Your fitness, health, and well-being depend on food and proper nutrition. Yet, knowing what is in the foods we eat, understanding the differences between good and bad fat, learning which foods are good sources of vitamins, keeping up on the latest scientific discoveries, or discerning the effectiveness of different diets can be challenging. To help answer these questions there's The Handy Nutrition Answer Book. Additionally, the book scrutinizes the pros, cons, and effectiveness of the biggest, most popular, and trendiest diets on the market today.
This handy reference examines, explains, and traces the basics of nutrition, the value of vitamins, minerals, fats, proteins, the science behind food-processing and the modern food industry. It traces nutritionand nutritional misconceptionsthroughout history. It explains how to read food labels and what to watch for in food additives. From the newsworthy to the practical and from the medical to the historical, this entertaining and informative book brings the complexity of food and healthy nutrition into focus through the well-researched answers to nearly 900 common questions, such as
How do our muscles obtain energy?
What is a calorie in terms of nutrition?
How are calories measured?
Why do vegetarians need to know about complementary proteins?
How does a person interpret how much fat to eat based on the daily calories they want to consume?
What is omega-9?
How have trans fats in foods changed in the pastand how might they change in the future?
Can dense carbohydrates that are high in fat and calories affect our sleep?
What are some “healthier” natural sweeteners?
What recent study indicated that red wine and dark chocolate are not as healthy as we think?
What are some of the worst ways to cook vegetables that destroy nutrients?
What is the Maillard reaction?
What recent study showed how beer can help grilled foods?
How does human taste work?
Does the percent of water in our system change as we age?
What’s the difference between gluten sensitivity, celiac disease, and wheat intolerance?
What “sugar” can act like a laxative?
What did the ancient Roman soldiers eat?
Why did so many men die from starvation during the American Civil War?
What does the word “natural” mean on a label?
Why will food labels change in the near future?
What are genetically modified organisms (GMOs)?
Is there a controversy concerning farmed fish versus wild-caught fish?
What is irradiation of food?
Why is high fructose corn syrup so controversial?
How can diet help with premenopausal symptoms in women?
Can soy products lower my cholesterol?
Why do some people seem to eat whatever they wantand still lose or maintain their weight?
About the Author
Patricia Barnes-Svarney is a science and science-fiction writer. Over the past few decades, she has written or coauthored more than 35 books, including Visible Ink Press’ The Handy Biology Answer Book, The Handy Math Answer Book, and The Handy Ocean Answer Book. She is the author of When the Earth Moves: Rogue Earthquakes, Tremors, and Aftershocks, and she was also the editor/author of the award-winning New York Public Library Science Desk Reference.
Thomas E. Svarney is a scientist who has written extensively about the natural world. His books, with Patricia Barnes-Svarney, include Visible Ink Press’ The Handy Biology Answer Book, The Handy Math Answer Book, and The Handy Ocean Answer Book, and he is also the author of Skies of Fury: Weather Weirdness around the World and The Oryx Guide to Natural History.
Table of Contents
Photo Credits viii
The Basics of Nutrition: Micronutrients 1
Nutrient Basics 1
The Basics of Nutrition: Macronutrients and Non-Nutrients 39
Fats and Fatty Acids 45
Bioflavonoids (Flavonoids) 73
Food Chemistry and Nutrition 77
Foods Defined 77
Inside Meats 78
Inside Vegetables, Fruits, and Legumes 83
Cooking Foods 92
Cooking Vegetables and Legumes 95
Cooking Meat 100
Nutrition in Eating and Drinking Choices 103
The Basics of Eating 103
Seeing, Chewing, and Tasting 104
Is It Good for You? 116
Herbs, Spices, and Nutrition 121
Beverages and Nutrition 128
Water and Us 137
Food Preservation and Nutrition 141
Early Food Preservation 141
Preserving Foods by Cold Storage and Freezing 143
Preserving Foods by Drying, Smoking, and Salting 147
Preserving Foods by Aging, Fermentation, Yeasts, Pickling, and Curdling 150
Preserving Foods by Canning 157
Other Food Preservation Methods 162
Nutrition and Allergies, Illnesses, and Diseases 167
Nutrition and the Immune System 167
Food Allergies and Intolerances 171
Overweight Problems and Obesity 176
Foodborne Illnesses 180
Digestive Illnesses and Diseases 186
Cancer, Diabetes, and Other Illnesses 190
Nutrition and Your Organs 198
Nutrition and the Mouth 203
Foods and Certain Interactions 205
Nutrition Throughout the Centuries 207
The Food Chain 207
Early Human Ancestors and Food 210
Later Foods and Nutrition 215
Nutrition in Religion and Cultures 219
Nutrition and Crisis 226
Modern Nutrition 233
Food Safety 239
Food Labeling 244
Nutrition, Food, and the Future 253
Controversies with Food, Beverages, and Nutrition 259
Problems with Additives and Drugs in Food 259
Genetic Manipulation and Food 264
Major Controversies with Foods 267
Problems with Beverages 276
Water Controversies 279
Major Problems with Nutrients 281
Problems with Supplements 283
Nutrition Throughout Life 287
General Nutrition 287
Nutrition for Infants and Pregnant and Lactating Women 293
Nutrition for Children, Teens, and Young Adults 299
Nutrition in Adulthood and Older 303
Nutrition and You 309
Your Nutrition, Health, and Numbers 309
You and Supplements 314
Nutrition and Food Myths … or Not 316
How Foods Affect You 322
You, Nutrition, and the Internet 325
Appendix 1 Food Safety Websites 333
Appendix 2 Nutrition Websites 335
Appendix 3 Comparing Diets 337
Further Reading 353