What does Nutrition mean to us?
It is a science dealing with DAM of food i.e. Digestion, Absorption, and Metabolism of Food. DAM will lead to the synthesis of essential nutrients for Maintenance, growth, and Reproduction.
In short, we can also say that Nutrition deals with intake of food, liberation of energy and elimination of wastes. The essential nutrients obtained from nutrients may be Carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals, water, etc.
If an individual has a better DAM of food, he achieves a state of health, which enables him to play a responsible role in society.
- Digestion– It is the process of breaking down and mixing the chewed food materials into a form that can be absorbed and assimilated
- Absorption– After the food is broken down in the stomach, the important nutrients are absorbed into the blood via the inner lining present in the stomach
- Metabolism– It is a process involving Catabolism and Anabolism. Catabolism involves breaking complex molecules into simpler molecules with the release of energy (like breaking starch molecules into simple glucose units).
Anabolism involves the synthesis of more complex substances from simpler substances (building of tissues).
Good health not only means that individual is free from any disease, but the individual is said to be in good health if he is in a state of complete Physical, Social and Mental well-being.
- Physical well-being– Under this state, an individual has the ability to do physical activities and perform his social roles and responsibilities without any problem related to health like body pain, etc.
- Social well-being– Since humans are social creatures, they communicate with each other in order to share their views. Isolation may lead to psychological problems in humans.
- Mental well-being– An individual’s mental well-being is dependent on how he handles emotions around him, how he thinks etc.
For example- a person is determined and thrives in his current situation to excel in his life despite multiple personal adversities in his surroundings. This shows stability in his mental health.
Every human body desires Optimum Nutrition to function at its best. This is the highest nutritional level that is attained. If any human body is getting Optimum Nutrition, it means that the body is getting all the essential nutrients through its diet and it is also storing extra nutrients to bear any unprecedented stresses in life.
Optimum Nutrition is attained through a Balanced Diet.
A Balanced diet contains different types of foods from all food groups in adequate proportions so that all the essential nutritional needs of a body are met and a small allowance is also stored as a Margin of Safety.
If a proper Balanced diet is not followed, then there will be either deficiency or excess or imbalance of nutrients, thus leading to the condition of Malnutrition.
Dietetics is the study of diets that are used in DISEASE condition and also in the prevention of diseases and maintenance of health. It is also a branch of Nutrition.
For example- If an individual is suffering from Diabetes, then Dietetics will deal with the study of recommended diet that should be given to him to control diabetes.
So, Dietetics will recommend the diabetes patient to –
- avoid simple sugars (as they rapidly increase the glucose level in BLOOD)
- limit cholesterol intake to prevent additional prone heart disease etc.
Thus, Dietetics deals with above similar types of recommendations and formulations for the patients. Dietetics is also called Diet therapy.
In dietetics, the diet is planned by keeping in mind its closeness with a normal diet as much as possible, so that the patient undergoes a feeling similar to that of the normal fed people. He thinks that “I am eating similar to what other normal people are eating, so I am not in a serious disease condition and I will recover easily.”
However, there are many patients who are fed through pipes inserted into their body either through nasal way or through their gastrointestinal pathway, so they need special diets different from the normal diet.
For example, a liquid diet is fed through nasal pathway, if they are unable to chew the solid food.
Sometimes, if the patient feels some irritation in his nasal pathway feeding, then intravenous feeding (through veins) is performed.
Scope of Nutrition and Dietetics-
In the current scenario, everyone should know the basics of Nutrition and Dietetics, as its knowledge enables us to judge food according to our requirement and priority, and we can control the quantity of the food that we eat as per our body requirement.
Diabetes, Heart diseases and Cancer are attacking the human population at a rate like never before. Their cure is currently limited, so one option that seems to be left in front of us is to follow- “Prevention is better than cure”.
So, if we consume according to the diet recommended under Nutrition and Dietetics study, then surely there will be proper control over the diseases.
However, in certain genetic diseases, proper diet alone cannot control or reduce its onset. For example, if parents had diabetes, then it is likely that their offspring may also develop diabetes.
If an individual is trained and is an expert in the field of Nutrition and Dietetics, then he can use his knowledge in-
- Research activities
- Planning Hospital Dietetics
- Public health Nutrition
Advancements in Food Technology is at its peak due to rapid establishments in food industries globally. New food products are being launched at an unprecedented rate like Convenience foods, fast foods, etc.
The must requirement of the hour is to focus on Hygiene and Nutrition. Under the Federal regulations, trained authority or individuals can provide training to catering personnel either from hotels, restaurants, canteens, hostels, etc. as they hold a major part in providing food to society.
If people have a basic understanding of Nutrition and Dietetics, then they can utilize the knowledge to allow a healthy and responsible society to thrive upon its goals in future.