Frequently Asked Questions about Nutrition

They say that you are what you eat but, what do you eat? And what are you? And who are ‘they’? These and other frequently asked questions about nutrition will be answered here at Discount Medical Supplies.

Frequently Asked Questions about Nutrition

1.What is nutrition?

According to the World Health Organization, nutrition is food intake in relation to the dietary requirements of the body. A balance diet together with regular helps protect against malnutrition in all its forms, as well as non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer. On the other hand, poor nutrition can result in reduced immunity, NCDs, increased susceptibility to disease, impaired physical and mental development, and reduced productivity.

2.What is a healthy diet?

  • Fresh, canned, frozen, or dried fruits and vegetables, and legumes, nuts and whole grains.
  • At least 400 grams of fruits and vegetables a day. Potatoes, sweet potatoes, cassava and other starchy roots are neither fruits nor vegetables.
  • Less than 10% of total energy intake from free sugars for a person of healthy body weight consuming approximately 2000 calories per day, but ideally less than 5% of total energy intake for additional health benefits. Most free sugars are added to foods or drinks by manufacturers, cooks, or consumers, and can also be found naturally in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates.
  • Less than 30% of total energy intake from fats. Unsaturated fats are preferable to saturated fats.
  • Industrial trans fats are not part of a healthy diet.
  • Less than 5 grams of salt per day and use iodized salt.

3.What is a healthy diet for infants and young children?

·         Advice on a healthy diet for infants and children is more or less the same as that for adults.

  • Infants should be breastfed exclusively during the first 6 months of life.
  • Infants should be breastfed continuously until 2 years of age and beyond.
  • From 6 months of age, breast milk should be accompanied by a variety of adequate, safe, and nutrient dense complementary foods.
  • Salt and sugars should not be added to complementary foods.

4.How much fruit do you need daily?

·         Children (2-3 years old): 1 cup.

·         Children (4-8): 1 to 1 ½ cups.

·         Girls (9-18): 1 ½ cups.

·         Boys (9-13): 1 ½ cups.

·         Boys (14-18): 2 cups.

·         Women (19-30): 2 cups.

·         Women (31-51+): 1 ½ cups.

·         Men (19-51+) 2 cups.

5.What is a cup of fruit?

In broad terms, 1 cup of fruit or 100% fruit juice, or ½ cup of dried fruit can be considered 1 cup from the Fruit Group.

6.How many vegetables do you need daily?

·         Children (2-3 years old): 1 cup.

·         Children (4-8): 1 to 1 ½ cups.

·         Girls (9-13): 2 cups.

·         Girls (14-18): 2 ½ cups.

·         Boys (9-13): 2 ½ cups.

·         Boys (14-18): 3 cups.

·         Women (19-50): 2 ½ cups.

·         Women (51+): 2 cups.

·         Men (19-50) 3 cups.

·         Men (51+): 2 ½ cups.

7.What is a cup of vegetables?

Generally speaking, 1 cup of raw or cooked vegetables or vegetable juice, or 2 cups of raw leafy greens can be considered as 1 cup from the Vegetable Group.

8.Why are fruits and vegetables good for you?

·         Most are naturally low in fat, sodium, and calories.

·         None have cholesterol.

·         They are sources of potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin A, and folate (folic acid).

·         Diets rich in potassium may help maintain healthy blood pressure.

·         Fruit sources of potassium include bananas, prunes and prune juice, dried peaches and apricots, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, and orange juice.

·         Dietary fiber helps reduce blood cholesterol levels and may lower risk of heart disease.

·         Fiber is important for proper bowel function. It helps reduce constipation and diverticulosis.

·         Fiber helps provide a feeling of fullness with fewer calories.

·         Whole or cut-up fruits are sources of dietary fiber; fruit juices contain little or no fiber.

·         Vitamin A keeps eyes and skin healthy and helps to protect against infections.

