Nutrition Basics

Reading Guide

Discover the building blocks of good nutrition.

Think of an Example Look over the Key Concepts for this section. Think of an example of how or when you could use one of the skills from the Key Concepts. Thinking of how you might apply a skill can help motivate your learning by showing you why the skill is important.

Read to Learn

Key Concepts

• Summarize the six categories of nutrients.

• List the types and uses of food additives.

Main Idea

Foodservice employees must understand the basics of nutrition to help them create healthful menus or make healthful ordering suggestions to diners.

Content Vocabulary

• carbohydrate

• complete protein

• incomplete protein

» hydrogenation

• cholesterol

• lipoprotein

• cardiovascular

• saturated fat

• monounsaturated fat

• polyunsaturated fat

• minerals

• additive

Academic Vocabulary


k Graphic Organizer Go to this book's Online Learning Center at for a printable graphic organizer.

Graphic Organizer

As you read, use a fishbone like the one below to list the six categories of nutrients.

^ English Language Arts

NCTE 6 Apply knowledge of language structure and conventions to discuss texts.


NCTM Measurement

Understand measurable attributes of objects and the units, systems, and processes of measurement.


NSESB Develop an understanding of the structure and properties of matter.

NSES B Develop an understanding of chemical reactions.

NCTE National Council of Teachers of English NCTM National Council of Teachers of Mathematics

NSES National Science Education

Standards NCSS National Council for the Social Studies

The Nutrients

Imagine that your cafeteria does not offer enough healthful choices on its menu. How will you make suggestions? You must first understand the basics of nutrition. You can then make more healthful suggestions.

The human body needs food for growth and to maintain life. An important factor in meeting this need is a food's nutrient content. A nutrient is a chemical compound that helps the body to carry out its functions. There are more than 40 nutrients in food. They are grouped into six categories: carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, and water.


A carbohydrate is the nutrient that is the body's main source of energy. Simple carbohydrates, or sugars, include both natural sugars and refined sugars. Natural sugars are part of many foods like fruits, vegetables, and milk. Foods with natural sugars also have other impor tant nutrients. Refined sugars are processed. These sugars provide little more than calories.

Complex carbohydrates are starches, such as pasta, grains, cereals, and legumes. A legume is the seeds and pods from certain plants. Beans, lentils, and peas are examples of legumes. Foods that are high in complex carbohydrates contain many other nutrients your body needs, such as vitamins and minerals. Your body breaks down simple and complex carbohydrates into a usable energy source known as glucose. Glucose gives your body the energy it needs to work properly.


A unique form of a complex carbohydrate that does not provide energy is fiber. There are two types of fiber. Soluble fiber dissolves in water. Insoluble fiber absorbs water. Fiber helps the body's digestive system and waste elimination system function. Its main advantage is that it cannot be digested. As it passes through the body, fiber helps remove wastes.

Nutrient Variety

Create dishes with a wide variety of nutrients. Do you see sources of carbohydrates present in this salad?

Simple Sugars Refined sugars are simple carbohydrates. What is the difference between natural sugar and refined sugar?

Insoluble fiber is found in the outer coating of whole grains. Soluble fiber is found in foods such as oat bran and grains. Soluble fiber has been linked with the prevention of heart disease and some cancers.


Protein is a nutrient that builds, maintains, and repairs body tissues. It is essential for healthy muscles, skin, bones, eyes, and hair. It also plays an important role in fighting disease. If a person does not eat enough carbohydrate and fat, the body will use protein for energy.

Through digestion, protein is broken down into small units that can be combined in certain ways to produce complete proteins. These units are called amino acids. There are 22 amino acids. Some amino acids can be created by the body, while others cannot and must be gotten from food.

Animal foods, such as fish, meats, poultry, eggs, milk and milk products, provide all of the essential amino acids. A protein source that provides all of the amino acids is called a complete protein. Most plant foods lack some of the essential amino acids. A protein source that does not provide all of the amino acids is called an incomplete protein. However, by combining nuts or dry beans and grains, a person can eat all of the essential amino acids. This is especially important for those who do not eat animal products.

