Introduction

An essential aspect of maintaining the body is the consumption of food. The range of foods that we eat is known as our diet and the components of food that are digested, absorbed and used in bodily functions are known as nutrients. Nutrients supply the body with both energy and with the components for growth and repair. In this unit we will examine the various roles of nutrients within the body and look at the effects of nutrient deficiencies or excesses, both of which can lead to adverse health effects.

Learning Outcomes

After studying this unit you should be able to:

  • list the six key nutrient groups and explain their role in a healthy diet;
  • understand and calculate body mass index (BMI), and use such calculations to predict desirable weight ranges for individuals;
  • explain the importance of a balanced diet in terms of energy intake;
  • explain how genetic and environmental variables may interact to produce variability in human body weight and adiposity both within and across generations;
  • apply an understanding of gene–environment interactions to possible explanations of variability in body weight and adiposity.