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Lesson Note

Subject: Food And Nutrition

Topic: Introduction To Food And Nutrition
Lesson Objectives: By the end of the lesson, the Learners should be able to;
1. Define food, nutrients and nutrition;
2. Give reasons for studying food and nutrition;
3. Explain the interdisciplinary nature of foods and nutrition;
4. Mention the careers in food and nutrition.

Lesson Discussion
Food is one of the basic needs and sustainance of man’s existence. The search for food has been the major preoccupation of mankind right from the early days of man. Therefore, food is a necessity in the day-to-day life of man.

Food: Food can be defined as any edible substance which when consumed, digested, and absorbed by the body, gives energy, promotes the growth and repair of tissues and regulates all the body processes.
Nutrients: These are chemical substances present in foods that enable them perform certain functions as stated in food definition above.
Nutrition: This is defined as the study of the various food nutrients in relations to their effect upon the human health.
We can therefore also say that nutrition is the science of food and it’s relation to health.

Why Do We Study Food And Nutrition In School?

Food play important role in our lives. Everybody has the ambition of becoming something in life. This can only come true if we are healthy. for instance it is only when a pupil or student is well fed that he can listen attentively and understand what he or she is being taught by the teacher. A hungry person will not be responsive to any form of training. There is a relationship between good food and the intellectual development of any child. Also, for a nation to progress, how people must be well fed. This therefore mean that the nutrients must be consumed in the proper proportion and amount. the proportion of the nutrient consumed is very important because it has been found that consumption of too much as well as inadequacy of the nutrients can have deleterious effects on the body. Hence the need to study foods and nutrition in our schools.

Apart from its effect on the intellectual development of man, good nutrition also plays an important role in the maintenance of good health. People who are well fed have more resistance to diseases than those who are poorly nourished. In a country where people are well-fed, there will be less incidence of sickness and therefore less amount will be expended on health. Many diseases prevalent in most developing countries, are caused by poor nutrition. the need for a thorough knowledge in foods and nutrition cannot therefore be overemphasized.

The following are reasons why we study food and nutrition in schools.

Provides us with knowledge on nutritional requirements for categories of people. Different people have different physiological development in life require specific nutrients in specific quantities. For instance, the nutritional requirements of infants is different from that of an adult why that of a pregnant woman is different from that of a non-pregnant woman.

Provides us with knowledge on techniques to conserve nutrients in food: Most of our foods are usually cooked or processed in one way or the other before consumption. Since most of the nutrients are chemical in nature, they are subject to destruction during the different food processing techniques. Therefore, to get optimum conservation of the nutrients in our food, appropriate methods of processing must be used. this area also comes under the science of food and nutrition, thus further justifying the need for the study of food and nutrition in schools.

Provides us with Many Career Opportunities: By studying food and nutrition, so many career opportunities are open to the nutritionists. For instance, nutritionists can be employed in the teaching profession. one of the major causes of malnutrition in underdeveloped and developing countries of the world is ignorance about the science of nutrition. the only competent persons to impart this knowledge as a nutritionist. such persons can be employed in schools where the subject is taught under the umbrella of Home Economics in schools of nursing and health technology, and the medical schools.
Nutrition it can also be employed in the hospitals as dietitians. here they will be responsible for the nutritional counseling of the patients who need diet therapy. There are various nutritional diseases prevalent that needs to be investigated.this is an aspect of referred to as clinical nutrition and nutrition is can also be employed in such research areas.

Food and Nutrition acquaints us with knowledge on healthy feeding and living: In the rural areas, service of the nutritionists are also required. Here they assist in enlightening the people about various aspects of good nutrition and hence the promotion of good health. Search people working in this capacity are called community nutritionists.
Nutritionists can also be employed as matron in schools where they will be responsible for the planning of menus for the students.
In higher institutions nutrition is can be involved in food research and development. through these they will help in the discovery of new methods of utilising our various foodstuffs there by broadening the taste of the people.