Complete Combinations These are some food combinations that provide complete proteins: • Rice and red beans j Refried beans and corn tortillas j Split pea soup and whole-wheat bread

Fat and cholesterol play an essential role, or function performed, in keeping the body healthy. Fat regulates bodily functions and helps carry some vitamins through the system. It is a source of stored energy and a cushion for body organs. Fat adds flavor to foods. Popular types of cooking fat are lard and shortening, which are 100% fat. Butter and margarine are about 80% fat. There is strong evidence that shows that a diet higher than 30% in fat and cholesterol can put you at risk for heart disease and cancer.

Many fats, such as those in margarine and shortening, have gone through a hydrogenation process. Hydrogenation (hl-ldra-j9-'na-shsn) is a process in which hydrogen is added under pressure to polyunsaturated fats, such as soybean oil. Hydrogenation changes liquid oil into a solid fat. An unsaturated fat that goes through the hydrogenation process becomes a trans fatty acid, or trans fat. Stick margarine and vegetable shortening are examples of hydrogenated fat.


Cholesterol (ks-'les-ts-irol) is a fatlike substance that is found in all body cells and in all animal foods, such as meat, egg yolks, and dairy products. The body makes its own cholesterol to produce cell membranes, hormones, vitamin D, and bile acids, which help digest fats. Some cholesterol circulates through the bloodstream in a chemical package called a lipoprotein (ilJ-p9-'pro-|ten). There are two types of lipoproteins. They are low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and high-density lipoproteins (HDL).

Too much LDL, or bad cholesterol, can contribute to cardiovascular (|kar-de-o-'vas-kys-lsr), or heart-related, problems. LDL can build up on artery walls. This buildup slows or prevents the flow of blood to the heart and other vital organs. Higher HDL, or good cholesterol, helps lower the amount of total cholesterol in the blood. Make wise food choices to help reduce the amount of harmful cholesterol in the blood.

Science à la Carte

What Is Fat?

Fat is a compound that contains a chain of carbon and hydrogen atoms. All carbon atoms have four bonds, or links, to other atoms. Some of the bonds are single bonds and some are double bonds. Single bonds are formed when two atoms share one pair of electrons. Double bonds are formed when hydrogen bonds are missing. Without hydrogen, carbon cannot form single bonds. To make up for a missing hydrogen atom, a carbon atom will form a double bond with another carbon atom.

Fats are characterized by their chemical structure. All saturated fats have single bonds. Unsaturated fats are classified by the number of double bonds that form. For example, mono-unsaturated fat is missing two hydrogen atoms, and so has one double bond. Polyunsaturated fat has more than one double bond.

Saturated Fat

(Single Bonding)

) H


) H





) H


(Double Bonding)








) H


(Double Bonding)


Gather a brown paper lunch bag, cooking oil, an apple, peanut butter, mayonnaise, and flour. Cut the lunch bag into five sections. Label each section with the name of one of the ingredients listed and place it on a table or countertop. Use your finger to rub a small amount of cooking oil on one of the bag sections. Repeat the process with each of the other ingredients listed. When you are finished, lift each section of paper up to a light source. Which foods caused the paper to become transparent?


Make a chart of each substance you test and record your observations. Which substances appear to contain fat? Which substances do not?

NSES B Develop an understanding of the structure and properties of matter.

Saturated Fats

A fat that tends to increase the amount of cholesterol in the blood and is solid at room temperature is called a saturated ('sa-ch9-,rat-9d) fat. Saturated fats can be found in lard, butter, whole-milk products, the visible fat on meat, and tropical (coconut, palm, and palm kernel) oils. Saturated fats have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease and other cardiovascular problems. Studies show that trans fatty acids may have the same, or even worse, effect on cholesterol as saturated fats.

[yfIguretiT Water-Soluble Vitamins

Daily Vitamins Water-soluble vitamins must be eaten every day. What water-soluble vitamins can be found in eggs?


