. For this reason, many argue that, currently, food choice is primarily influenced by the so-called hedonic hunger when people tend to eat for pleasure in the absence of an energy deficit [ 28 ]. In [ 63 ], subjects with compensatory energy intake compensated for energy expended on exercise by increasing the amount of food they eat, while subjects with non-compensatory energy intake did not.

2.4. Social Factors

Diet composition can also be determined by the social factors associated with daily life [ 64 ]. For example, one’s schedule of work, school, training, competition, or other amusement can determine food choice, while preference is given to food that can be quickly and easily prepared [ 23 , 65 , 66 ]. It is also important for athletes to meet their energy needs after exercise, so they may have frequent consumption of food that is convenient and easy to prepare [ 33 , 67 , 68 ]. Some athletes report overeating in dining rooms due to the abundance of options available and/or repeated trips to the grocery line after observing teammates eating [ 23 ]. Similarly, the dietary choices of younger athletes can be influenced by the dietary choices of older and more experienced teammates [ 23 ]. Food marketing, media, and advertising are common sources of nutritional information for many consumers, including athletes, and this can influence their food choices [ 69 , 70 ].

Thus, research shows that dietary accessibility, social support, habits, and marketing can influence food choices. However, it is unclear how important these factors are for athletes, and further research in this area is needed.

Athletes have different religious and cultural backgrounds associated with certain customs, traditions, values, and beliefs, which are usually passed down from generation to generation and can influence their choice of food [ 71 , 72 ]. For some athletes, family traditions and ethnic background do not matter much when choosing food, while for others, food choices based on religious beliefs are paramount [ 73 ]. Indeed, long-standing customs may prevail over health and sport-recommendations recommendations in favor of the performance seen in heavy sports such as wrestling and horse racing [ 34 , 74 ]. In general, cultural factors are important determinants of food choices and can be important for athletes.

2.5. Economic Factors

Choice of food products is often determined by cost. This factor is especially important for people with low incomes and students [ 66 ]. For athletes, the choice of a healthy diet is often limited by their financial situation [ 69 , 75 ]. Participation in certain sports can be costly and therefore only attract those who can afford it [ 26 ]. Sometimes, one’s level of income is not always the decisive factor in food choice. For many, it is important to obtain good value for money [ 76 ].

The most common are gluten-free (GF), vegetarian, and lean diets. These diets are popular diets for the entire population, however, they are also used by some professional athletes to maintain health. An increasingly popular diet low in FODMAPs is used to reduce exercise-related gastrointestinal symptoms [ 15 ]. However, the potential consequences of dietary restrictions and special diets should be carefully evaluated [ 77 ].

3.1. Gluten-Free Diet

Over the past ten years, the market for GF products has grown by 110%. Consumption of GF foods is relevant for people with celiac disease (CD), gluten intolerance (GI), and wheat allergy (WA). However, it is an autoimmune disease that interferes with intestinal absorption due to inflammation and atrophy of the villi [ 78 ]. CD prevalence is estimated to be approximately 1% [ 79 ].

Despite the different etiology and severity of manifestation, the symptoms of celiac disease (CD) and gluten intolerance (GI) are very similar - diarrhea, bloating and gas, abdominal pain, nausea and constipation, headache and fatigue, etc.

Despite different etiology and severity of manifestation, symptoms of celiac disease (CD) and gluten intolerance (GI) are quite similar and include diarrhea, bloating and gas, abdominal pain, nausea and constipation, headache and fatigue, etc. However, the diagnosis of GI is difficult because physicians are less aware of gluten intolerance than gluten disease or wheat allergy. Thus, GI is generally established after excluding celiac disease and wheat allergy [ 80 ].

Some may eat small amounts of gluten until they reach a threshold, while others are gluten-intolerant. WA differs from GI and CD. People with WA undergo a systemic reaction to gluten. The symptoms of WA are similar to those of other allergies, such as hives and swelling. However, for CD, GI, and WA, therapy aims to eliminate gluten from the diet.

Strict adherence to a gluten-free diet (GFD) excludes all sources of gluten (a storage protein component containing glutenin and gliadin) because eating foods containing gluten or gliadin (wheat, barley, and rye) is accompanied by an inappropriate immune response [ 78 ]. Gliadin is not fully digested or cleared from the body, and does not induce an immune response in people without CD. A previous study [ 79 ] provided information on the types of foods and ingredients relevant to the GFD, as well as foods rich in gluten or containing hidden gluten.

GFD commitment has become popular among athletes. GFD is known to be essential for maintaining health and controlling symptoms in people with gluten sensitivities, but as a result of its marketing strategy, a GFD is in a “privileged” position with the promise of overall health and ergogenic benefits [ 16 ]. The main reason for adherence to a GFD in athletes is the widespread belief that gluten causes gastrointestinal pathology and inflammation. The number of athletes adhering to a GFD is four times higher than that of the part of the general population estimated to require gluten restriction or elimination [ 81 ]. According to Lis et al., 41% of athletes without CD report adherence to a GFD, while about 60% self-identified GI [ 16 ]. A study [ 78 ] investigated the effect of a GFD in athletes without CD on endurance. The findings showed that a seven-day GFD did not positively or negatively affect gastrointestinal health, inflammation, or the overall well-being and performance of non-celiac cycling athletes. However, it is important to consider a higher likelihood of exercise-induced gastrointestinal syndromes [ 15 ].

