This is common for many people use the terms “food” and “nutrition” indiscriminately; but, and although the two are closely related, they do not mean the same thing.
Nutrition is a vital process for humans, whereby our body takes advantage of the nutrients that we have ingested to keep the body functioning properly, for example, to keep cells alive and have the energy to do good. his work. Although this is sometimes referred to as human nutrition, animals and plants also feed. As we will see later, it is possible to talk about different forms of nutrition: autotrophic nutrition or heterotrophic nutrition are some examples.
Instead, food is made up of actions that we consciously perform and voluntarily, which aim to select, prepare and eat food.
In the following lines we will go into more detail at the difference between food and nutrition and we will explain the different types that exist.
What are Nutrients and Foods
To understand the difference between food and nutrition, it is ideal to start by understanding the difference between food and nutrients. Food is any nutrient or a product intended for ingestion by humans, whether or not they have been processed in their entirety (for example, if they have been cooked).
- Milk and its derivatives
- Meats and sausages
- Fish and seafood
- dried fruit
- Sugars, candies and sugary drinks
- Oils and fats
- Alcoholic beverages
- the water
- Chewing gum (according to the European Parliament, 2002)
Not included: animal feed, live animals (except those marketed for human consumption, eg oysters), pre-harvest plants, medicines or cosmetics.
Instead, nutrients are the substances found in food and they are useful for organic metabolism. Nutrients are classified into macronutrients and micronutrients. The former include proteins, carbohydrates and fats; and the second vitamins and minerals. Some experts include water in the nutrient group, but exclude alcohol.
The concept of nutrition
Given the definition of nutrients, nutrition are the unconscious and involuntary processes thanks to which the body digests, processes and uses the aforementioned nutrients. It also includes the process of eliminating substances that are part of the food ingested and that the body does not need.
Nutrition is the key to life because without consuming food or water we would die. That said, you can’t talk about bad or good nutrition, because it would refer to food. If possible, talk about a poor diet instead.
On the other hand, there are two essential types of nutrition: autotrophic and heterotrophic.
1. Autotrophic nutrition
This happens when a living being it is then fed to synthesize inorganic substances. In other words, they can only be made by living things that manage to produce their own food, for example plants through photosynthesis (these living things are called photolithoautotrophs) or certain bacteria that use chemical elements and are given the name chemolithotrophs. For example: bacteria.
2. Nutritional heterotrophs
Heterotrophic living beings they need an elaborate food source. Humans and other animals, fungi and a large part of microorganisms belong to this group.
Heterotrophic nutrition can be divided into:
- Parasitic nutrition: a living being lives in another which feeds and at the same time harms.
- Saprophytic nutrition: a living being obtains nutrients from the environment and breaks them down by the action of enzymes.
- Holozoic nutrition: is that of humans. Solid foods are eaten and then digested and get the nutrients you need.
they exist three types of holozoic nutrition:
- Herbivorous nutrition: living things eat vegetables.
- Carnivorous nutrition: the living being eats meat.
- Omnivorous nutrition: living things eat vegetables and meat.
Herbivorous nutrition differs from vegetarian food in that herbivorous nutrition is where the body is biologically prepared to break down vegetables; and the vegetarian diet is one in which the person chooses to eat vegetables.
Food: why it’s not the same as nutrition
After looking at the example above, it is clear that eating is a conscious and voluntary process, in which the person chooses what to eat and how to do it. Likewise, food is an educating and modifiable act throughout life, allowing you to change your habits.
Certain types of food son:
- baby food: A program that aims to obtain the best nutrition for children who are of growing age.
- Feeding the pregnant woman: Most suitable for the pregnancy process.
- sports food: A selection of foods that maximize the energy level and muscle recovery of people who play sports or exercise.
- balanced diet: Eating habits or habits that help you live a healthier life.
- Vegetarianism: Vegetarianism is an ideology that influences eating habits, because these people mainly consume vegetables and fruits. In addition to strict vegetarians, there are lacto-ovo vegetarian individuals, who consume eggs and dairy products in addition to vegetables; and lacto-vegetarians, who only take dairy products in their diet in addition to vegetables.
- Veganism: It is the ideology of not ingesting food products of animal origin, that is, not eating meat and fish, nor eggs, dairy products or honey, but d ‘go beyond food; nothing that comes from animals is consumed.
Classification of nutrients
If you want to know more about the different types of nutrients that exist, you can read these articles:
- The 20 types of proteins and their functions in the body
- Types of fats (good and bad) and their functions
- Types of vitamins: functions and benefits for your body