Online sample paper on Food and Nutrition

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The science of nutrition is concerned with various useful ingredients or nutrients of which

foods are composed. It is concerned with the amounts of these nutrients which are required for

the proper growth and functioning of the body, the way in which each one is useful to the body,

and what happens when there is too little or too much of one or other component in a person's

diet. Nutrition is a quantitative science; that is to say, it is a study of the amount of each nutrient

required by an individual. It is not sufficient to know that protein, for example is a necessary

constituent of the diet; we must know the amount required as well, for sometimes it is as

harmful to eat too much of a nutrient as too little. Nutritional science therefore deals both with

the amounts of each nutrient necessary for the proper functioning of the body and also with the

amounts contributed by different kinds of food.

Although the function and the required amount of each nutrient must be taken into account, it

is also important to recognize that there may be quite wide variations between the quantities

needed by different individuals. The human species is uniform to some degree and the

nutritional requirements of men or women, old people or children, can be assessed within

certain limits of precision. Nevertheless, general statements concerning needs-for example, that

'children require a daily pint of milk or that a glass of orange juice each day is necessary for

health' –are not expressions of scientific truth, even if the contents of protein and calcium in the

milk and vitamin C in t6he orange juice are expressed and interpreted in scientific terms.

Two further points must also be remembered in studing nutrition. The first is that all science is

merely the minimising of doubt. Our knowledge of nutrition has justified itself by the degree of

command which has enabled us to achieve over events by which, indeed, the correctness of our

scientific knowledge has been verified. Understanding of the chemical structure of vitamin D,

first elucidated in 1932, soon led to the prevention of rickets, the bone disease of children.

Nevertheless, our understanding of the chemistry of vitamin D – active substances in the diet and

as they occur in the body is still developing. Our nutritional knowledge is now considerable but,

as always in science, there is certainly more to know.

Finally, it must always be remembered that success in nutrition can only be recognized in

health, and the concept of health is a complicated one. Nutrition is in some respects a branch of

chemical science or, more exactly, of biochemistry – that is, the chemistry of life; but it is more

than this. Children cannot grow properly unless they are given the right food to eat; this is a part

of the science of nutrition. But there is now good scientific evidence to show that children and

young animals grow better if they are given attention and love as well as vitamins and proteins.

An expert committee of the World Health Organizasion has defined health, towards which good

nutrition is intended to contribute, as 'complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not

the mere absence of ill-health and infirmity'. This definition comprises a great deal. Its lesson to

the students of nutrition is, however, that although nutritional science is an important and

rewarding area of study, the nutritionist must always remember that man does not live by bread

alone.