In addition, the elimination of gluten from the diet means that many carbohydrate foods consumed by endurance athletes are also eliminated from the diet [ 82 ]. Iron deficiency anemia occurs in 70% of people with CD [ 83 ]. Therefore, it is necessary for such athletes to carefully plan their nutritional needs for training and competition [ 84 ]. In cases where CD is accompanied by iron-deficiency anemia, it is vital to follow an iron-rich GFD. A study [ 82 ] analyzed nutritional intake during training and competition in the 384 km K4 cycling race of an aspiring long-distance cyclist diagnosed with CD. During the competition, the athlete reported nausea when they tried to consume sugary drinks or marmalade, so their desire to eat decreased. This was probably due to a combination of prolonged consumption of sugary foods and fatigue. Furthermore, the use of dry and crumbly forms of GF foods also proved to be problematic, as some of the food was lost, and the consumption of dry foods can increase the urge to drink. In addition, GF foods tend to be high in calories, which can slow stomach emptying and cause discomfort during exercise [ 85 ]. GF foods are energetically rich, but low protein content makes athletes feel hungry despite meals. As a result, against the background of hunger, the development of psychological disorders is possible. The athlete completed his main task to finish the race, but the total race time was almost 2 h slower than expected. This could have been due to insufficient energy intake, which led to the early onset of fatigue. Therefore, for athletes with CD during training and competition, it is necessary to consider alternative dietary regimens to increase endurance [ 82 ].

3.2. FODMAPs Diet

FODMAP is a family of fermentable short-chain carbohydrates found in a wide variety of foods and components [ 9 , 86 ]. The FODMAP diet has become an advanced treatment for irritable bowel syndrome symptoms with a 70% success rate [ 87 ]. Some components of FODMAPs are poorly digested, but gastrointestinal symptoms are often absent or only mild. Athletes performing strenuous exercise often experience impaired function concerning the integrity of the gastrointestinal tract. At the same time, undigested food molecules increase the osmotic load in the small intestine, the osmotic translocation of water and weight loss, and the development of diarrhea or constipation. The consumption of carbohydrates is necessary to maintain energy requirements [ 49 ].

Athlete-specific data support the concept that FODMAPs affect exercise-associated gastrointestinal symptoms [ 88 , 89 ]. Gastrointestinal symptoms can occur after intense exercise, which can affect energy replenishment. This is especially important when competitions take place over several days or several times a day. Often athletes exclude foods high in FODMAPs such as lactose, fructose with excess glucose, galactooligosaccharides, polyols, and fructans) on their own [ 90 ]. Some studies have highlighted the effectiveness of using a low FODMAP diet to reduce the severity of gastrointestinal symptoms during and outside of exercise [ 89 , 91 ].

Therefore, in the study [ 90 ], 910 athletes were interviewed to assess their attitude toward the exclusion of food/ingredients associated with gastrointestinal disorders. After eliminating a large number of FODMAP-containing foods, athletes reported an improvement in symptoms ranging from 68.2% (polyols) to 83.7% (lactose). More often, athletes excluded lactose sources and, to a lesser extent, other high FODMAP foods. Lactose elimination can be achieved by eliminating all sources of lactose, limiting exclusively concentrated sources, or eliminating only pre-workout. However, the elimination of lactose by athletes to reduce gastrointestinal symptoms can lead to calcium deficiency, so individual dietary strategies should be followed to ensure adequate intake [ 92 ].

3.3. Plant-Based Diets

According to a study [ 93 ], there is a growing interest in plant-based diets, especially in relation to vegan diets and semi-vegetarian or flexitarian diets among athletes. Approximately 8% of international athletes follow a vegetarian diet, and 1% are vegans [ 94 ].

Vegetarian and vegan diets have been linked to a reduced risk of chronic diseases among non-athletes [ 94 ]. In their work, Craddock et al. performed a comparative analysis of physical performance in athletes, which did not reveal clear differences between a vegetarian diet and an omnivorous mixed diet. The prevailing vegetarian diet did not improve or decrease the performance of the athletes [ 95 ]. However, owing to its high carbohydrate content, a vegetarian diet can be beneficial for energy storage. In addition, antioxidants and phytochemicals are helpful [ 95 , 96 ]. However, plant-based diets can reduce certain nutrients in the body, including omega-3 fatty acids, iron, zinc, calcium, vitamin D, iodine, and vitamin B12. These nutrients are less present in plant foods or are less readily absorbed from plants than from animal sources [ 96 ].

In general, plant-based diets containing various whole grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, and seeds can provide proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals. Depending on your dietary choices, focusing on foods high in protein, iron, zinc, calcium, and vitamin B12 (such as yeast extract foods) will ensure adequate nutritional status. While research strongly suggests that a plant-based diet may provide some health benefits, there is little evidence that vegetarian diets are better than that of omnivores in terms of improving fitness, health, and performance.

In their study, Pelly et al. studied the diet of athletes participating in major international competitions during the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi. In total, 351 athletes were questioned. Most athletes (62%) reported following one or more dietary regimens, with 50% following a nutritional-based diet. Athletes from weight classes and esthetic (28%) and strength/sprint (41%) sports followed low-fat and high-protein regimens, respectively. Other specialized diets were followed by 33% of the participants, with the most frequently reported avoiding red meat (13%), vegetarian diets (7%), halal (6%), and low lactose (5%) diets. More athletes from non-Western regions followed a vegetarian diet, while more vegetarians reported avoiding supplements and wheat [ 97 ].

Therefore, special diets are effective for some athletes. However, each of them should be carefully evaluated, along with the rationale for choosing the diet. To optimize nutrition for high athletic performance, one should consult with an accredited dietitian as well as medical and sport sciences personnel. Organizers of major sporting events must ensure the availability of adequate nutrition and food supplies.

4. Functional Food for Athletes

Sports nutrition guidelines indicate that it is necessary to use a large quantity of carbohydrates during training for athletes in sports related activity for endurance. Most commercially available energy drinks, smoothies, and bars have a high glycemic index. However, high carbohydrate intake can cause gastrointestinal upset because of its high osmolality (see the FODMAP diet) [ 98 ]. For people with glucose intolerance, diabetes, or hyperglycemia, during exercise, such prescriptions can be dangerous or even fatal [ 1 , 99 , 100 , 101 , 102 ].

