ESL 91
SPRING, 2004


Entela Kokoshi
ESL 91
Spring, 2004

Essay Topic: Explain why it is important to understand the basic principles of diet and nutrition. How does this understanding help us in our everyday lives?

A healthy diet and nutrition are important factors that help to keep our body in good health through our entire life. Every day we look at ourselves in the mirror and start asking the same questions. What is good for our health? How can we lose or gain weight? Food is very important to our life. Food provides nutrition for the human body’s health. To stay healthy we should understand the inseparable relationship between diet and nutrition.

Nutrients are food substances that the body uses as fuel .Nutrients are divided into five major groups.  There are proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. These are called macronutrients and are needed in a larger amount in our body. We also have minerals and vitamins called micronutrients .Micronutrients are needed in a smaller amount. These 5 groups are essential for our health. Water is also a basic nutrient that is important for our bodies. Carbohydrates have an average of 4.1 calories per gram. Proteins have 5.7 calories per gram. Fats have 9.3 calories per gram.

Proteins help to build and maintain our body structure. We find proteins in meat, fish, and beans, nuts and seeds (such as almonds, peanuts, walnuts, and pumpkin seeds).Proteins are used in our body to build body tissue and synthesize enzymes. Also they help body to produce hormones such as insulin. Insulin controls communication between organs and cells. We find protein in animal and plant sources. Proteins are made up of amino acids. Amino acids contain carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen and sulfur. Amino acids help during the exercise activity to build muscle strength and muscle hypertrophy (increase in muscle cell size). Our body has 20 amino acids.8 of these amino acids are called essential .These amino acids are: tryptophan, lysine, leucine, phenylalanine, methionine, threonine, isoleucine, valine.Our body can not use these essential amino acids if they are not present at the same time in the diet. There are complete proteins found in animal sources  which have all these 8 essential amino acids and incomplete protein which is found in plants  .These don’t have all the essential amino acids.

             Carbohydrates are the most important nutrients in our bodies. Carbohydrates give all the cells in our body the energy that they need. This energy is used to keep body active. Body breaks carbohydrates into two different types of fuel. Our bodies take carbohydrates and turn them into glucose for energy that we will use right away. Glucose is found in our blood and in our cells of our bodies. Glucose is processed in liver. But our cells can not use so much glucose at one time .So when our cells have left over glucose they save it in our liver and muscles. This is called glycogen.

There are 3 types of carbohydrates; starches, fiber, and sugar. We find starches in gains, legumes, and sugar in plant and fruits. Starches and fiber are essentially chains of sugar molecules .Some chains are straight; some branch wildly. Carbohydrates are divided into two forms; complex and simple. Complex carbohydrates (grains vegetables and fruits) have all the basic nutrients .They are more useful of our body. There are two groups of complex carbohydrates: high fiber and low fiber. High fiber, complex carbohydrates are not digestible by human beings, because we don’t have the enzyme to do the job. Simple carbohydrates such as food made from sugar (candy and soft drinks) are less useful because they are high in calories and low in nutrients. Do carbohydrates become body fat? We all ask ourselves this question. After the major part of carbohydrates are metabolized into glucose and are delivered to cells, the left part form glycogen or fatty acids. These become body fat.

Fats are an essential nutrient. Fats produce more than twice the energy of carbohydrates .Our body use fats when is short on carbohydrates. .Another function of fats is to protect body temperature. Fats are found in plant and animal foods. It is bad for our bodies to have too much fat. High fat intake can cause heart disease, heart attacks, and stroke. However, fats have their positive side too.  Fats supply vitamins. We need vitamins A, D and E for health skin. We should look first nutritional facts what to eat. This is important for our health.

According to an article ‘’ THE IMPORTANCE OF VITAMINS’’ vitamins are essential to the normal functioning of our bodies .They are necessary for our growth and general well-being. We can find natural vitamins in animal and plant food. Some of us may ask why we should use vitamins. First of all vitamins are necessary for our growth .We use vitamin A for example to help us fight a lot of infection essential for good skin, good blood, strong bones and teeth and hair. Vitamin A also protects against cancer. There are two basic types of   Vitamin A; retinol and beta-carotene. Retinol is found in animal products such as liver, cheese, salmon herring and Beta-Carotene is found in fruits and vegetables such as carrots, spring greens, spinach, and tomatoes. Also we have vitamin B1 found in brown rice, sunflower seeds. Vitamin B1 helps to increase mental ability, helps indigestion and is good for heart function. We have other vitamins such as b2, b3, b5, b6, b12, choline, inositol, folic acid / folate, biotine, vitamin c and e.

