Nutrition Meets Food Science
Food- More than an essential need.

Food – More than an essential need.

Food is one of the basic necessities of humans, and it stands first among all basic needs – food, shelter, and clothing. It is important as it nourishes the human body- sustaining the very existences of humans.

Over the years, food has taken a position beyond this. Food is now a social instrument. People meet each other over cups of tea or coffee or invite people over for a meal to initiate interpersonal relationships. Since food got out of the realm of necessity to social context, we find ourselves being surrounded by it all time. Therefore, now food has actually become even more critical than ever before.

Food- More than an essential need.

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Although we are surrounded by food all the time, the understanding of food is very poor. Most of us eat what comes in front of us. Lots of us appreciate the taste, very few appreciate finer nuances like texture, mouthfeel, the interplay of taste, and even fewer try to understand what it is made up of and what it can do once it enters our body.

The general understanding is that we will think about all this when the “right time” comes. Unfortunately, that “right time” is when things start going wrong. Health deteriorates, and then very strict dietary restrictions are imposed to get on right track. Then- the word DIET comes into their our lives. The word Diet actually comes from the Latin or Greek word – ‘diaita’, which means ‘a way of life.’ And, a way of life should be a way when you are in the best of health rather than when health is lost.

Today is the age of stress and strain, where we are observing a surge of lifestyle diseases, that too at a very young age. On the other hand, we also see a surge of health freaks who experiments with diets and exercises which are in extremes of restriction.

It compels us to ask a question – what is right? Is it okay to wait for this to go wrong or is it okay to be swept away by these lopsided diet and exercise fads? The answer to this million- dollar question is education. Education about food, its components and its interaction with the human body just not in a diseased state, but when healthy is the essence of a good lifestyle. This understanding is not required to make you into a health professional, but to hone your basic awareness skills – to ensure good food selection.

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Eating food is a choice that you make at least 4 to 5 times a day. Most of the times, this choice is governed by availability, taste, and looks of the food. Rather than relying on optical and olfactory properties – let’s look at the food matrix in detail. This will help us to select the right food for us – not make us into nutritionist or dietitians – who are trained to use food as a disease therapeutic or preventive modality.

In this blog, we will try to introduce you to food, in a different way. The same food that you eat day in day out – but look at it in a new light.

Shilpa Joshi

Mumbai Diet and Health Center
National Vice President, Indian Dietetic Association
Hon. Secretary All India Association for Advancing Research in Obesity

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