Function in the Body

('thT-s-msn) (Vitamin B1)

• Helps use carbohydrates for energy

• Promotes normal appetites

Dry beans; pork and other meats; whole and fortified grains


(,rT-b9-'fla-v9n) (Vitamin B2)

• Keeps skin and eyes healthy

• Helps use carbohydrates, fats, and proteins for energy

Dairy products; meat, poultry, and fish; whole and fortified grains; eggs


('nT-s-ssn) (Vitamin B3)

• Keeps skin and nervous system healthy

• Enables normal digestion

• Helps use nutrients for energy

Meat, poultry, and fish; liver; shellfish; dry beans; nuts; whole and fortified grains

Vitamin B


• Assists in building red blood cells

• Helps use carbohydrates and proteins

• Keeps nervous system healthy

Meat, poultry, and fish; liver; shellfish; dry beans; potatoes; whole grains; some fruits and vegetables

Vitamin B12

• Assists in building red blood cells

• Keeps nervous system healthy

• Helps use carbohydrates, fats, and proteins

Eggs; meat, poultry, and fish; dairy products; shellfish; some fortified foods


(■ (Folic Acid)

• Helps prevent birth defects

• Assists in building red blood cells

• Helps use proteins

Dark green, leafy vegetables; dry beans; orange juice; seeds; whole and fortified grains; fruits

Vitamin C (Ascorbic

(s-'skor-bik) Acid)

• Strengthens immune system

• Keeps teeth, gums, blood vessels, and bones healthy

• Helps heal wounds and absorb iron

Citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruits; kiwi; cabbage; strawberries; broccoli; tomatoes; cantaloupes; green peppers; potatoes



• Helps use carbohydrates, fats, and proteins

Dark green, leafy vegetables; liver; egg yolks; whole grains


(,pan-t9-'the-nik) Acid

• Helps use carbohydrates, fats, and proteins for energy

• Promotes growth and development

• Helps produce cholesterol

Dry beans; meat, poultry, and fish; eggs; milk; whole grains; fruits and vegetables

Monounsaturated Fats

A monounsaturated (,ma-no-19n-'sa-ch9-1ra-

tsd) fat is usually liquid at room temperature. Olive oil and peanut oil are both examples of monounsaturated fat. Unsaturated fats are considered more healthful than saturated fats because they generally do not raise cholesterol levels. Monounsaturated fats are also present in foods such as avocados. Foods that contain monounsaturated fat can help lower the total cholesterol in your body as well as lower the risk of heart disease.

y figure 11.2 Fat-Soluble Vitamins

Stored Vitamins Fat-soluble vitamins are stored in fat cells in the body. What fat-soluble vitamins can be found in dark green, leafy vegetables?


Function in the Body

Food Sources

Vitamin A

• Keeps skin and hair healthy and strengthens immune system

• Protects eyes and enables night vision

Dark green, leafy vegetables such as spinach; yellow-orange fruits and vegetables such as carrots, pumpkin, and apricots; dairy products; liver; egg yolks

Vitamin D

• Helps body absorb and regulate calcium and phosphorus for strong bones, teeth, and muscles

Fortified milk; fatty fish such as salmon, liver, egg yolks; exposure to sunlight causes the body to produce vitamin D

Vitamin E

• Protects other nutrients

• Helps create muscles and red blood cells

Dark green, leafy vegetables such as spinach; vegetable oils; nuts; seeds; whole grains; wheat germ

Vitamin K

• Assists in blood clotting

Egg yolks; dark green, leafy vegetables such as spinach; liver; wheat germ and wheat bran

y FIGURE 11.3 Major Minerals

Mineral Power Major minerals help the body to build strong bones and teeth, and maintain blood pressure. What major minerals can be found in dairy products?


