Monday, September 29, 2008

Nutrition Data Website

For the last half decade, one of my favorite Websites to obtain nutritional information from is Nutrition Data. Their continuing goal is to provide the most accurate and comprehensive nutrition analysis available, and to make it accessible and understandable to all. They haven’t lost any of their authoritative status either since being acquired by CondéNet in 2006.

Their database information comes from the USDA's National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference and is supplemented by listings provided for by restaurants and food manufacturers with source footnotes. While they caution they cannot guarantee the absolute accuracy of every listing, they state they make every possible attempt to ensure the quality of their data. Even though Nutrition Data's interpretations represent opinion, they are based on calculations derived from Daily Reference Values (DRVs), Reference Daily Intakes (RDIs), published research, and recommendations of the FDA.

Besides their food composition data, they have interesting proprietary tools to use to analyze and interpret data. Among their numerous search selection tools include Compare Foods, Nutrient Search Tool, and Food Category Explorer. Moreover, Nutrition Data provides a variety of information from how to read a label, to a wide selection of nutritional topics, in addition to recipes. Among their numerous topics includes Better Choices Diet, Glycemic Index, Food Additives, and Effects of Processing Food. What is more, they have a couple of blogs with even more information.

Under their Help function includes a Quick Start, Search Tips, and several Help sections for each tool. They also have Nutrition Management Tools for BMI, Track, Analyze Recipe, Input Food and Foods by Nutrient. They even have a Unit Conversion widget for numerous calculations.

Furthermore, earlier this month they launched a My ND with a My Foods function to save your entries for easier access to the nutritional content of your favorite foods, My Recipes to create and analyze foods, and a My Tracking section. So now you can search through their information, see their detailed information, and save your favorites for easy retrieval. Clearly, with all the information they have, this function comes in handy.

All things considered, Nutrition Data is a very complete Website for learning a lot about numerous nutritional related topics. In brief, it’s like getting lost in another world of surprising facts and figures. In conclusion, you will know a lot more about what you eat after visiting Nutrition Data.


Debby Bolen

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Healthy Diets are a Key to Wellness

If you are interested in your health and well-being, healthy diets are of prime importance. The science of dietetics is concerned with feeding groups or individuals. Specializing in this area are dietitians, the health professionals with training to provide safe, factual dietary advice and interventions. Additionally, the science of nutrition examines the relationship between health and diet.

Actually, in relationship to food the word diet has two different meanings. Ordinarily, diet is the usual daily food and drink consumed. On the other hand, someone can also be dieting by following one of numerous diets regulating selections of food usually for cosmetic or medical reasons for gaining or losing weight.

Theoretically, the energy value of food and the energy spent in daily activity are measured in units of heat called kilocalories, which are referred to as calories. Consequently, diets for gaining or losing weight are based upon calories taken in and calories used in activity. When people take in more calories than they use, they gain weight. If they take in fewer calories than they use, they will lose weight. Unfortunately, dieting to loose weight is usually a mistake resulting in the person “finding” the weight they “lost”. As a matter of fact, sometimes even more weight is gained aggravating the situation even further. Clearly a much better plan would be life style changes for weight management including exercise and better food choices aimed at maintaining optimal health. Always seek a doctor’s advice before beginning any diet program.

As a rule, special diets may be prescribed for health reasons. Accordingly, diabetic diets are ordered to limit sugar intake, while low-salt diets are prescribed for heart and kidney conditions. What is more, people can have allergic reactions to many foods including eggs, milk, nuts, seafood, strawberries, and wheat. Hence, these foods cannot be consumed in their diets. Sometimes these allergies are difficult to pinpoint and should be diagnosed by a physician.

Moreover, some people choose to limit certain foods for environmental, health, morality, religious, or other reasons. For one thing, people eliminating animal products to varying degrees include plant-based diets of fruitarians, living foods, raw foods, vegetarians, and vegans. Be this as it may, careful attention should be paid to not developing dietary deficiencies, for instance of Vitamin B12. Furthermore, some religious cultures restrict unacceptable foods from their diet. Examples include Halal foods for Islam, and Kosher food allowed in Judaism.

Usually, a normal balanced diet containing all the food nutrients necessary to keep a person healthy by building and maintaining tissues and regulating bodily functions includes carbohydrates, minerals, proteins, vitamins, certain fats, plus water. However, dietary habits or habitual choices defining cultures and religions may affect health resulting in dis-ease and mortality. Briefly, calcium, iron, and vitamins A, B, C and D, are often eaten in smaller than recommended amounts. Examples of deficiency diseases include scurvy from a lack of vitamin C and anemia from a lack of iron. In addition to these, some other ailments resulting from deficiencies, excesses, and imbalances of diets eventually producing negative impacts upon an individual’s health include cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis, or psychological and behavioral problems.

In the final analysis, human nutrition is complex and a healthy diet varies widely depending on environment, genetic make-up, and health condition. On the whole, a person’s diet varies according to activity, age, climate, health, and weight. Ultimately, healthy diets result in optimum health and well-being.

Debby Bolen
Mary Constante

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