The Nutritional Value of Food

Food is any material consumed in order to provide nutrition to an organisms. Food is generally of animal, plant or fungi origin, and often contains nutrients, including vitamins, proteins, carbohydrates, or iron. The term food is generally used in reference to a single class of foods, which may be made of, or include meat, fish, poultry, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and legumes. A number of other classifications exist under the broad heading of food, including dairy products, processed food, etc. In most parts of the world, however, food is generally defined as any food that contains any of the above four ingredients.


Legumes and nuts, by definition, contain one or more ingredients that are not vegetable, while fruits and vegetables are considered to be food. Fruits, like all other food, contain constituents having biological structures that are potentially harmful to humans. Nuts are particularly rich in fat and cholesterol. As an example, the oil in peanuts is highly inflammatory, thus, making it very bad for treating eye inflammations.

Sweet foods, by definition, do not contain sugars. Some examples of sweet foods are jams, jellies, candy, syrups, and sauces. Although sugar itself is not a bad thing, sugar added to these foods usually increases their nutritional value. It is advised that you minimize your consumption of sugar. Other artificial sweeteners are sometimes called “bleached” or “artificial sweeteners”.

Cereals are categorized according to the carbohydrate content. They can either be simple (including white bread) or complex (containing whole grain cereals). Simple foods have low carbohydrates; on the other hand, complex foods have high carbohydrates. Cereals that are high in simple sugars are often referred to as “empty” or “low carb”. Foods containing added sugars can also be classified as simple or complex carb.

Artificial additives, on the other hand, are substances added to food to alter its physical, chemical, and/or biological properties. Examples of artificial additives include preservatives, coloring, flavoring, fiber, starch, and sugar. Although artificial additives improve the taste or texture of the food, they may also contain nutritional content that is less than or equal to the nutrient content of the food normally found in it. Usually artificial additives are used in moderation.

Color additives, as well as food colorings, are mostly used to enhance the flavor or appearance of foods. Food color additives can be natural (such as red 5) or synthetic. Natural colorants are better known as pigments obtained from plants, whereas synthetic colorants are man-made. Common food color additives include red 3, green 4, and yellow 6. Food color additives are usually consumed as seasoning or added flavor.