·         Vitamin C is important for growth and repair of all body tissues, helps heal cuts and wounds, and keeps teeth and gums healthy.

·         Folate helps the body form red blood cells. Women of childbearing age who may become pregnant should consume adequate folate from foods, and in addition 400 mcg of synthetic folic acid from fortified foods or supplements. This reduces the risk of neural tube defects, spina bifida, and anencephaly during fetal development.

·         They may reduce risk for heart disease, including heart attack and stroke.

·         They may increase protection against certain types of cancers.

·         They may reduce risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

·         They may reduce risk of kidney stones.

·         They may decrease bone loss.

9.How can you improve fruit and vegetable consumption?

  • Always include vegetables in meals.
  • Top your cereal with bananas or peaches.
  • Breakfast

-         Add blueberries to pancakes.

-         Drink 100% orange or grapefruit juice.

-         Mix fresh fruit with plain fat-free or low-fat yogurt.

  • Lunch

-         Pack a tangerine, banana, or grapes to eat, or choose fruits from a salad bar.

-         Individual containers of fruits like peaches or applesauce are easy and convenient.

  • Dinner  

-         Add crushed pineapple to coleslaw.

-         Include orange sections or grapes in a tossed salad.

-         Make a Waldorf salad, with apples, celery, walnuts, and a low-calorie salad dressing.

-         Try meat dishes that incorporate fruit, like chicken with apricots or mangoes.

-         Add fruit like pineapple or peaches to kabobs as part of a barbecue meal.

  • Dessert

-         Have baked apples, pears, or a fruit salad.

  • Snack on fresh fruits and raw vegetables.
  • Eat fresh fruits and vegetables in season.
  • Eat a variety of choices of fruits and vegetables.
  • Keep a bowl of whole fruit on the table, counter, or in the refrigerator.
  • Refrigerate cut-up fruit to store for later.
  • Try pre-cut packages of fruit for a healthy snack in seconds.
  • Choose packaged fruits that do not contain added sugars.
  • Set a good example for children by eating fruit every day with meals or as snacks.
  • Offer children a choice of fruits for lunch.
  • Depending on age, children can help shop for, clean, peel, or cut up fruits.
  • While shopping, allow children to pick out a new fruit to try later at home.
  • Decorate plates or serving dishes with fruit slices.
  • Offer raisins or other dried fruits instead of candy.
  • Pack a 100% juice box in children’s lunches instead of soda or other sugary drinks.
  • Look for and choose fruit options, such as sliced apples, mixed fruit cup, or 100% fruit juice in fast food restaurants.
  • Offer fruit pieces and 100% fruit juice to children.

10.What are grains?

Any food made from wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley or another cereal grain such as bread, pasta, oatmeal, breakfast cereals, tortillas, and grits. Whole grains contain the entire grain kernel. Refined grains have the bran and germ removed, as well as dietary fiber, iron, and many B vitamins.

11.Why are whole grains good for you?

·         Grains are sources of dietary fiber, several B vitamins, and minerals.

·         The B vitamins thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin help the body release energy from protein, fat, and carbohydrates.

·         B vitamins are also essential for a healthy nervous system.

·         Many refined grains are enriched with these B vitamins.

·         Whole and enriched refined grain products are major sources of iron.

·         Whole grains are sources of magnesium and selenium. Magnesium is a mineral used in building bones and releasing energy from muscles. Selenium protects cells from oxidation. It is also important for a healthy immune system.

·         They may reduce the risk of heart disease.

·         They may reduce constipation.

·         They may help with weight management.

·         They help prevent neural tube defects during fetal development.

12.How can you improve whole grain consumption?

·         Eat whole-grain products instead of refined products; e.g., whole-wheat bread instead of white bread or brown rice instead of white rice. 

·         Try brown rice or whole-wheat pasta.

·         Try brown rice stuffing in baked green peppers or tomatoes and whole-wheat macaroni in macaroni and cheese.

