There are many types of food that make up a typical human diet. These food groups can be grouped into several main categories depending upon their consumption habits and their effects on the body. Some people have very little need of food, while others eat a lot of it. Many countries have very different food types and very different ways of preparing them, as well as different ways of eating them. Even within these broad food categories there are many sub-categories, as is the case with nutrition and general health.
Food is any material eaten to supply nutrition to an organism. The four basic food groups are protein, vegetables, fruits and nuts. Most food is of animal, plant or fungi origin, and has necessary nutrients, including vitamins, fats, carbohydrates, proteins or minerals. One of the main differences between plant food and animal food is in the proportions of the various substances within the food.
Plants generally have protein as a major constituent, but this is not the case with most animal foods. Meat is one of the higher levels of dietary protein, which provides energy to carry out normal daily activities. Plants have relatively high levels of carbohydrate, but these tend to be of energy type rather than nutritional use. Fruits and vegetables have relatively high levels of sugar, but this is usually excreted through the urine rather than absorbed in the food.
In a healthy diet, all of the food groups should be provided in adequate quantities, in order to meet the recommended daily intake for each of the four food groups. Nutrient deficiencies can result from diets that are too rich in certain elements or too deficient in others. A balanced and healthy diet is one in which all of the food groups are equally represented, and where the differences in nutrient content do not exceed the relatively small differences in food amounts. Nutrient deficiencies can also result from a deficiency of some of the vitamins and minerals we need.
In order to get the proper amount of all of the essential nutrients and to avoid nutritional deficiencies, it is important to eat food that is nutritious in each of the four food groups. Meals that are high in fat, oil, salt and sugar are usually low in nutrients and should be eaten in moderation. Fresh fruit and vegetables are rich in vitamins and other minerals and should be included in nearly every meal. Whole grains, beans and other foods that contain a lot of dietary fiber should be eaten regularly. Rice, pasta and cereal are also excellent sources of carbohydrates and these foods provide a wide range of nutrients.
All of the food groups should be well represented in a balanced diet, including nuts, seeds, beans and whole grains. Fruits and vegetables should be eaten regularly, but in small portions. Rice, pasta and cereal are excellent sources of carbohydrates and they should be included in almost every meal. All of these food groups should be eaten in their natural forms as they are best for their health. If you have diabetes, heart disease or high blood pressure, you should talk to your doctor before you change your diet drastically.