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What Is Food?


What Is Food?

The word food has various meanings according to culture and class. In ancient times food referred to the foods that were eaten regularly, in a particular season, by members of a society. For example, it referred to the cereals baked during ploughing, sowed in the field and then eaten with bread. In modern times food refers to all food that is consumed by people for their well-being, including meals, snacks, desserts, breads and sauces. Some cultures also reserve the term food for certain preparations of food, like cooking, eating, curing, boiling, eating and others.

Food is any material eaten to provide nutrition to an organism. Food is generally of animal, plant or fungi origin, and includes important nutrients, including proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals or enzymes. Modern humans eat about 70% of their calories from carbohydrates, primarily because carbohydrates provide energy to the body and are available in abundance in most foods. However, the body does require some carbohydrates to meet energy requirements, particularly if the protein is not available through meat and milk products.

Food provides many nutrients to an individual through its vitamins, minerals, hormones, enzymes, carbohydrates, fats and other components. Vitamins are fat-soluble vitamins that are essential to the body for maintaining health. Some vitamins, especially A, D, E and K, are water-soluble, requiring the person to drink them to obtain sufficient amounts. Other nutrients such as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iodine, thiamine, riboflavin and potassium are fat-soluble and are only available in foods.

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