·         Use whole grains in mixed dishes.

·         Create a whole grain pilaf with a mixture of barley, wild rice, brown rice, broth and spices.

·         Experiment by substituting whole wheat or oat flour for up to half of the flour in pancake, waffle, muffin or other flour-based recipes.

·         Use whole-grain bread or cracker crumbs in meatloaf.

·         Try rolled oats or a crushed, unsweetened whole grain cereal as breading for baked chicken, fish, veal cutlets, or eggplant parmesan.

·         Try an unsweetened, whole grain ready-to-eat cereal as croutons in salad or in place of crackers with soup.

·         Freeze leftover cooked brown rice, bulgur, or barley. Heat and serve it later as a quick side dish.

·         Snack on ready-to-eat, whole grain cereals.

·         Add whole-grain flour or oatmeal when making cookies or other baked treats.

·         Try 100% whole-grain snack crackers.

·         Popcorn, a whole grain, can be a healthy snack if made with little or no salt and butter.

13.What are protein foods?

All foods made from meat, poultry, seafood, beans and peas, eggs, processed soy products, nuts, and seeds are part of the Protein Foods Group.

14.Why should you make lean or low-fat choices from protein foods?

Choosing foods from this group that are high in saturated fat and cholesterol may have health implications, such as raising cholesterol. fatty cuts of beef, pork, and lamb; regular (75% to 85% lean) ground beef; regular sausages, hot dogs, and bacon; some luncheon meats such as regular bologna and salami; and some poultry such as duck are high in saturated fat.

15.Why are protein foods good for you?

·         They include protein, B vitamins, vitamin E, iron, zinc, and magnesium.

·         Proteins are building blocks for bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood.

·         They are also building blocks for enzymes, hormones, and vitamins. Proteins are one of three nutrients that provide calories.

·         B vitamins found in this food group help the body release energy, play a major part in the function of the nervous system, aid in the formation of red blood cells, and help build tissues.

·         They contain iron.

·         Magnesium is used in building bones and in releasing energy from muscles.

·         Zinc is necessary for biochemical reactions and helps the immune system.

16.Why are 8 weekly ounces of seafood good for you?

·         Seafood contains omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA.

·         Eating about 8 ounces per week of a variety of seafood contributes to the prevention of heart disease.

·         Smaller amounts of seafood are recommended for young children.

17.Why are nuts and seeds good for you?

·         They may reduce the risk of heart disease when consumed as part of a diet that is nutritionally adequate and within calorie needs.

·         Because nuts and seeds are high in calories, eat them in small portions and use them to replace other protein foods, rather than adding them to what you already eat.

·         Choose unsalted nuts and seeds to help reduce sodium intake.

18.What is dairy?

All fluid milk products and many foods made from milk are considered part of the dairy group.

19.How much dairy do you need daily?

  • Children (2-3 years old): 2 cups.
  • Children (4-8): 2 ½ cups.
  • Girls (9-18): 3 cups.
  • Boys (9-18): 3 cups.
  • Women (19-51+): 3 cups.
  • Men (19-51) 3 cups.

20.What is a cup of dairy?

1 cup of milk, yogurt, or soymilk, 1 ½ ounces of natural cheese, or 2 ounces of processed cheese is generally considered as 1 cup from the Dairy Group.

21.Why are fat-free or low-fat dairy products good for you?

·         Non-fat-free milk or yogurt, or non-low-fat cheese count against your maximum limit for “empty calories” and can raise cholesterol.

·         They provide calcium, potassium, vitamin D, and protein.

·         Calcium is used for building bones and teeth and in maintaining bone mass.

·         Dairy products are the primary source of calcium in American diets.

·         Diets that provide 3 cups or the equivalent of dairy products per day can improve bone mass.

·         Diets rich in potassium may help to maintain healthy blood pressure.

·         Dairy products, especially yogurt, fluid milk, and soymilk provide potassium.