Grubic et al. developed a glucose-free food bar that meets sports nutrition guidelines. Ingestion of a bar containing whey protein (20 g), isomaltooligosaccharides of plant fibers (25 g), and fats (7 g) is effective in glucose homeostasis and performance, compared to the experience of conventional carbohydrate intake. Subjects were asked to take a food bar 30 min before, during, and after exercise during the study. The training program consisted of 11 resistance exercises (three sets of ten repetitions), followed by agility exercises and timed sprints. This study showed that the glycemic and insulinemic responses were more favorable for the maintenance of euglycemia than the intake of an equivalent amount of carbohydrates (dextrose) [ 103 ], which in turn allowed maintenance of the necessary level of performance during training and reduced muscle pain after exercise.

Replacing carbohydrates rapidly is an urgent problem for athletes, and today, solutions are available. Cereal foods, such as rice, can effectively maintain energy levels. More recently, Ishihara et al. modified a rice cake by the addition of sweet potatoes and evaluated the availability of raw rice as a source of carbohydrates during endurance training [ 104 ]. The training protocol consisted of one hour of continuous race time. Evaluation using a visual analog scale showed that this product significantly suppressed the degree of hunger ( p < 0.05) and, more significantly, tended to decrease thirst ( p < 0.10) during the training period.

Dairy products are also in demand, as they are some of the best muscle-building aids in sports [ 105 , 106 , 107 ]. However, athletes often experience lactose intolerance. In this case, milk must be replaced with products containing enzymes, such as fermented milk. The digestibility of such products reaches 91%, in contrast to the digestibility of milk, which is 34% [ 108 ].

Russian scientists reported that a specialized food product for athletes was developed based on fermented milk whey “MDX” (LLC “PROBIO,” RF) to increase adaptive capabilities [ 109 ]. The test drink, obtained by microbiological processing of whey (cheese, curd, and casein), using industrial cultures of lactic acid microorganisms and subsequent low-temperature concentration, contained a formula of: hydrolyzed whey protein, oligopeptides, and free amino acids, glucose, galactose, lactic acid, acid, C, E, B1, B2, B6, PP, β-carotene, folic acid, as well as endosomal enzymes of lactic acid bacteria; microelements, Cu 2+ , Zn 2+ , Mn 2+ , Fe 2+ , and macroelements, K + , Na + , Ca 2+ , Mg 2+ and phosphorus. The product also contained a live culture of lactic acid bacteria: Lactococcus lactis , L. thermohilus , and L. bulgaricus (1.2 × 108 CFU/cm 3 ). The study involved 30 cross-country skiers (average age 19.5 ± 1.8 years). Twelve skiers in the main group consumed the specialized food product for 21 days, and 18 skiers took a placebo. The revealed functional changes were most likely associated with an absolute increase (by 31%, p < 0.05) in relative physical performance (by 33%, p < 0.05) and in the aerobic endurance of the skiers.

Currently, there is a hypothesis about the need for a carbohydrate-protein mixture (CHO:PRO) in the diet of sprint athletes [ 1 , 110 ]. Some studies have shown that CHO:PRO in the diet increases muscle glycogen stores, decreases muscle damage, and improves exercise adaptation [ 1 ]. The carbohydrate-protein blend improves the rapid recovery process by stimulating muscle protein synthesis, as well as activating both the target signaling mechanism of rapamycin [ 111 ] and more efficient storage of glycogen through an insulinotropic response [ 112 ].

CHO increases the amount of insulin, thereby attenuating the post-workout cortisol response. Combined with the anabolic response to protein supplementation, this has a positive effect on protein synthesis. In addition, it has been shown that weakening of the cortisol response is greatest with the combined use of CHO and PRO versus taking only CHO or PRO in a sample of untrained young adult men [ 113 ].

da Silva et al. developed a skimmed, lactose-free, and leucine-fortified cow milk chocolate (CML) prototype. The developers proposed a lactose-free “ready-to-eat” product that was tested on a group of soccer players. The findings suggest that CML tasted good and was well tolerated by athletes in this study [ 114 ]. This suggested that CML could be an alternative sports drink that would provide post-workout energy recovery while avoiding discomfort for athletes with lactose intolerance.

Born et al. conducted a comparative analysis of the two commercial products. Chocolate Milk (CM) (Horizon Organic Low-Fat Chocolate Milk, WhiteWave Foods Company, Denver, CO, USA) used a mixture of carbohydrates and proteins, CHO: PRO, as an additive. A commercially available sports drink was used as a CHO additive. Research into the effects of beverage-based supplements on the recovery of adolescent athletes has been performed in the field. The analysis showed a decrease in bench press strength after five weeks of training in the CHO group compared to an increase in strength in the CM group [ 115 ].

Athletes and athlete support specialists may be interested in special formulations as an alternative to regular sports drinks designed to meet the high metabolic costs of grueling team sports. Such products are of interest as an opportunity to prevent gastrointestinal disorders. These studies prove that the intake of alternative products is rational for addressing food intolerance and systematic training loads and effective for increasing the adaptive capabilities of athletes.

5. Personalized Nutrition for Athletes

The introduction of omics technologies into professional sport practice provides an opportunity for a personalized (personified) approach for various areas, including nutrition.

Recently, concepts such as nutrigenomics and nutrigenetics have begun to be employed in sports genetics. Nutrigenomics describes the effect of food components on gene expression, whereas nutrigenetics intends to determine the optimal diet for a particular person depending on personal genetic status and relevant response to food. It is also important to take into account that each person responds differently depending on their genotypic and phenotypic characteristics even if nutrients act in a dose-dependent manner, modulating some physiological functions [ 116 ]. In particular, the cross-talk between genes and nutrients can affect the amount and type of nutrients consumed with food, and therefore the functions of the body [ 117 ].

The amount and the type of protein and carbohydrate in a -personalized diet are critical to muscle growth and overall performance. Over the past years, there is significant progress in the understanding of the mechanism regulating gene expression and protein synthesis events, in the evaluation of genetic variations, and in how to figure out essential nutrients capable for activating such processes.