Minerals also are essential for our health. Most minerals are very important and they work together. All minerals are inorganic substances. We have so many minerals such as calcium, chloride, copper, iodine, zinc. Calcium is found in milk products, vegetables, broccoli and shrimps. Calcium and phosphorus are most common in the body. Calcium helps in strong bones and teeth muscle contraction and relaxation. Minerals regulate processes within the body. We may have negative effects in the body if the levels of minerals are overabundant. Blood pressure may be caused by the high sodium levels.

Water is also an essential nutrient. Our bodies are two-thirds water. Water is involved in all functions of the body. Water transports nutrients in and out cells. Also water is needed for the maintenance of the body temperature, is good for our body to use six- 8 once glasses of water every day.

To have good health we should eat foods that contain all nutrients; proteins, carbohydrates, minerals, fats and vitamins. They are important for energy (carbohydrates and fats). If we look what we are eating, we can be safe from diseases such as heart disease, blood pressure, cancer.  It is really important each of us to know the basics of nutrition. We all should know the diet and nutrition to live a normal, healthy life.

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Chen Qiu Xiang (Joanne)
ESL 91
Spring, 2001

Essay Topic: Explain why it is important to understand the basic principles of diet and nutrition. How does this understanding help us in our everyday lives?

Basic principles of nutrition

            Do you want to have a healthy body? Nutrition helps our bodies to change. Because people depend on energy from food for life, it is important to understand the basic principles of nutrition. Diet and nutrition are relatively important to our everyday lives. That’s the reason why people pay more attention to what they are eating and when to eat. This will affect the body in a either healthy or unhealthy way. If we understand how nutrition works, it actually helps people balance and control their diet. A consistently healthy diet helps us with improving our bodies in many ways.

            According to the Text, “The Basics of Nutrition” written by Dr. Kasper in the book, Interdisciplinary English, nutrition can be the process of eating and converting food into structural and functional body components. The body works best when you eat a healthy, balanced diet which is the basic principle of nutrition. There are categorized into five major groups of protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals. These groups are essential for maintaining normal growth and health, but each group has a different function in the body. Protein, carbohydrates and fats are called macronutrients, Vitamins and minerals are called micronutrients.

 According to the web site,, Protein is required for the growth and development of all animals including human beings. Body proteins serve many functions; they include building up body tissues and components of the immune system. Proteins are hydrolyzed by digestive enzymes to peptides and amino acids which are absorbed and transported by the blood to various body tissues. Although protein is necessary to the body, do you really think about where the protein is located? Many foods contain protein which is from vegetables to animal products or you can find protein in beans.  

According to the web site, carbohydrates provide a great part of the energy in human diets. Carbohydrates are normally separated into two different types which are complex and simple carbohydrates. These complex carbohydrates, such as whole wheat bread, potatoes and rice have a high nutrient density and good sources of dietary fiber, and should be a major ingredient in any person is diet. The simple carbohydrates are usually refined foods such as white sugar, white bread or cola. Simple carbohydrates contain little energy in comparison to the complex carbohydrates.

According to, fat is an essential nutrient.  Without fat the body will not work, like a bird without wings. Fats are also an essential part of a healthy diet and are important in normal brain development of a child. Fats are the most concentrated form of energy available to the body. The body can not produce fat. However, there are two main types of fat, saturated and unsaturated fats. Saturated fats lead to the production of cholesterol which leads to heart disease; unsaturated fats have very little effect on cholesterol and some vegetable oils such as olive and sunflower oil lower cholesterol.

According to the web site,, Vitamins and minerals are called micronutrients. There are many vitamins that our body needs; right here I want to show to one example which is vitamin A. People need a small amount of these elements in the body, but are also important. Vitamin A is fat soluble; it is an antioxidant and occurs in two forms and carotene. Vitamin A maintains the skin and mucous membranes. Vitamin A promotes growth, strong bones, healthy skin, hair, teeth and gums, If people lack vitamin A, they could have night blindness. Minerals are given to the necessities of vitamins for good health, but the role of minerals is as important. Even if one mineral is lacking the body can not function properly. Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body. There are many mineral in the body such as the one that I just mention and the rest are Chromium, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Magnesium and so on.

            Even though there are many foods in America, different types of people intake different types of nutrition. For example, men, women and teenagers intake different nutrition, Men should intake high calorie food because they consume more energy. Women should intake lower calorie food than men because they consume less energy. Teenagers should intake high calorie food and have more protein because they are in there growth time. Some people suffer from malnutrition which is caused by eating too little food. Some of them lack different types of nutrients. People, who live in New York, because they always rush around, don’t have enough time sat down to have a complete meal. In this situation do you think is it a possible to have a balanced meal?

            When I was a teenager, I ate a lot of fast food. I suffered from headaches. After reading this book, I became aware that good nutrition and diet is important for my body. I care more about my nutrition intake for good health. I believe that eating well and having good nutrition will make my body function at a normal level and decrease the probability of the health problems.