·         Vitamin D helps maintain proper levels of calcium and phosphorous, thereby helping to build and maintain bones.

·         Milk and soymilk fortified with vitamin D are good sources of this nutrient.

·         Other sources include vitamin D-fortified yogurt and vitamin D-fortified ready-to-eat breakfast cereals.

·         Milk products consumed in their low-fat or fat-free forms provide little or no solid fat.

·         They are linked to improved bone health, and may reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

·         They are important to bone health during childhood and adolescence, when bone mass is being built.

·         They are also associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, and with lower blood pressure in adults.

22.What are oils?

Oils are fats that are liquid at room temperature that come from many different plants and from fish. Some commonly eaten oils include canola oil, corn oil, cottonseed oil, olive oil, safflower oil, soybean oil, and sunflower oil.

23.What is your daily allowance for oils?

  • Children (2-3 years old): 3 teaspoons.
  • Children (4-8): 4 teaspoons.
  • Girls (9-18):  5 teaspoons.
  • Boys (9-13): 5 teaspoons.
  • Boys (14-18): 6 teaspoons.
  • Women (19-30): 6 teaspoons.
  • Women (31-51+): 5 teaspoons.
  • Men (19-30): 7 teaspoons.
  • Men (31-51+): 6 teaspoons.

24.Why are oils good for you?

They provide essential nutrients and are included in the USDA dietary recommendations for what to eat.

25.How can you reduce fat intake?

  • Remove the fatty part of meat.
  • Use vegetable as opposed to animal oil).
  • Boil, steam or bake rather than fry.
  • Avoid processed foods containing trans fats.
  • Limit the consumption of foods that contain high amounts of saturated fats.

26.How can you reduce salt consumption?

  • Not adding salt, soy sauce, or fish sauce when cooking.
  • Not having salt on the table.
  • Limit the consumption of salty snacks.
  • Choose products with lower sodium content.

27.How can you reduce sugar intake?

  • Limit the consumption of foods and drinks that contain high amounts of sugars.
  • Snack on eat fresh fruits and raw vegetables in lieu of sugary snacks.

28.What are some myths about salt consumption?

  • You need more salt in your diet when sweating on a hot and humid day.
  • Sea salt is better/worse than manufactured salt due to/despite being natural.
  • Salt added during cooking is not the main source of salt intake.
  • Food does not need salt to taste good.
  • Food has no flavor without salt.
  • Foods high in salt taste salty.
  • Only old people need to worry about how much salt they eat.
  • Reducing salt could be bad for your health.

29.What are some facts about salt consumption?

  • Sodium is an essential nutrient for maintenance of plasma volume, acid-base balance, transmission of nerve impulses and normal cell function.
  • Excess sodium is associated with adverse health outcomes, such as high blood pressure.
  • The primary contributors to dietary sodium consumption depend on the cultural context and dietary habits of a population.
  • Sodium is found naturally in milk, meat, shellfish, and other foods.
  • Salt is often found in high amounts in processed foods like breads, processed meat and snack foods, as well as in condiments.
  • Sodium is also contained in sodium glutamate, a food additive.
  • Little salt is lost through sweat so there is no need for extra salt even on a hot and humid day.
  • The sodium in salt is what causes bad health outcomes regardless of the source.
  • About 80% of salt in diet comes from processed foods in many countries.
  • You are more likely to enjoy food and notice a broader range of flavors once the taste buds get used to salt.
  • Some foods that are high in salt don't taste very salty because they are mixed with other things that hide the taste like sugars.
  • Too much salt can raise blood pressure at any age.
  • It’s difficult to eat too little salt because there are so many common foods that contain salt.
  • Reducing salt intake is one of the most cost-effective measures countries can take to improve population health outcomes. 
  • An estimated 2.5 million deaths could be prevented a year if worldwide salt consumption were reduced to the recommended level.


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