What Is A Healthy Diet? Essay

1569 words - 6 pages

David S. FloresHuman BiologyTerm Paper05/20/2008What is a Healthy Diet?What is a healthy diet? This is an important question that many Americans have been mulling over for years. The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines diet as: "a: food and drink regularly provided or consumed b: habitual nourishment c: the kind and amount of food prescribed for a person or animal for a special reason and d: a regimen of eating and drinking sparingly so as to reduce one's weight <going on a diet>". In recent years, our focus on healthy eating has become increasingly popular with many labels and guidelines being created and placed on what defines a healthy diet. These labels and guidelines have been established by both the U.S. government and by individuals. Many of these "healthy diet" suggestions fail to address the real issues involved in food consumption. The real issues I speak of are the scientific facts of digestion and how ones body utilizes the many different components of one's dietary intake.Any one diet is built around four main components. These components are proteins, carbohydrates, caloric intake, and fats and cholesterol. All of these substances are found in the foods we ingest and play vital roles in our bodies overall health.Proteins are large biological molecules that have extremely important roles in many activities of the human body. Proteins are made up of chains of amino acids. Amino acids are a substance which is either synthesized by one's living cells or are obtained through the foods in one's diet. There are twenty different types of amino acids which can be used to make thousands of different proteins. (Starr and McMillan) As functioning humans, we need a constant source of protein for many of the regenerating, maintenance, and other activities that constantly take place within our bodies. These activities include hormone production, immune system functioning, muscle and bone building, transporting substances within the body, and more. The text book, Human Biology, Seventh Edition, by Starr and McMillan, states that proteins "… help make possible activities such as walking, sleeping, and engaging in sex…" These molecules can be found in a variety of foods. These include dairy products, meats, and nuts.Carbohydrates are chains of sugar molecules that are extremely plentiful. Carbohydrates are primarily attained through food consumption. Carbohydrates can be classified as either simple or complex based on their compilation. Simple carbohydrates have one to two sugar molecules and complex have three or more. Both types are broken down in the body into one-sugar molecules. This basic science is stated in the book The Schwarzbein Principal, by Diana Schwarzbein, M.D. and Nancy Deville. In the book, the author states "…all Carbohydrates are sugars." (Schwarzbein) Our bodies use carbohydrates to build cell parts or as a major source of energy. Carbohydrates function in conjunction with the hormones insulin and...

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