Function in the Body

Food Sources


• Builds and renews bones and teeth

• Needed for muscle contraction

• Assists in blood clotting

• Regulates nervous system and other processes

Dairy products; dry beans; fortified juices and cereals; dark green, leafy vegetables such as kale; turnips; canned sardines and salmon



• Builds and renews bones

• Helps nervous system and muscles work

Whole grains; dry beans; dark green, leafy vegetables; nuts; seeds; fish; shellfish



• Builds and renews bones and teeth

• Helps use nutrients for energy

Dairy products; nuts; dry beans; whole grains; meat, poultry, and fish; egg yolks

Fruits such as bananas, oranges, and cantaloupes; meat, poultry, and fish; dry beans; vegetables; dairy products


• Helps regulate blood pressure

Salt; foods that contain salt;

• Maintains fluid balance in body

soy sauce; MSG


ly figure 11.4 | Trace Minerals

Minor Minerals Trace minerals help the body with functions like using energy and healing wounds. What trace minerals can be found in fish and shellfish?


Function in the Body

Food Sources

Chloride ('klor-,Td)

• Works with sodium to balance fluids

• Helps nerve transmittal

Salt; foods that contain salt; soy sauce; meats; milk


• Helps cells use oxygen

• Helps the blood carry oxygen

Meat, fish; shellfish; dry beans; egg yolks; dried fruit; whole and fortified grains; dark green, leafy vegetables


• Helps use energy

Iodized salt; saltwater fish; shellfish; breads


• Assists in growth and maintenance of tissues

• Helps heal wounds and form blood

• Helps use carbohydrates, fats, and proteins

• Affects taste and smell

Whole grains; poultry, fish; shellfish products; legumes; dairy products; eggs


• Assists iron in building red blood cells

• Keeps nervous system, bones, and blood vessels healthy

Meat, fish; shellfish; whole grains; nuts; seeds; dry beans

Fluoride ('flor-Td)

• Strengthens teeth and prevents decay

Fish; shellfish; fluoride is often added to drinking water

Selenium (ss-'le-ne-sm)

• Helps heart function normally

Fish; shellfish; eggs; liver; whole grains

Polyunsaturated Fats

tsd) fat is also usually liquid at room temperature. Corn oil, sunflower oil, and soybean oil are all polyunsaturated fats. Nuts, seeds, and fish also contain some polyunsaturated fats.


A vitamin is a substance that helps regulate, or control, many bodily functions. Vitamins are grouped by how they function with a letter. For example, there are many different types of B vitamins. Vitamins also help other nutrients to do their jobs. Vitamins are divided into two types: water-soluble and fat-soluble. Both types are vital to have in a diet for normal growth and bodily function.

Water-Soluble Vitamins

Water-soluble vitamins dissolve in water. They must be eaten every day because the body loses them in waste fluids. Water-soluble vitamins include vitamin C and all the B vitamins. (See Figure 11.1 on page 283.)

Fat-Soluble Vitamins

Unlike water-soluble vitamins, fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the liver. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat-soluble vitamins. Fat-soluble vitamins can build up in the body if they are taken in very large quantities for a long period of time. This can cause disease or even death. (See Figure 11.2 on page 284.) These vitamins are sometimes added to food. Milk is fortified with vitamin D. Vitamin D helps the body absorb the calcium already in the milk.

y FIGURE 11.5 Food Additives

Improve Food Additives help to improve a food's shelf life, flavor, texture, or appearance. Why might you choose to use a fat or sugar substitute?

Type of Additive

: Name of Additive

: Foods with Additive

Thickeners and Stabilizers

• Modified food starches

• Cornstarch

• Flour

• Fruit fillings; pie fillings; puddings

• Sauces; instant foods

• Sauces

• Pectin

• Baked desserts; fillings

• Sherbets; fruit jellies, preserves, jams; glazes


• Iron, vitamin C, thiamin, Riboflavin

• Enriched foods, such as breads, cereals, flour, juices, and flavored beverages

Coloring Agents

• Citrus Red No. 2, Red No. 3, Green No. 3, Yellow No. 6

• Soft drinks; baked items; cereals; candy

Flavoring Agents

• Vanilla, almond, lemon


• Baked items; ice cream; candy

• Asian foods; soups

Fat Substitutes

• Simplesse (sim-'ples)