Genetic variations can influence the total amount of bioactive peptides obtained from the protein source and, hence, their accessibility to muscle growth. Different foods are ambiguous in protein quality as an instant source of limiting amino acids. Leucine, for example, is a key factor of protein synthesis and enhances the activity of various kinases that regulate the onset of translation processes such as the mTOR signaling pathway. The excessive functionality of the mTOR pathway, caused by genetic polymorphisms, affects muscle growth and performance in athletes by means of nutrient absorption and protein synthesis. Considering these genetic data, it is required proper nutritional strategies that balance the intake of carbohydrates and protein from food and supplements.

Genetic polymorphisms in LAT1 and LAT2 genes (encoding BCAA amino acid transporters) may impact the rate of leucine post-ingestion absorption, thence, reducing the amount of leucine available for protein synthesis [ 118 ].

The past decade is highlighted by rigorous studying of genetic polymorphisms and environmental factors both affecting lipids transport and plasma lipids level. This knowledge is essential to render a new personalized strategy of a balanced diet for athletes. The effect of minor rs4315495 SNP in LPIN1 and the diet on serological lipids profile was examined [ 119 ]. Participants, carrying such SNP and maintaining a high-protein diet, demonstrated diminished circulating triacylglycerides level.

Also, due care should be taken for the daily amount of minerals and vitamins in order to find the proper personal dose of micronutrients. In particular, new nutrigenomic studies highlight the importance of proper daily intake of certain minerals and vitamins to maximize athlete performance and proper recovery from exercise [ 119 ].

Nevertheless, despite the growing market of genetic testing aimed to predict athlete performance and talent, nutrigenetic and nutrigenomic testing are less known and less utilized. The most critical challenge is the complexity in the estimation of functional roles of various polymorphisms, specifically because any polymorphism can directly or indirectly act on other genes, proteins, or metabolic pathways. Hence, more research is needed to establish the complex network of gene and nutrient associations capable of determining the type of essential nutrients to be integrated and the type of nutrients with harmful potency.

6. Nutritional Advisory Services and Recommendations

In a major international competition, the Taipei Universiade (2017), a nutrition service was launched by a nutritionist, using FoodWorks (Nutrition Analysis Software, to provide nutritional advice for improving the diet of young and adult athletes.

The results of this event showed that the consumers of the service were interested in food allergy/intolerance issues. Most athletes seeking nutritional advice had no previous nutritional support (86.5%) and wanted nutritional plans and performance-related advice (81.1%).

At the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, a study was conducted that aimed to (1) determine the qualifications of nutritionists who may be required at points of sale of food organized at major competitions, (2) examine the opinions of athletes regarding the use of nutrition support services, and (3) analyze the relationship of their sport with the existing knowledge about nutrition [ 120 ]. Inquiries were received from athletes from the Western Regions regarding nutrition and special/therapeutic dietary requirements (mainly regarding food allergies and intolerances). Athletes from non-Western regions and athletes in weight categories made more requests for sports nutrition and consulted more often.

Currently, a large selection of test methods can be used to determine the prevalence of intolerance of certain foods and/or their components. The results of these analyses, as a rule, were supplemented by the recommendations of a specialist. Table 1 provides a list of laboratory products designed to analyze food intolerance or allergies.

List of commercial products for detecting food intolerances or allergies.

Furthermore, digestion control applications are currently being developed. For example, FoodMarble ( https://www.foodmarble.com , accessed on 15 September 2021) developed the FoodMarble AIRE, a portable breath monitor with connected app. The FoodMarble AIRE allows the analysis of the digestion process in real-time.

In addition to the above commercial products, recommendations for athletes are being developed by the international nutrition community, the Ministry of Sports, and researchers( Table 2 ).

Recommendations on the peculiarities of the nutritional diet by sports scientific and medical organizations and scientific research.

Evaluating athlete nutrition is challenging due to the influence of periodic exercise and other sport-specific factors such as frequent overeating, large portion sizes, and widespread use of sports nutrition and supplements [ 67 , 131 ]. Advances in technology may make it easier to automate certain aspects of nutritional assessment, reduce costs, and reduce respondent burden [ 132 , 133 ]. However, existing online nutritional applications tend to focus only on assessing the macronutrient and/or micronutrient intake and have often not been validated among athletes.

Food-based diet indices are a quick and inexpensive way to estimate food intake. These indices assess food intake and diet and compare them with dietary recommendations. An athlete’s diet index can provide an effective and practical way to assess the quality of their diet. A study [ 134 ] describes the development and validation of the athlete diet index (ADI). Accredited sports nutritionists in the current study determined that ADI is useful for quickly identifying athletes at risk or identifying dietary changes during exercise. The value of assessing the quality of diet and dietary habits, not just nutrient intake, along with the widespread use of electronic platforms in sports programs, opens up possibilities for this new electronic tool. However, while early results indicate that ADI is a less burdensome way of quickly assessing dietary quality and, therefore, may be beneficial for use on a broader population of athletes or as part of a team, it should not replace detailed dietary assessment or individual athlete guidance provided by sports nutrition specialists.

In addition, the development of valid and reliable questionnaires can provide a valid and reliable tool for assessing voluntary dietary restrictions on food choices, reasons for food refusal, and gastrointestinal symptoms among athletes and, consequently, to optimize their performance [ 135 , 136 ].

Despite a large number of recommendations and their availability, the question remains: How conscientiously are athletes ready to use them in practice? For example, in a study by Masson and Lamarche, it was shown that not all athletes involved in/-around endurance follow the carbohydrate dietary guidelines [ 137 ]. Another study highlighted the importance of training athletes in sports nutrition strategies, which requires an effective system for managing food and fluid needs to achieve their goals [ 84 ].

Therefore, current efforts require attention to improve the adaptability of the recommendations for athletes who require a specific training process. For example, there is a need to take cognizance of varying climatic conditions, type of training/competition, and individual characteristics. The development of dietary strategies with a personalized approach will help maximize training adaptability in the long term, potentially increasing performance in athletes.

7. Conclusions

This review highlights the factors that influence the eating behavior of athletes, the development of the market, providing services in this area, as well as the effectiveness of the recommendations developed. Health and weight control are important for athletes, but it is difficult to assess their effects on athletic performance. The condition of the athlete, the type of sport, the stage of the training period, and level of competition also play an important role in the choice of food.

