One measurement of food quality is the amount of it contains relative to the amount of it provides. High-quality foods are , meaning they contain significant amounts of one or more essential nutrients relative to the amount of calories they provide. Nutrient-dense foods are the opposite of “empty-calorie” foods such as carbonated sugary soft drinks, which provide many calories and very little, if any, other nutrients. Food quality is additionally associated with its taste, texture, appearance, microbial content, and how much consumers like it.
Food: A Better Source of Nutrients
It is better to get all your from the foods you eat as opposed to from supplements. Supplements contain only what is listed on the label, but foods contain many more macronutrients, micronutrients, and other chemicals, like antioxidants, that benefit health. While vitamins, multivitamins, and supplements are a $20 billion industry in the United States, and more than 50 percent of Americans purchase and use them daily, there is no consistent evidence that they are better than food in promoting health and preventing disease.
Make a list of some of your favorite foods and visit the “What’s In the Foods You Eat?” search tool provided by the USDA. What are some of the nutrients found in your favorite foods?
Technology Note: The second edition of the Human Nutrition Open Educational Resource (OER) textbook features interactive learning activities. These activities are available in the web-based textbook and not available in the downloadable versions (EPUB, Digital PDF, Print_PDF, or Open Document).
Learning activities may be used across various mobile devices, however, for the best user experience it is strongly recommended that users complete these activities using a desktop or laptop computer and in Google Chrome.
A substance in food that can provide energy, contribute to body structure, and/or regulate body processes.
The capacity of a body or physical system for doing work. There are two fundamental forms: kinetic energy and potential energy.
Food that is high in nutrients but relatively low in calories
Essential nutrients that are needed by the body in small amounts. These include vitamins and minerals.