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Nutrition Related Terms Gloassary Cheat Sheet by

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Allergic reacti­on: Immuno­log­ically induced tissue response to a foreign substance (aller­gen).
Alph­a-l­ino­lenic acid: 18 carbon fatty acid with three double bonds; the first double bond is on the third carbon atom from the methyl end and therefore it is called n-3 fatty acid. It is abbrev­iated as 18: 3 n-3.
Amino acid: The fundam­ental building block of proteins.
Anab­oli­sm: Process by which complex materials in tissues and organs are built up from simple substa­nces.
Anti­oxi­dan­ts: A group of substances that prevent the damage caused by the oxidation of fatty acids and proteins by oxygen free radicals.
Balanced Diet: A diet containing all essential (macro and micro) nutrients in optimum quantities and in approp­riate propor­tions that meet the requir­ements.
Beta­-Ca­rot­ene: A yellow - orange plant pigment which yields vitamin A by oxidation in the body.
Bifidus factor: A substance in human milk which stimulates the growth of a micro-­org­anism (Lacto­bac­illus bifidus) in the infants' intestine.
Body Mass Index: Body weight in relation to height. Body weight in kilograms divided by 2 height in metres .
Calo­rie: Unit used to indicate the energy value of foods. Quanti­tative requir­ements are expressed in terms of energy, i.e., kiloca­lories (Kcals). Newer unit for energy is Kjoules.
Cata­bol­ism: Process of breakdown of complex organic consti­tuents in the body.
Chol­est­erol: A lipid consti­tuent of blood and tissues derived from diet as well as from synthesis within the body.
Colo­str­um:­The milk produced by mammals during the first few days after delivery.
CU: Consum­ption Unit. - One unit represents Recomm­ended Dietary Allowance of energy for a sedentary man.
Empty calori­es: Term used for foods that provide only energy without any other nutrient, eg. white sugar and alcohol.
Enzy­mes: Biological catalysts which enhance the rate of chemical reactions in the body.
Esse­ntial fatty acids (EFA): Fatty acids like linoleic acid and alpha linolenic acid which are not made in the human body and must be supplied through the diet.
Fatty acids:­F­und­amental consti­tuents of many lipids.
Fibre: Collective term for the structural parts of plant tissues which are resistant to the human digestive enzymes.
Flav­ono­ids: Pigments widely distri­buted in nature in flowers, fruits and vegeta­bles.
Food Exchan­ge: Foods are classified into different groups for exchange. Each “exchange list” includes a number of measured foods of similar nutritive value that can be substi­tuted inter-­cha­ngeably in meal plans.
Free radica­ls: Highly reactive oxygen­-de­rived species formed in the body during normal metabolic processes. They have the capacity to damage cellular components by oxidation.
High­-de­nsity lipopr­oteins (HDL): These transport choles­terol from the extra-­hepatic tissues to the liver. They are anti-a­the­rog­enic.
Horm­ones: Substances produced by a gland (endoc­rine) which are secreted directly into the blood stream to produce a specific effect on another organ.


Hype­rli­pid­emia: An increase in the concen­tration of blood lipids (trigl­yce­rides and choles­terol).
Invi­sible fats: Fat present as an integral component of plant and animal foods such as in cereals, legumes and spices.
Lact­ofe­rrin: Minor protein of milk containing iron.
Lactose intole­ran­ce: Disorder resulting from improper digestion of milk sugar called lactose, due to lack of an enzyme, lactase, in the intestinal mucosa.
Linoleic acid: Fatty acid containing 18 carbon atoms and two double bonds. The first double bond is on the sixth carbon atom from the methyl end. Therefore it is called n-6 fatty acid and is abbrev­iated as 18:2 n-6.
Lipi­ds: A technical term for fats. They are important dietary consti­tuents. The group includes trigly­cer­ides, steroids, choles­terol and other complex lipids.
Lipo­pro­tei­ns: Lipids are not soluble in blood; they are therefore transp­orted as lipid and protein complexes.
Low-­density lipopr­oteins (LDL): These transport choles­terol from the liver to tissues. High blood levels indicate that more choles­terol is being transp­orted to tissues.
Macr­ocytic anaemia: Anaemia charac­terized by red blood cells which are larger than normal.
Macr­onu­tri­ents: Nutrients like carboh­ydr­ates, proteins and fats which are required in large quanti­ties.
Meta­bol­ism: Includes catabolism and anabolism.
Micr­ocytic anaemia: Anaemia charac­terized by red blood cells which are smaller than normal.
Micr­onu­tri­ents: Nutrients which are required in small quanti­ties, such as vitamins and trace elements.
Mono­uns­atu­rated fatty acids: Unsatu­rated fatty acids with one double bond.
n-6 PUFA: Linoleic acid and its longer chain polyun­sat­urated fatty acids are collec­tively called n-6 PUFA.
n-3 PUFA: Alpha-­lin­olenic acid and its longer­-chain polyun­sat­urated fatty acids are collec­tively called n-3 PUFA.
Phyt­och­emi­cals: General name for chemicals present in plants.
Poly­uns­atu­rated fatty acids (PUFA): Unsatu­rated fatty acids with two or more double bonds.
Proc­essed foods: Foods that are produced by converting raw food materials into a form suitable for eating.
Protein Energy Malnut­rition (PEM): A marked dietary deficiency of both energy and protein resulting in undern­utr­ition.
Reco­mmended Dietary Allowances (RDA): The amounts of dietary energy and nutrients considered sufficient for mainta­ining good health by the people of a country.
Refined foods: Foods which have been processed to improve their appear­ance, colour, taste, odour or keeping quality.
Satu­rated fatty acids: Fatty acids containing maximum number of hydrogen atoms that each carbon atom can carry. They do not have double bonds.
Sati­ety: Feeling of satisf­action after food intake.
Tran­s-fatty acids: Are mainly produced during hydrog­enation of oils; a few also occur naturally in very small quanti­ties.
Trig­lyc­erides (Neutral fat): The major type of dietary fat and the principal form in which energy is stored in the body. A complex of fatty acids and glycerol.
Unsa­turated fatty acids: Fatty acids in which there is a shortage of hydrogen atoms. The carbon atoms then become linked by double bonds. Unsatu­rated fatty acids are less stable than saturated fatty acids.
Visible fats:­Fats and oils that can be used directly or in cooking.
Weaning foods: Foods which are used during gradual transition of the infant from breast­feeding to a normal diet.
Sour­ce: Dietary Guidelines for Indians by National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad

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