The study of food and nutrition is a gate way to becoming self-employed: By undergoing training in food and nutrition, nutritionist can also be involved in setting up catering services and be self-employed. This is an area where many nutrition is are found today.
Food and Nutrition teaches  various ways to preserve and process our foods: The problem of food shortage cannot be solved without attention to adequate good storage and processing. This area is come under food science, technology and food engineering.

Interdisciplinary nature of foods and nutrition

Food and nutrition is not just an independent subject rather it is an area that cut across many other disciplines and also has a vital role to play in the continued existence of the human race. For you to be a successful nutritionist, you must have good knowledge in the following subjects or courses while undergoing training as a nutritionist.

1. Agriculture: The food for human consumption can be derived from two main sources which are plants and animals. While plants manufactured food by themselves, animals on the other hand depend to a large extent if not solely on plants for their own food. Therefore, for food to be present in abundance for human consumption, both plants (crops) and animals must be well taken care of. This means that agriculture which encompasses both crops and animals must be taken seriously and must be well practiced. Improved seedlings and high-yielding breeds of poultry and animals must be developed. Thus food and nutrition cannot be divorced from agriculture. In fact, the relationship between foods and nutrition and agriculture is so strong that both come under one World organisation, the food and agriculture organisation (F.A.O) with its headquarters in Rome.

2. Food Processing And Home Economics: Also one of the major differences between human beings and the lower animals is the ability of the humans to process their food before consumption. The various crops are usually processed after harvesting before they are consumed. For example, a cereal such as wheat is processed into flour which is then used in the baking industries, cassava is processed into gari. in the same vein, different dishes are prepared from various food stuffs. If the food is not well processed or cooked and served, it may not be consumed. Therefore, the knowledge of food processing and home economics which deals with preparation and service of food is essential to nutritionist.
Biology: Before the nutrients can perform their various functions in the body, they must be consumed, digested, absorbed, and metabolized. cuz how the body makes use of the various nutrients and gets rid of the waste resulting from the metabolism must be understood by the nutritionist. such a knowledge we enable him or her to know in what form the food will be most utilised by the body. The process of digestion, absorption, metabolism which are science of physiology (the study of the functioning of the human body system) must be understood by the nutritionist.
Microbiology: In a bid to solve the problem of food shortage, adequate attention must be given to food preservation and storage. Microorganisms play an important role in food spoilage. Some microorganisms are employed in the preservation of food. Thus there is a need to critically understand the biology and activities of microorganisms to facilitate the identification of their role in the food. Consequently, microbiology is indispensable to the nutritionist.

Chemistry: The importance of any substance as food can only be known after its nutrient composition has been established. Also, the presence or absence of any toxic substance in food must be confirmed. Both nutrients and toxic determination involves chemical procedures. The preservation of food required knowledge about the chemical reactions in the food. All the reactions that go on in the body during digestion and metabolism are chemical in nature. The need to have a good understanding of chemistry, for the proper understanding of food and nutrition cannot be overemphasized.

Medicine: The science of nutrition also has a strong relationship with medicine. most of the disease is prevalent in the underdeveloped and developing countries have their roots in malnutrition. As a result of malnutrition, the ability of the body system to fight against infection is drastically reduced. In this case infants are the most affected. Due to poor nutrition, many infants are easily susceptible to infection. the therapeutic effects of food needs to be well emphasized in developing and underdeveloped countries.
the science of nutrition is also very important in extension education programmes. most rural and urban slum populations are ignorant of the very basic principles of nutrition. The consequence of such ignorance is the prevalence of different diseases, ill health and high mortality rates in such populations. If the life of these rural people is to be improved at all, they should be enlightened about basic nutrition first and foremost because it is only when they are healthy that they can be responsive to any other type of education and training.

Careers In Food And Nutrition

As an undergraduate of food and nutrition, the following are the various courses you can pursue as career in Food And Nutrition in higher institutions.

Done studying? See previous lessons in food and nutrition

Take a quick test for this Lesson.

1. Define food, nutrients, and nutrition
2. What are the reasons we study food and nutrition in schools?
3. Explain the interdisciplinary nature of foods and nutrition.
4. Mention the careers in food and nutrition.

Questions answered correctly? Bravo!

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