The balance of macronutrients in the choice of food products requires further study in connection with the changing diet and quality of the athlete’s nutrition. These include non-homeostatic factors associated with the food environment, such as food marketing and restricted dietary practices that can suppress intrinsic signals associated with appetite and hunger.

Athletes follow special diets for a variety of reasons. GF, vegetarian, and lean diets are some of the most common diets adopted for health, ethical, religious, and industrial purposes. The prevalence of CD has increased dramatically, and GFD has become a popular approach to nutrition. A strict GFD for athletes with CD, WA, or GI will improve their health and may increase performance.

However, despite the many benefits of low FODMAP and GFD diets, these special diets are also associated with disturbed gut microbiota, short-chain fatty acid production [ 138 , 139 ], eating disorders, increased psychosocial anxiety, and decreased energy and nutrient intake [ 140 , 141 ].

Research into a new paradigm of immune health in athletes is focusing on tolerogenic nutritional supplements shown to reduce the risk of infection in athletes, such as probiotics, vitamin C, and vitamin D. Further research should demonstrate the benefits of tolerogenic supplementation in reducing infection in athletes without dulling training adaptation and without side effects [ 142 ].

Athletes train and compete in various settings, and a deeper understanding of this area can assist the practicing nutritionist with nutritional management and meal planning for athletes attending training facilities in various settings.

It is important to remember that food choices are dynamic, and their importance can vary with time, place, and changing situations in which athletes are choosing their food.

Author Contributions

Conceptualization, K.A.M., M.S.K.; formal analysis, A.A.I., T.V.B.; investigation, K.A.M., A.T.K.; writing—original draft preparation, K.A.M., A.A.S. (Alexander A. Stepanov), A.L.K.; writing—review and editing, A.A.S. (Alexandra A. Sinitsyna), K.C.; project administration, A.L.K. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.

This work was financed by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation within the framework of state support for the creation and development of World-Class Research Centers “Digital biodesign and personalized healthcare” No. 75-15-2020-913.

Data Availability Statement

Conflicts of interest.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Publisher’s Note: MDPI stays neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

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Essay on Nutrition [ Types, Importance & Benefits ]

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A healthy Nutrition is the pre requisite of healthy living. This essay explores the meaning & concept of nutrition, types and importance of nutrition and how nutrition is important in our life.

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Essay on Nutrition | Meaning, Concept, Importance, Benefits of Nutrition

Nutrition is important for everyone, but it is especially important for people with diabetes. Good nutrition can help people with diabetes control their blood sugar levels and prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.

Types of Nutrients

There are three types of nutrients: carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. All three types of nutrients are important for good health, but people with diabetes need to be especially mindful of their carbohydrate intake.

Carbohydrates:  Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy. They are found in foods such as bread, cereal, rice, pasta, fruits, vegetables, and milk. When people with diabetes eat foods that contain carbohydrates, their bodies convert the carbohydrates into sugar (glucose), which then enters the bloodstream.

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In order to control blood sugar levels, people with diabetes need to be aware of the amount of carbohydrates they are eating and match their insulin (or other diabetes medication) to the amount of carbohydrates they are eating.

Fats: Fats are found in foods such as butter, margarine, cooking oils, salad dressings, and some types of meat and dairy products. Fats provide energy and help the body absorb some vitamins and minerals. People with diabetes need to be aware of the types of fats they are eating and the amount of fat in their diet. Saturated fats, which are found in animal products such as butter and cream, can raise cholesterol levels and increase the risk for heart disease.

Trans fats, which are found in some processed foods, can also raise cholesterol levels and increase the risk for heart disease. People with diabetes should limit their intake of saturated and trans fats and replace them with unsaturated fats, which are found in fish, nuts, and vegetable oils.

Proteins:  Proteins are found in foods such as meat, poultry, fish, beans, tofu, eggs, and dairy products. Proteins are important for growth and repair of the body’s tissues. People with diabetes need to be aware of the types of proteins they are eating and the amount of protein in their diet. Animal proteins, such as those found in meat, poultry, and fish, contain saturated fats that can raise cholesterol levels and increase the risk for heart disease. Plant proteins, such as those found in beans and tofu, are a healthier protein choice for people with diabetes.

Importance of Nutrition for a healthy life:

A healthy diet is important for everyone, but it is especially important for people with diabetes. People with diabetes should eat a variety of healthy foods from all food groups, including carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. They should also limit their intake of saturated and trans fats and replace them with unsaturated fats. In addition to eating a healthy diet, people with diabetes should also get regular physical activity.

Importance of Nutrition for Students

Good nutrition is especially important for students. Eating a healthy diet can help students concentrate and focus in school, and it can also help them perform their best in athletics. Students who eat a healthy diet are less likely to get sick, and when they do get sick, they tend to recover more quickly.

There are a few things that students can do to make sure they are eating a healthy diet. First, they should eat breakfast every day. Breakfast provides the body with energy and nutrients that are needed to start the day. Second, students should try to eat a variety of foods from all food groups. They should also limit their intake of sugary drinks and snacks. And finally, students should make sure they are getting enough physical activity. Physical activity helps the body to use energy and can also help to improve mood and concentration.

Impacts of bad nutrition on students

Bad nutrition can have a number of negative effects on students. When students don’t eat breakfast, they are more likely to be tired and have trouble concentrating in school. If students eat sugary snacks and drinks instead of healthy foods, they may get cavities and gain weight. And if students don’t get enough physical activity, they may become overweight and have trouble sleeping. All of these effects can lead to poor grades and more absences from school.

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A healthy diet is important for everyone, but it is especially important for people with diabetes. People with diabetes should eat a variety of healthy foods from all food groups, including carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Students should must take care of good nutrition. Bad nutrition can lead to many problems such as poor grades, more absences from school, weight gain and trouble sleeping. All of these effects can be prevented by eating a healthy diet and getting enough physical activity.

