A brief glossary of nutrition and dietetics

In my quest to promote a healthy and balanced life, knowledge is the first step towards well-being. This is why I am providing you with this little glossary of Nutrition and Dietetics, a non-exhaustive guide to key terms and concepts related to food, nutrition and health.

My goal is to provide you with an accessible resource, whether you are new to nutrition or already familiar with some of these terms. Whether you’re looking for information on essential nutrients, popular diets or even more specific concepts such as the glycemic index or antioxidants, you’ll find it all right here with, sometimes, a few dedicated articles!

I hope this glossary inspires you to explore the exciting world of nutrition and health.

1. Calories: Calories are the unit of measurement of the energy contained in the foods we consume. They provide our body with the energy necessary to carry out its vital functions and our daily activities.

2. Nutrients: Nutrients are the essential components of foods that nourish our bodies. They are divided into macronutrients (proteins, lipids, carbohydrates) needed in large quantities and in micronutrients (vitamins, minerals) needed in small quantities.

3. Proteins: Proteins are made up of essential amino acids which play a crucial role in building and repairing body tissues. They are essential for maintaining a strong immune system and optimal muscle function.

4. Lipids: Lipids, also called fats, are a concentrated source of energy. They play an important role in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and are essential for brain health, hormonal regulation and protection of internal organs.

5. Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for our body. They break down into simple sugars (glucose, fructose) and complex sugars (starch) which our body breaks down to provide energy.

6. Dietary fiber: Fibers are complex carbohydrates that our body cannot digest. They play a key role in regulating intestinal transit, preventing constipation and reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

7. Vitamins: Vitamins are essential substances to many chemical reactions in the body. They are necessary for the proper functioning of the immune system, growth, metabolism and the health of bones, skin and hair.

8. Minerals: Minerals are chemical elements essential for various physiological processes, such as bone formation, regulation of fluid balance, and conduction of nerve impulses.

9. Antioxidants: Antioxidants are compounds that help protect the body’s cells from damage caused by free radicals, thereby reducing the risk of certain chronic diseases.

10. Glycemic index (GI): The glycemic index measures the effect of a food containing carbohydrates on glycaemia (blood sugar level). Foods with a low glycemic index release glucose more slowly, which may be beneficial for diabetes management and satiety.

11. Balanced Nutrition: A balanced nutrition involves consuming a variety of foods that provide all the necessary nutrients in appropriate amounts to maintain good health and avoid nutritional deficiencies.

12. Food allergen: A food allergen is a substance present in certain foods that triggers an allergic reaction in some people.

13. Food intolerance: L’Food intolerance occurs when the body has difficulty digesting certain foods, often due to a lack of specific digestive enzymes.

14. Vegetarian Diet: A vegetarian diet excludes the consumption of meat, fish and sometimes other products of animal origin. Vegetarians can consume dairy products and eggs according to their preference.

15. Vegan Diet: A vegan diet excludes all animal products, including meat, fish, dairy, eggs and honey.

16. Mediterranean diet: THE Mediterranean diet is a dietary model inspired by the eating habits of Mediterranean countries, rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, olive oil, fish and nuts. It is associated with many health benefits, including reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

17. Organic Foods: THE organic foods are produced without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers or genetically modified organisms (GMO). They are grown in compliance with environmental standards and animal welfare.

19. Trace elements: Trace elements are essential minerals required in very small quantities for the proper functioning of various enzymatic reactions and metabolic processes in the body.

20. Essential fatty acids: THE essential fatty acids, such as omega-3 and omega-6, are fats that our body needs but cannot produce on its own. They must be provided through food.

21. Body mass index (BMI): Body mass index is an indicator common used to assess whether a person is at a healthy weight based on their height. It is calculated by dividing the weight in kilograms by the square of the height in meters (BMI = weight / height^2).

22. Emotional eating: Emotional eating refers to eating food in response to emotions rather than hunger physical. It may be related to stress, boredom, sadness, or other feelings.

23. Basic metabolism: Basic metabolism represents the minimum energy needed to maintain the body’s vital functions at rest, such as breathing, blood circulation and temperature regulation.

24. Blood sugar: Blood sugar is the level of sugar present in the blood. A balanced blood sugar level is important for maintaining stable energy and preventing health problems such as diabetes.

25. Nutraceuticals: Nutraceuticals are foods or food compounds with health-promoting properties, going beyond their simple nutritional value. They can be used for preventive or therapeutic purposes.

26. Food supplements: Food supplements are products that contain vitamins, minerals, amino acids, herbs or other substances, intended to supplement the regular diet and compensate for possible nutritional deficiencies.

27. Insulin response: There insulin response refers to the amount of insulin secreted by the body in response to carbohydrate consumption. A balanced insulin response is important for maintaining a healthy and stable metabolism.