• Snack foods, such as potato chips

• Frozen desserts, such as ice cream; sour cream; margarine; salad dressings

Sugar Substitutes

• Sucralose ('su-kra-Jos)

• All-purpose sweetener used in all foods and beverages

• Used as a table-top sweetener and in a variety of foods and beverages

• Gelatin; pudding; candy; chewing gum; as a table-top sweetener

• Dairy products; carbonated beverages; jams and jellies; chewing gum; syrup; as a table-top sweetener


Minerals are an essential part of your bones and teeth. They also regulate body processes, such as nerve function. Minerals are needed in very small quantities. Not having enough of a particular mineral in a diet is called a mineral deficiency.

Minerals are divided into two categories: major and trace. The body needs more of the major minerals than it does of the trace minerals. However, both types are equally important for good health. Figure 11.3 on page 284 lists the major minerals, their functions, and sources. Figure 11.4 on page 285 lists the trace minerals.


Water is essential to sustain life. Water makes up about 60% of an adult's body weight. It cleans toxins from the body, cushions joints, and increases the body's ability to transport nutrients. Healthy adults need to drink 64 to 80 ounces of water each day. This water can come from any substance that is mostly water, such as juice, gelatin, soup, milk, and ice. However, water-based beverages that contain caffeine cause the body to eliminate water.

\ Identify How many different nutrients can be found in food?

Food Additives

An additive is a substance added to a food to improve it in some way. Additives are used to:

• Allow food products to maintain their consistency.

• Improve the nutritional value of food products.

• Keep food products from spoiling, or losing their quality, too quickly.

• Provide rising for baked goods, or to control the acidity or alkalinity of foods.

• Improve the flavor or color of food products.

Direct food additives are added to a food product specifically to enhance or change it. Indirect food additives become part of a food product because of the way it is processed.

Some additives, such as vinegar and salt, have been used for centuries. Some additives are natural, while others are chemically produced. See Figure 11.5 for additives that are commonly used in the foodservice industry.

The FDA is responsible for regulating additives that are put into foods to make sure that they are safe to eat. In some cases, the approval of additives may take many years. Food manufacturers must test an additive for its effectiveness, how it is measured, and its overall safety. The test results are submitted to the FDA for approval. Additives are evaluated regularly by the FDA. No additive has permanent FDA approval.

"" " 11' J ' C ^^

have permanent FDA approval?

SECTION 11.1 ^.izzvmjsTil Review Key Concepts

1. Compare water-soluble vitamins and fat-soluble vitamins.

2. List the products in which coloring agents may be found.

Practice Culinary Academics l^j Science

3. Procedure Iodine dissolved in a solution of potassium iodide can be used to test for starch. Under your teacher's supervision, use a dropper to add iodine solution to a slice of potato, a slice of apple, and a piece of cheese.

Analysis Make note of any color changes in the food. Write a paragraph theorizing what the color change means.

NSES B Develop an understanding of chemical reactions.

^^ English Language Arts

4. Create a poster to illustrate nutrient functions, and sources of nutrients. Be creative when you choose how to present your information. Use photos, illustrations, and diagrams to help show important information.

^^ Mathematics

5. Acan of cola has41 grams of sugar in each

12-ounce can. If you drink nine cans over the span of a week, how many pounds of sugar have you consumed during that week from the soda?

Converting Metric Weights Metric weights are measured in grams. There are approximately 454 grams in one pound. To convert grams to pounds, divide the grams amount by 454. To convert pounds to grams, multiply the pounds amount by 454.

Starting Hint Determine how many total grams of sugar you will consume by multiplying the number of cans times the sugar grams per can. Then, convert grams to pounds by dividing the total grams by 454.

NCTM Measurement Understand measurable attributes of objects and the units, systems, and processes of measurement.

fi3l Check your answers at this book's Online Learning Center at

NCTE 6 Apply knowledge of language structure and conventions to discuss texts.


Continue reading here: Meal Planning Guidelines

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