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Essay on Diet And Nutrition

Students are often asked to write an essay on Diet And Nutrition in their schools and colleges. And if you’re also looking for the same, we have created 100-word, 250-word, and 500-word essays on the topic.

Let’s take a look…

100 Words Essay on Diet And Nutrition

What is diet.

A diet is the food and drinks we consume every day. It can be different for everyone. Some people eat lots of fruits and vegetables, while others might eat more meat or grains. A healthy diet is balanced, meaning it has the right amounts of all the food groups.

What is Nutrition?

Nutrition is about the vitamins, minerals, fats, proteins, and carbohydrates in the food we eat. These are called nutrients. They help our body grow, develop, and stay healthy. Good nutrition means getting the right amount of nutrients from healthy foods.

The Importance of a Balanced Diet

A balanced diet is important because it gives our body the nutrients it needs. If we don’t get enough nutrients, we can become sick. Eating a variety of foods from all the food groups can help us get the nutrients we need.

Choosing Healthy Foods

Choosing healthy foods can be easy. We should try to eat lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. We should also limit foods that are high in sugar, salt, and unhealthy fats.

The Role of Water

Water is also a big part of our diet. It helps our body work properly. We should try to drink plenty of water every day. It’s especially important when it’s hot outside or when we’re exercising.

In conclusion, diet and nutrition are very important for our health. By eating a balanced diet and choosing healthy foods, we can ensure we get the nutrients our body needs.

250 Words Essay on Diet And Nutrition

What is diet and nutrition.

Diet and nutrition are key parts of our daily lives. ‘Diet’ means the food and drink we regularly choose to consume. ‘Nutrition’ is how the food we eat helps our body. It’s about vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that help us grow, feel good, and stay healthy.

Importance of Balanced Diet

A balanced diet is vital. It means eating different types of foods in the right amounts. This diet includes fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, and dairy products. A balanced diet gives our body all the nutrients it needs. It helps us grow strong and stay healthy.

Role of Nutrition

Nutrition plays a key role in our health. It helps us fight off sickness. Good nutrition means our body gets all the right nutrients. These are things like vitamins, minerals, and proteins. They help our body work properly. It’s like fuel for a car. Without the right fuel, our body can’t work as well as it should.

Unhealthy Diet Risks

An unhealthy diet can cause problems. Too much unhealthy food can lead to weight gain and other health issues. These can include heart disease and diabetes. It’s important to eat healthy foods to stay fit and strong.

In conclusion, diet and nutrition are key to our health. A balanced diet gives us the nutrients we need. Good nutrition helps our body work well. An unhealthy diet can cause health problems. So, it’s vital to eat a balanced diet for a healthy life.

500 Words Essay on Diet And Nutrition

Understanding diet and nutrition.

Diet and nutrition are two important words that we often hear about. But what do they really mean? Diet refers to the food and drink that we regularly consume. Nutrition, on the other hand, is about how our body uses the food and drink we eat to keep us healthy.

Why is a Balanced Diet Important?

A balanced diet is one that gives your body all the nutrients it needs to function correctly. We need to eat a variety of foods to get the right balance of nutrients. This means eating a mix of foods from the different food groups: fruits and vegetables, grains, proteins, and dairy products.

Eating a balanced diet is important because it helps our body to grow, repair itself and stay healthy. It also gives us the energy we need to do our daily activities. Without a balanced diet, we can become unwell and our body may not work as well as it should.

What are Nutrients?

Nutrients are substances that our body needs to work properly. There are two types of nutrients: macronutrients and micronutrients.

Macronutrients include carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. We need these in large amounts. Carbohydrates provide energy, proteins help in growth and repair, and fats store energy.

Micronutrients include vitamins and minerals. We need these in smaller amounts, but they are still very important. Vitamins and minerals help our body to function well and fight off illness.

Importance of Drinking Water

Water is also an important part of our diet. Our body uses water in all its cells, organs, and tissues to help regulate temperature and maintain other bodily functions. It’s crucial to drink enough water each day to replace what we lose through activities like breathing, sweating, and digestion.

Healthy Eating Habits

To maintain a balanced diet, we should try to eat at regular times each day. This helps our body to get the nutrients it needs when it needs them. We should also try to eat a variety of foods to ensure we get a wide range of nutrients.

Eating too much of any one type of food isn’t good for us. For example, eating too much sugar can lead to weight gain and tooth decay. Similarly, eating too much salt can raise our blood pressure, which can lead to heart disease.

In conclusion, diet and nutrition play a crucial role in our health. By eating a balanced diet and maintaining healthy eating habits, we can ensure our body gets the nutrients it needs to stay healthy. Remember, what we eat and drink today can affect our health in the future. So, it’s important to make good choices about our diet and nutrition.

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The Concept of Healthy Nutrition Essay

I have always been conscious of my eating habits and health. The reason behind my consciousness is that my lifestyle and personality dictates so. Vivacious, enthusiastic enterprising are words I would use to describe myself and my busy lifestyle confirms these qualities. This means that I need to be in shape and constantly check of my energy levels for optimum productivity. Early this year I realized that, my body was slowing me down and my health was not as good as I wanted it to be. This was the driving force behind enrolling for this course.

A healthy balance diet is crucial for ensuring good health. This implies the inclusion of both macronutrients and micronutrients. The former means nutrients that are needed in relatively large amounts while the latter means nutrients needed in small amounts. Carbohydrates, proteins, water and lipids constitute the macronutrients while vitamins and minerals constitute the micronutrients.

My diet consists of high energy giving foods particularly starches and lipids. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Therefore, what better way to kick-start my busy schedule than with a glass of fresh fruit juice, whole meal cereals and an egg? For lunch, I usually have vegetable and cheese sandwiches that I get from the fast food nearby the college. I always make sure that the bread is whole meal because I know that it contains dietary fiber. From my classes, I have learnt that dietary fibers aid in digestion and that they make a person feel fuller for longer..In order to overcome the fast food craze I usually carry a nutrient rich snack, which I indulge in whenever I feel an appetite for deep fried foods linger. Nuts and a fruit particularly come in handy at such a time. I suppose this is the strategy I use to avoid the drive-up fast food restaurants.