            Although how much you eat is important, it is just as important to know what to eat and what kind of the nutrition your meals have. I suggest most people don’t eat that much high calorie food; they should eat healthy meals with some fresh vegetables, fruits, breads, fish and drink some milk and 8 glasses of water. Believe it or not, even if you think you are eating well, a healthy body does not fully depend on foods; it also depends on exercise. This keeps the body feeling vigorous, and looking younger everyday. If everybody follows these steps, it will bring them a healthy body.

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Anna Shapiro
ESL 91
Spring, 2004

Essay Topic: Explain why it is important to understand the basic principles of diet and nutrition. How does this understanding help us in our everyday lives?

Diet and Nutrition 

According to the text “Basics of Nutrition”, providing ourselves and our family with good nutrition is critical to sustaining both physical and mental health. However, some of us think of diet as something humiliating, because diet connected to weight problems. To the contrary, by its Greek definition diet means the food eaten by an animal to maintain its state of health. Nutrition tells us what the food we eat is made up of. Food contains a number of nutrients that we need for our health. These nutrients are divided in two groups: macronutrients and micronutrients. Our food also contains water and non-digestible matter such as fiber. The basic principle of nutrition is to eat the proper amount of each nutrient every day and to drink 8 glasses of water.

Let’s get a little bit deeper and define these nutrients. The first group is macronutrients. Our diet should contain a large number of these. Macronutrients are carbohydrates, proteins and fats. These provide our body with the energy it needs. Food contains substances essential for normal metabolic function.Carbohydrates are the most important sources of energy for our body. We need energy to provide normal functioning of our organs. Our digestive system breaks down the carbohydrates into simple sugars and absorbs glucose into the bloodstream, as we can read from the text “Basics of Nutrition”. Glucose is the body’s main fuel. When glucose is combined with fatty acids it forms triglycerides, the fat compounds. Complex carbohydrates and simple carbohydrates are the forms of carbohydrates. In our everyday diet we need more complex carbohydrates, such as unrefined grains, vegetables, and fruit. Simple carbohydrates are less beneficial, because they are high in calories, but low in nutrients. The calories that we get from this kind of food are “empty”.

Protein is required for development and growth of our body. Protein is responsible for enzyme synthesis and manufacturing some hormones, such as insulin. As seen on the website //, protein is made up of 22 amino acids, 8 of which are considered essential. Essential means that the body cannot synthesize these amino acids and has to get them from the food we eat. Complete set of these amino acids can be found in a range from vegetables to animal sources. For instance, many beans contain equal or more protein than beef. All nuts and seeds have vast quantities of protein. In order to get enough protein, we need to combine foods from both vegetable and animal sources.

Fats produce twice as much energy as carbohydrates or proteins (9 kcal per gram). They are insoluble in water, but soluble in other organic solvents. Fats are broken down into fatty acids that form body’s own triglycerides. Fat is an essentialnutrient because it cannot be produced by our body. Fat is found in many plant and animal foods. The other function of fat is to supply our body with vitamins A, D, and E. They used to cushion and protect the heart, kidneys and liver. Foods like butter, margarine, corn and canola oil contain fat in mainly triglyceride form. High blood triglycerides may increase a chance of developing heart disease.

Micronutrients, which include vitamins and minerals (essential and non-essential), are very important for our healthy lifestyle. We must obtain vitamins from our diet or take them in form of dietary supplements. They should be taken only with some nutrition knowledge. Vitamins are necessary for growth, vitality and for normal functioning of our bodies. But many vitamins and minerals can be toxic if taken in excess.

Minerals are as important as vitamins. Even if one mineral is lacking the body cannot function properly. Minerals are divided in two groups- macro elements and trace elements. In combination with vitamins they form enzymes that are necessary for every physiological process. Minerals are found in plant and animal food as well as in drinking water. The website / gives us information that water makes up about 70 % of the body and is needed for every body’s function. It’s recommended that people drink 8 glasses of water every day. The water transports nutrients and is necessary for digestion and circulation.

Improper intake of nutrients causes malnutrition. When this disease is mild enough, it shows no symptoms, but in severe cases the damage is done is irreversible. Malnutrition is common among children who cannot be responsible for their diet.

How much we eat is very important. We need to try to maintain a ration of 1:2:3 in each of our meals (Fats:Proteins:Carbohydrates). The obesity level has grown drastically within the past decade. American people eat more cholesterol–containing food that is actually needed. Too much cholesterol in our body leads to heart disease and heart attacks. Also portion control for all people should be the biggest concern.

The understanding of basic principles of diet and nutrition plays a big role in our everyday live, because, after all, you are what you eat. Our health is in our hands. Relationship of diet to many chronic diseases helps us to understand how wholesome food is necessary for good health. Eating is a pleasure and important part of our lives. Our diet should be balanced enough to provide our body with all important nutrients. Balance means to choose healthier foods more often than foods that are less healthy.

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Page last updated on April 22, 2004