Nutrition is an important element to sustaining life. When talking or thinking about nutrition, most people think in terms of food. Medical research has found that many of the medical and health problems people experience can be avoided through proper nutrition. When looking at a person’s nutritional habits it is important to look at the food and the various components of the food.

There are seven major nutrients in food. These are classed into groups known as carbohydrates, fat, fibre, minerals, protein, vitamins and water. Most food will contain a mixture of these nutrients. There are a number of nutrients that are required on a regular basis, while there are others that can be consumed occasionally.

Carbohydrates are also known as monosaccharide, disaccharides or polysaccharides. All names given to carbohydrates depend on the amount of sugars in each. For example monosaccharides contain one sugar, whereas disaccharides contain 2 and so on. Polysaccharides are also known as complex carbs because they take longer to break down or metabolize. It important to eat as much as you can of food that contains monosaccharides because they break down quickly during the digestive process and therefore do not turn into fat, which the body stores.

Fats are composed of fatty acids. There are two basic types of fat - saturated and unsaturated. When trying to figure out which is which you can think of it this way: saturated fat is solid at room temperature where unsaturated fats are in liquid form at room temperature. When dieting people are often concerned with the amount of protein that they take into their bodies. There are various sources of protein such as dairy, meats, eggs, grains, and vegetables.

When planning a diet you should always consult your doctor or a nutritionist to make sure that you are getting the proper amount of nutrients that you need to remain healthy. People mistakenly assume that in order to lose weight and diet they must cut out all carbs and fats out of their daily menu. This is wrong however, and it surprising to know that a certain amount of carbs and fats are needed to support a healthy diet plan.