In addition, I have learnt the importance of drinking lots of water. Sixty percent of the human body is water and although it does not provide energy, it helps to flush out toxic waste from the body. It also helps to dissolve and transport nutrients throughout the body. I usually take nine glasses of water daily, which is the recommended amount. According to the National health and nutrition examination survey (NHANES), the intake of foods high in micronutrients is insufficient. (CC online, 1997)This course has enabled me to pay more attention to the presence of these nutrients in my diet; hence, I have incorporated more fruits and vegetables in my diet.

In response to a fellow students posting, I would start by applauding the decision to retake this course. Not only will your grades be better, but also your diet habits will change for the better. Lachlan is going to need you to be there for him as he grows up. You want to be in good health and have the energy to take part in activities that solidify your bond. Further, you might want to progress in your studies or build a career as well as be a full time mother. Balancing between the two would need you to be at optimum. Good nutrition contributes to this end. I gather that your diet does not include a lot of drive through window fast foods visits which is commendable although occasionally it can be quite fun. Your excuse to avoid restaurants sounded hilarious if I should say so myself! Trust me, you are not alone, most people share your paranoia. However, by visiting clean restaurants of good repute it is possible to overcome the doubt. Overall, home cooked meals are just as good if not better than restaurant foods. It enables you to choose what to eat and in what proportions. So continue with the course but most importantly practice what you learn and you will experience worthwhile results.

In summary, you are not what you eat rather the food you eat supplies the nutrients needed to function. By promoting healthy lifestyles among people, it is possible to reduce preventable diseases and probable death resulting from nutrient deficiency illnesses. (cerro coso community college, 1997)

Works cited

Nutrition: what you eat and why. (1997) Cerro coso community college.

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The Healthiest Types of Bread to Try

essay on types of nutrition

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Carbohydrates, also known as carbs, are sugar molecules and one of the three main nutrient sources, along with the other macronutrients: fat and protein. Our body relies on carbs as its primary energy source, especially for the brain and nervous system. So, how do we get these essential carbs?

We get our carbs from three main types: sugars (which occur naturally in fruits and are found in sugary processed foods), starches (such as bread, potatoes , and pasta ), and fiber or roughage, which is the indigestible part of carbs that helps maintain good gut and heart health, as well as blood sugar levels.

Bread is a great carbohydrate choice, given its versatility and its availability. Keep reading to learn more about the healthiest breads to eat and how to choose a healthier loaf for your diet.

Sprouted Grain Bread

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Sprouted bread is made from whole grains that have sprouted in a carefully controlled environment. Normally, grains are dormant, but sprouted grains have begun to sprout.

Whole grains contain all parts of the grain—bran, germ, and endosperm—providing more nutrients and antioxidants (more on this in the next section). Eating whole grains as part of a healthy diet can support digestive health, reduce the risk of heart disease , and help with weight management.

When grains are sprouted, their nutrients become more bioavailable, making them easier to absorb.

Sprouted grains also contain higher quantities of essential amino acids. Amino acids are the essential building blocks of proteins and essential amino acids cannot be produced by the body and must be obtained from food.

The nutritional information for sprouted grain bread and other breads mentioned below may vary based on the brand and serving size. A single slice of sprouted grain bread (39 grams) contains 100 calories, 4.02 grams of protein, 18 grams of carbohydrates, and 3 grams of fiber.

Whole Wheat Bread

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Whole grain bread utilizes all three parts of the grain. The outer layer of the grain, or the bran, contains antioxidants , fiber, and B vitamins . The germ is rich in B vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats. The endosperm provides starchy carbs, protein, and small amounts of vitamins and minerals.

On the other hand, refined grains have their bran and germ removed, leaving only the starchy endosperm. This process removes a quarter of the protein and two-thirds or more of the essential nutrients. To make up for the loss, refined grain is enriched, but with fewer than a half dozen of the many missing nutrients. This is a reason why dietary guidelines suggest that half of our grain intake should come from whole grains.

Whole wheat is one kind of whole grain. One slice (32 grams) of whole wheat bread provides 80.6 calories, 3.97 grams of protein, 13.7 grams of carbs, and 1.92 grams of fiber.

Whole Rye Bread

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Rye bread is made from rye, which is a type of wheat crop. Rye has a high level of fiber in its endosperm, not just in the bran. Plus, the type of fiber in rye promotes rapid satiety or a feeling of fullness.

As a result of its high fiber content, rye products typically have a lower glycemic index compared to wheat and most other grain products. Glycemic index (GI) is a measure of how quickly a food raises blood sugar . In general, low GI foods raise blood sugar slowly and high GI foods raise blood sugars quickly. Eating low GI is beneficial for effectively managing blood sugar levels, especially for people with diabetes.

It's important to understand that the term "rye" on bread labels doesn't necessarily indicate it's a whole grain bread. To ensure you're choosing a whole grain option, seek out "whole rye" listed in the ingredients.

A slice of whole rye bread (71 grams) provides 140 calories, 4 grams of protein, 33 grams of carbs, and 7.03 grams of fiber.

Whole Grain Bread with Seeds

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Whole grain bread with seeds, such as flaxseed , pumpkin seed , or sunflower seed , is typically made from whole wheat or sprouted whole wheat.

The addition of seeds can improve the flavor and texture of bread, giving it a chewy and nutty taste that some may enjoy. It can also increase the bread's protein and fiber content. For example, a slice (45 grams) of organic whole wheat bread with a seed mix provides 110 calories, 5 grams of protein, 18 grams of carbs, and 5.98 grams of fiber.

It's recommended to include enough fiber in the diet since it can promote fullness, help with weight management, prevent constipation , lower cholesterol , and keep blood sugar levels normal. For reference, we need 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories consumed. Opting for bread with higher fiber content can help you meet your daily fiber requirements.

