The Nutritive And Non-Nutritive Foods: Basic Food Groups

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What are the basic food groups?

Many foods are nutritious, but none provides all the nutrients, vitamins, minerals and proteins that your body needs. That is why, it is very important to include items from the basic food groups in your daily diet.

The Nutritive Foods

Vegetables and Fruit Group

Vegetables and fruits contribute Vitamin A and C, are low in fat, and are high in fiber. Dark green vegetables are also good sources of riboflavin, folacin, iron, and magnesium.

Bread and Cereal Group

Whole grain and encircled breads and cereals are important sources of vitamin B, iron, and protein. This group includes bread, biscuits, cooked and ready to eat cereals, noodles and rice.

Meat, Poultry, Fish and Beans

The foods in this group are good sources of protein, phosphorus, iron, zinc, Vitamin B6, niacin, and other vitamins and minerals. In addition to beef, veal, lamb, pork, poultry, and shellfish, this group includes dry beans, dry peas, soybeans, eggs, nuts and peanuts.

Non-nutritive Foods

Fats, sweets, and alcohol provide relatively few nutrients considering the calories in them. These “empty” calories provide no benefits and can contribute to weight problem.

Fast Foods

Fast foods are convenient foods usually prepared in walk-in or drive-through restaurants. In contrast to junk foods, the nutritional value of fast foods can vary considerably. One fast food meal supplies over one half the amount of the fat needed in a day. In addition to that, fast foods are often high in salt and sugar, which contribute to tooth decay and increase for high blood pressure. On the positive side, fast food restaurants have broadened their menus to include whole-wheat breads and rolls, salad bars, lower fat meats and low fat meat products. Many of the large fast food restaurants provide nutritional information for consumers upon request.


A large group of physiologically active components, which are thought to be able to deactivate carcinogens or function as antioxidants, have been identified recently. They are carotenoids (from green vegetables), polyphenols (from onions and garlic), indoles (from cruciferous vegetables), and the allyl sulfides (from garlic, chives, and onions). These phytochemical are said to play an important role in the reduction of the risk of cancer in these two groups.

Food Additives

It is a known fact that today food manufacturers add chemical compound to the food supply. Some of the reasons are:

– To maintain the nutritional value of the food.

– To maintain the food’s freshness by preventing changes in its color, flavor or texture.

– To contribute to the processing of the food by controlling its texture and acidity, and thickness.

– To make the food more appealing to the consumer by enhancing its flavor and standardizing its color

Researches indicate that consumers continue to accept these alterations. Those living in the urban areas, working outside the home, and having foods available at all times during the year are worth the price of additives being a part of our once “natural food supply”.

Food Labels

Food manufactures are required by the Bureau of Food and Drugs (BFAD) to provide nutritional information (labels) on products to which one or more additional nutrients have been added or for which some nutritional claims have been made.

Nutritional Needs and the Older Adult

Nutritional needs change as adult’s age. Age-related changes to the structure and function of the body are primarily responsible for altered nutritional requirements. These age-related changes can involve the teeth, salivary glands, taste buds, oral muscles, gastric acid production, and peristaltic action. In addition, chronic constipation resulting from changes in gastrointestinal tract function can decrease interest in eating. The progressive lowering of the body’s basal metabolism is another facto that will eventually influence the dietary patterns of the older adult. As energy requirements fall, the body gradually senses the need for less food. Because of this decrease need for calories, nutrient density, the nutritional value of the food relative to calories supplied as an important consideration for the elderly. In patterns among the elderly, psychosocial factors alter the role of food in the lives of many older consumers. Loss of income, transportation limitations, and housing are lifestyle factors that can alter the ease and enjoyment associated with the preparation and consumption of food.


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