Nutrition is the branch of science, which deals with all factors of food composition and the way proper nourishment can be brought about. The average nutritional requirements of different groups of people are already fixed. These groups are classified on the basis of gender, age, weight, height, rate of growth and the degree of activity an individual is involved in. This is one of the primary nutrition facts that should be known before an individual opts for a sudden diet change in order to supplement their nourishment.
When one talks of nutrition facts, it is pertinent to know that good nutrition needs a suitable diet that is able to support the daily activities and growth of the individual who is consuming it. The diet should also ensure there is no insufficiency of any nutrient or else the condition of ‘under-nutrition’ will develop.
It has been seen by doctors that most health problems can be alleviated or prevented by having a healthy diet. If one is negligent of the nutrition facts, he/ she may end up consuming a poor diet that lacks essential nutrients required for their healthy growth. It is to be understood that the effects of thriving on a poor diet can have injurious effects on one’s health, leading to various deficiency diseases like beriberi, scurvy and kwashiorkor along with life threatening ailments like metabolic syndrome and obesity.
A diet poor in nutrients coupled with sedentary lifestyle habits is known to be among the risk factors for various chronic diseases and even death. Some common diseases that one gets susceptible to, owing to such poor eating and lifestyle habits include heart problems, strokes, diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, osteoporosis, cancer (some forms) and severe back problems. As per various researches conducted worldwide, these diseases account for almost two thirds of the deaths in the world.
If one is unable to understand even the basic nutrition facts and needs advice pertaining to healthy diets and optimum nutrition, then dieticians and clinical nutritionists should be consulted. Dieticians are those health professionals who hold specialisation in the subject of human nutrition along with their meal planning, preparation and economics. They are professionals who are well trained in providing safe and evidence-based dietary advices to individuals who seek their guidance. Clinical nutritionists are also another kind of health professionals, but they focus specifically on the role nutrition plays in case of chronic ailments. It is their responsibility to figure out what can be the possible remediation or prevention by addressing nutritional deficiencies before they resort to the option of drugs. Both dieticians and clinical nutritionists are people who are well aware of all the nutrition facts and use them diligently in different cases for effective outcomes.
There are seven main classes of nutrients— fats, minerals, vitamins, proteins, carbohydrates, fibre and water. They are also called the macronutrients as they are required by the body in large quantities. Similarly, phyto-chemicals and antioxidants are called the micronutrients as they are required in smaller quantities in the human body. While macronutrients are responsible for growth, wear and tear of proteins, proper functioning of all organ systems; micronutrients are known to influence the functioning of various body systems and facilitating the sense of well being. It is to be understood that while both macronutrients and micronutrients are required in the body, they have to be consumed optimally. Nutrition facts say that under or over intake of any of the nutrients may also lead to severe repercussions and ailments. For instance, water and salt are both crucial for healthy living, but if they are consumed in excess, they cause severe illness and even death in some cases.
Another fact that one needs to know is that nutritional requirements of the body can never be fulfilled by any single food group. It is important to nourish one’s body with various vital ingredients present in different food groups. That is why the nutrition facts state that one must consume a range of healthy foods in order to derive maximum nutrition. There are 5 basic food groups—fruits, vegetables, pulses and cereals, dairy products and fish, poultry and the meat products. So, a healthy diet that comprises of all the 5 food groups is essential for an individual to keep healthy. A diet having at least one item from all the food groups ensures that no essential nutrient is left out and thus is apt for healthy living. Such a diet is also called as a balanced diet. However, the serving size of this diet differs from individual to individual depending on their age, gender, body size and activity levels. If one has a balanced diet, they can be assured of consuming a healthy meal that supplies them with the right amount of recommended nutrient value from each food group besides adding variety to their plate.
As per nutrition facts, if one includes healthy snacks in diet charts, he/ she can snack without worrying about any weight gain. If they already have excess weight that they intend to lose, it is advised that they concentrate more on healthy dietary habits and exercising than opting for crash diets. As per dieticians, this allows shedding weight at a very steady pace and helps them to stick to their diet plans as well. Once the goal of losing excess weight is lost, individuals are advised to go for follow-up diet charts in order to ensure their weight loss remains permanent.
It is crucial for everybody to have at least the fundamental nutrition facts and food science in order to be able to make healthier choices when it comes to food. Basic knowledge about different food items’ nutrient content, storage quality, antioxidant strength, processing methods used and their consumption is very important. If the food item is high on artificial colourants, preservatives and additives that have been used to enhance its flavour, appearance or shelf life, they should be avoided as much as possible. One must take every step possible to have healthy eating habits besides ensuring that they are having all nutrients in the right quantity and proportions.