This site was initially developed for Workshop Houston's Summer 2012 Program as a component of the course "The Science of Nutrition".

Nutrition 101: "Reading Food Labels"

The Science of Nutrition

Nutrition 101: Food Is Fuel
Lecture  3: Reading Food Labels

Biomedical Root Words to Know

Bio- life, living

Calori- heat

Hydro- water

Micro– small

Terms to Know

Macronutrients- include carbohydrates, proteins, and fats and are classified as such because they have caloric value and the body has a large daily need for them.

Micronutrients- vitamins and minerals are classified as micronutrients because the body’s daily requirements for these nutrients are small

Saturated Fat- a fatty acid in which all hydrogen binding sites are filled and thus no double bonds exist in the hydrocarbon chain; typically found in land animals and processed foods

Trans Fat- fatty acids formed during the hydrogenation process

Cholesterol- a waxy substance that is present in animal cells and tissues, is important in bodily processes, and may be related to the abnormal thickening and hardening of arteries when too much is present; produced in the liver     

Sodium- essential for maintaining blood pressure, nerve impulse transmission, and muscle contraction

Fiber- mostly indigestible material in food that stimulates the intestine to peristalsis —called also bulk, roughage

Vitamin A- a fat-soluble vitamin which supports vision, cell differentiation, tissue repair, immune function, bone formation, cancer and other chronic disease prevention

Vitamin C- also called ascorbic acid or ascorbate; has powerful antioxidant properties; critical in collagen formation, supports immune system, protects against iron-deficiency anemia, and protects against cardiovascular disease

Calcium- essential for blood clotting, nerve transmission, muscle contraction, disease prevention, weight management, bone and tooth formation

Iron- critical for transporting and utilizing oxygen through the bloodstream, supports the immune system, supports brain development, and assists in energy production

GMO- genetically modified organism; most commonly found as mass-produced crops like corn, soy, and wheat

Hydrogenation- a chemical process in which hydrogen atoms are added to unsaturated fatty acids to make them solid at room temperature; i.e. margarine

Irradiation- the application of radiation (as X rays or gamma rays) for therapeutic purposes or for sterilization (as of food)

Food Additives- chemicals used in food to preserve, add color, enhance flavor, provide texture, etc.

Organic- foods that are produced using methods that do not involve modern synthetic inputs such as synthetic pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Organic Foods also do not contain genetically modified organisms, and are not processed using irradiation, industrial solvents, or chemical food additives.

Parve- containing no meat or milk (or their derivatives) and thus eatable with both meat and dairy dishes according to the dietary laws of Judaism; "pareve margarine"; "parvebread"

Soy-a plant-based, complete protein; plant estrogen

Some Common Names for Soy: soybean, soybean oil, soybean flour, soya, soya bean, edamame, soy protein isolate, hydrogenated soybean oil, tempeh, tofu, soy milk, TSP (texturized soy protein)

Some Common Names for Pork:  lard, monosodium glutamate (MSG), animal fats, animal glyceride, hydrolyzed animal protein, enzymes, emulsifiers, monostearates, mono and di-glycerides, and gelatin

How Do I Know That My Food Is Kosher (Pork-Free)?

Is this a good choice?

Reading Assignment: The 76 Dangers of Sugar to Your Health, pages 1-3

Heather Hedrick Fink, L. A. (2009). Practical Applications in Sports Nutrition. Sudbury: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.

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