What is Nutrition?

We are involved in several daily activities. These actions need a significant quantity of energy. The food we eat provides this energy. Food is necessary for development, repair, and other living activities since it supplies energy. All of these are part of the living practice known as nutrition. Nutrition is the study of nutrients in food, how the body uses them, and the relationship between diet, health, and disease. Nutritionists employ concepts from molecular biology, biochemistry, and genetics to understand how nutrients affect the human body. Nutrition also looks at how people can use their diet to reduce their risk of disease, as well as what happens when they ingest too much or too little of a nutrient and how allergies emerge.

Types of nutrition

Nutrients are required for the functional integrity and growth of all living organisms. However, they differ in how they fulfill this desire. The mode of the requirement of nutrition differs from species to species.  Nutrition is classified into two types, they are:

Autotrophic nutrition

In the autotrophic mechanism, organisms synthesize food on their own using basic inorganic compounds such as water and carbon dioxide in the presence of light and chlorophyll. Photosynthesis is an example of a process that occurs in autotrophs. Plants, bacteria, and algae undergo an autotrophic mode of nutrition.

Heterotrophic nutrition

An organism can't prepare food on its own, and it is known as heterotrophic nutrition. Such organisms are dependent on others for food. The organisms which cannot produce food on their own and depend on other organisms are called heterotrophs. Fungi and all animals, including humans, are examples of heterotrophic organisms, The mode of the requirement of nutrition is called heterotrophic nutrition.

What are nutrients?

The building blocks of life are nutrients. Proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, etc., are all nutrients. If a person's diet is deficient in particular nutrients, they are more likely to develop certain health problems. The nutrients are divided into two groups:


Macronutrients are required by the body in large amounts from food.  A range of nutrients that provide energy is essential for the growth and maintenance of the body. All the macronutrients must be obtained through diet. Macronutrients include fats, proteins, and carbohydrates, these are measured in grams.


The normal functioning of the metabolism requires micronutrients. They also build and repair damaged tissues in order to govern the body's activities. Micronutrients include calcium, iron, vitamins, minerals, etc.

Important nutrients in food

Several nutrients cannot be synthesized by the body and have to be taken externally from food. These nutrients are important for the proper functioning of the body. They are:


These are the most important nutrient in the diet. These are the body's principal sources of energy. Carbohydrates include sugar, starch, and fiber. It is necessary for a balanced diet. Carbohydrates can be found in fruits, vegetables, and dairy products. Each day, a healthy adult individual should consume 225-325 gms of carbohydrates. Four calories are equal to one gram of carbohydrate.


Proteins are diverse organic compounds. They're primarily used for growth and maintenance. They can also be used as an energy source if your diet is low in carbohydrates and lipids. They're a type of polymer made up of amino acids.


Fats and oils are lipids. At room temperature, fats are solid; at room temperature, oils are liquid. Triglycerides (TGA), which are made up of glycerol and fatty acids, are the most common lipid present in food.


It is a mineral that is essential for the formation of healthy bones and teeth. It is also required in very little amounts by our neurons, muscles, and heart. Pudding, milk, canned fish, and fresh leafy green vegetables are all good sources of calcium.


It is critical for the health of our red blood cells. It is responsible for transporting oxygen from our lungs to our organs, muscles, and cells. Spinach, soybeans, and other green vegetables are good sources of nutrition.


Vitamins are organic compounds that are needed in small amounts for biological processes rather than energy production. They are not produced by the human body. They must be present in the diet for metabolism to work properly. Based on solubility, vitamins are divided into two categories, they are fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin A, D, E, and K and water-soluble vitamins such as vitamin B and C.

Function of nutrients

  • They help to build and repair body tissues.
  • Help in the synthesis of collagen.
  • Increase the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins.

What do you mean by diet?

"Diet refers to the food and drinks that an individual or a group consumes regularly. The diet may be controlled so that one fulfills the physical needs of an individual during a specific therapy for a disease or management of a specific health condition.

What is a balanced diet?

A balanced diet consists of the proper types and amounts of food and beverages to provide nutrition and energy for the maintenance of bodily tissues, cells, and organs, as well as regular growth and development. In a well-balanced diet, carbohydrates should account for 60-70 percent of total calories, protein for 10-12 percent, and fat for 20-25 percent.

Health benefits of a balanced diet

  • It satisfies the nutritional requirements. Nutritional deficits can be avoided by eating a varied, well-balanced diet.
  • Prevent and manage certain diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
  • Healthy eating increases our energy and improves body function and prevents weight gain.
  • Feel energetic while keeping your weight loss. A nutritious diet will make us better, give us more energy, and aid in stress reduction.

Disease caused by poor nutrition


Malnutrition is the result of not eating a balanced diet. Fatigue, dizziness, weight loss are the symptoms of malnutrition. Untreated malnutrition can cause physical and mental disability.

Effects of malnutrition

The effects of malnutrition are:

  • Obesity
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Starvation
  • Childhood protein-energy malnutrition

Context and Applications

This topic is significant for professional courses, especially for

  • Bachelors of Science of Food and Nutrition
  • Bachelors of Science in Dietetics
  • Masters of Science in Food Biotechnology
  • Masters of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics

Practice Problems

Question 1: The food component present in sugar is ________.

  1. Carbohydrate
  2. Protein
  3. Vitamins
  4. Fats

Answer: Option 1 is correct.

Explanation: These are the primary source of energy for the body. Sugar, starch, and fiber include carbohydrates. It is important for a healthy diet. One gram of carbohydrate is equal to 4 calories.

Question 2: The disease caused by deficiency of iron is _______.

  1. Dysentery
  2. Chickenpox
  3. Malaria
  4. Anemia

Answer: Option 4 is correct.

Explanation: Anemia is a disease caused by iron deficiency. Dizziness, fatigue, tiredness are the symptoms of this disease.

Question 3: The calorie contribution by 100 gm of pulses _____kcal.

  1. 140
  2. 340
  3. 150
  4. 260

Answer: Option 2 is correct.

Explanation: 100 gms of pulse gram supplies 340 calories, 22 gms of protein, 287 mg of calcium, 311 mg of phosphorus, and 7 mg of iron.

Question 4: A diet high in saturated fats can be linked to which of the following?

  1. Kidney failure
  2. Malnutrition
  3. Diabetics
  4. Cardiovascular disease

Answer: Option 4 is correct.

Explanation: Cardiovascular disease is a general term for a condition affecting the heart or blood vessels. A diet high in saturated fats that are linked to cardiovascular disease.

Question 5: Which of the following is not considered a nutrient?

  1. Vitamins
  2. Fats
  3. Fiber
  4. Protein

Answer: Option 3 is correct.

Explanation: Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that the body can't digest. Unlike most carbohydrates, fiber is incapable of being broken down into sugar molecules.

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