Why Do We Eat - Nutrients And Energy

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Why Do We Eat - Nutrients And Energy
Why Do We Eat - Nutrients And Energy

Video: Why Do We Eat - Nutrients And Energy

Video: Why Do We Eat - Nutrients And Energy
Video: How The Body Uses Food - You Are What You Eat 2023, March

Why we need to eat

The nutrients carbohydrates, proteins and fats as well as vitamins, minerals and water have many different functions in the body. They supply the body with essential substances every day, provide energy and ideally keep you healthy and fit.

If the food is “optimal”, it supplies the body with all the nutrients it needs in the necessary amount to balance the substances that are broken down and excreted. It also supplies the energy required for this.


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  • Nutrients and energy for the body
  • Perception, taste and emotions
  • What shapes our eating habits

Nutrients and energy for the body

The food ingredients are necessary to supply all structures of the body (such as muscles, tissues, organs, etc.) with what they need and to allow various processes to take place. Certain substances are considered to be essential (vital) food components. They are particularly important for the body because they cannot be produced by themselves, but must be taken in with food (e.g. certain vitamins, fatty acids and amino acids).

Building, dismantling and remodeling processes are ongoing in the body. The body needs energy for these processes and the related functions (such as growth, maintenance of body temperature, breathing or muscle work). This is ensured by the breakdown of certain nutrients (carbohydrates, fats, protein).

Note Anyone who in the long term supplies more energy with food than the body consumes increases weight. Those who consume less energy with food than they consume in the long term lose weight. In both situations, an unbalanced diet can lead to deficiency symptoms. It is therefore important that, in addition to the energy-supplying components, sufficient vitamins, minerals and trace elements are taken in with food.

Perception, taste and emotions

Eating and drinking have a lot to do with perception, different senses and emotions. How something tastes - sour, salty, bitter, sweet or umami (tasty, full-bodied) - is perceived through the taste buds of the tongue. Science is also researching whether “fatty” is possibly a sixth flavor. The taste buds on the edge of the taste buds are supplied by so-called sensory neurons, which pass on taste information to the brain and thereby trigger taste sensations. Sour, salty, sweet or umami are perceived with varying degrees of sensitivity in almost all regions of the tongue. The “bitter” taste quality is mainly found at the rear end of the tongue, the base of the tongue.

The sense of smell also plays an important role in the sense of taste. The olfactory mucous membrane of the nose contains around ten million olfactory cells that are connected to the olfactory center in the brain via the olfactory nerve. There is also a connection with the so-called limbic system (part of the brain that is responsible for emotional reactions) via part of the nerve fibers. As a result, smell sensations can lead to pleasant and unpleasant emotional reactions (e.g. to change facial expressions when enjoying, but also to nausea when tasting unpleasant sensations).

Other senses also contribute to the taste experience. For example, the "look" of the food and drinks plays a role. In addition, there are papillae on the tongue that are responsible for tactile, temperature and pain sensation (filiform papillae, thread-shaped papillae).

What shapes our eating habits

Consciously or unconsciously, influences, learned things, habits and role models play an essential role in our eating habits.

The diet of adults often reflects what they have learned in childhood, the family (social) environment and experiences in kindergarten, school and with friends. Established eating habits (e.g. the plate has to be eaten empty) are often difficult to relearn. They shape our eating behavior and can be involved in the development of overweight or obesity. Various psychological aspects such as uncontrolled eating, eating to compensate for stressful situations, or eating out of boredom also have an influence on the selection and amount of food.

Diet is also related to social status and level of education. A lack of knowledge about a balanced diet can lead to behaviors that also lead to obesity - for adults as well as for children.

For more information, see The Austrian Food Pyramid.

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