Gluten-Free Whole Grain

Gluten-free whole grain bread is intended for people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity and made without gluten-containing ingredients. Gluten is a type of protein that can be found in certain grains such as wheat, rye, and barley. If someone has celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, they must avoid gluten because it can trigger negative reactions.

Gluten-free whole grain breads typically contain starches such as brown rice, tapioca starch, and potato starch as the primary ingredient. They may include gluten-free grains such as millet, teff, and quinoa . Some gluten-free whole grain breads may also add seeds such as flax or sesame.

One slice (25 grams) of gluten-free whole grain bread made with tapioca starch and brown rice flour provides 77.2 calories, 1.81 grams of protein, 12.3 grams of carbs, and 1.22 grams of fiber.

Anna Pustynnikova / Getty Images

Oat bread is a healthy option due to oats' health benefits. Beta-glucan, a type of fiber in oats, is the primary compound that helps reduce cholesterol levels and manage blood sugar levels. Eating oats has also been shown to have positive effects on the immune system and gut microbiota.

The primary flour used in oat bread is typically enriched wheat flour or whole grain flour, such as whole wheat or whole barley. The next ingredients are water and oats.

One slice (45 grams) of oat bread provides 120 calories, 5 grams of protein, 23 grams of carbs, and 0.98 grams of fiber.

Sourdough Bread

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Sourdough bread does not use commercial yeast. It's made through a fermentation process that uses naturally occurring bacteria and yeast in the flour. The process results in a tangy and chewy bread that has an extended shelf-life.

The process of fermenting sourdough bread can significantly reduce the amount of FODMAP (Fermentable Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides And Polyols) content, which makes it easier to digest the bread. FODMAPs are short-chain carbohydrates that some people find hard to digest, leading to bloating, discomfort, and other digestive problems. Therefore, sourdough bread can be beneficial for people with digestive issues such as irritable bowel syndrome .

Another benefit of sourdough bread is its lower glycemic index (GI) value compared to white bread, which can be beneficial for blood sugar management. It's important to note research on the full spectrum of sourdough's health benefits is limited and ongoing.

A 1-ounce (28.35 grams) portion of sourdough bread provides 77.1 calories, 3.06 grams of protein, 14.7 grams of carbs, and 0.624 grams of fiber.

Multigrain Bread

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Multigrain bread is made of two or more different types of grains, such as wheat, barley, millet, and quinoa. If the grains used are 100% whole grains, multigrain bread can provide more fiber.

However, it can be difficult to determine if a multigrain bread is made with whole grain. To ensure that the bread is made with whole grain, check the label for the words "whole wheat" or another whole grain listed as the first ingredient.

A medium-sized slice (36 grams) of multigrain bread provides 95.4 calories, 4.82 grams of protein, 15.6 grams of carbs, and 2.66 grams of fiber.

How to Find a Healthier Bread

When you're out shopping, here are some tips to keep in mind for choosing a healthier bread option. Remember to compare options to find the ones with the most favorable nutritional profile.

  • Read the ingredient list:  Look for "whole wheat" or another whole grain listed first in the ingredients list. Avoid lists where refined grains such as "enriched wheat flour" come first.
  • Check the fiber content:  Aim for at least 2-3 grams of fiber per slice. 
  • Limit added sugars:  Steer clear of breads with added sugars , often listed as "sugar," "high fructose corn syrup," or " honey ."
  • Healthy extras: Extra ingredients such as seeds, nuts, and legumes ( beans , peas, lentils) can boost the nutritional profile and flavor.
  • Look in the refrigerated section of the grocery store: Breads with less preservatives and more healthy fats tends to go bad faster, so they should be stored in the fridge or freeze to prolong its shelf life.
  • Look for the Whole Grains Council seal: This symbol features a sheaf of grain on a golden-yellow background with a bold black border helps consumers identify products with a significant amount of whole grains. It also shows how many grams of whole grain ingredients are in a serving of the product. For example, a 100% stamp means that all the grains in the product are 100% whole grain. A 50% stamp means at least half of the grain ingredients in a product are whole grain. 

A Quick Review

This diverse list of the healthiest breads provides options for every preference, from whole-wheat classics to flavorful seed-studded loaves, and even caters to gluten-free needs. Follow our handy shopping list to navigate the bread aisle. Remember, healthy bread is just one piece of the puzzle—enjoy it alongside a balanced diet and mindful eating!

National Library of Medicine Medline Plus. Carbohydrates .

Whole Grains Council. Sprouted Whole Grains .

U.S. Department of Agriculture MyPlate. Grains .

Benincasa P, Falcinelli B, Lutts S, Stagnari F, Galieni A. Sprouted Grains: A Comprehensive Review . Nutrients. 2019;11(2):421. doi: 10.3390/nu11020421. 

National Library of Medicine Medline Plus. Amio acids .

U.S. Department of Agriculture FoodData Central. Whole grain sprouted grain bread .

Whole Grain Council. What's a Whole Grain? A Refined Grain?

U.S. Department of Agriculture FoodData Central. Bread, whole-wheat, commercially prepared .

Whole Grains Council. Whole Grains A to Z .

National Library of Medicine Medline Plus. Glycemic index and diabetes .

U.S. Department of Agriculture FoodData Central. Whole rye bread .

U.S. Department of Agriculture FoodData Central. Dave's Killer Bread, Powerseed, Organic Bread .

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Easy Ways to Boost Fiber in Your Daily Diet .

U.S. Department of Agriculture FoodData Central. Bread, gluten-free, whole grain, made with tapioca starch and brown rice flour .

Paudel D, Dhungana B, Caffe M, Krishnan P. A Review of Health-Beneficial Properties of Oats . Foods. 2021;10(11):2591. doi: 10.3390/foods10112591.

U.S. Department of Agriculture FoodData Central. Oat bread .

D'Amico V, Gänzle M, Call L, Zwirzitz B, Grausgruber H, D'Amico S, Brouns F. Does sourdough bread provide clinically relevant health benefits? Front Nutr. 2023;10:1230043. doi: 10.3389/fnut.2023.

U.S. Department of Agriculture FoodData Central. Bread, multigrain .

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