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The Principles of Nutrition
• Outline why the science of nutrition is
• Briefly outline macronutrients &
• Outline the importance of hydration
• Identify what is a balanced diet
• Most people grow well and stay healthy
provided that they get enough of a variety of
food to eat, wherever they live in the world
• A knowledge of nutrition principles is
important for all of us
• The science of nutrition is the study of all
processes of growth, maintenance and repair
of the living body that depend upon the
digestion of food, and the study of that food
(Department of Health, 2012)
Food is any solid or liquid that, when
swallowed can supply any of the
• Material from which the body can
produce movement, heat or
other forms of energy
• Material for growth, repair or
• Substances necessary to regulate
the production of energy or the
processes of growth and repair
The components of foods that have
these functions are called
(Department of Health, 2012)
The following types of nutrients may be present in foods:
• Carbohydrates: which provide the body with energy; excess
may also be converted into body fat
• Fats: which provide energy in a more concentrated form
than carbohydrates and may also be converted into body
• Proteins: which provide materials (amino acids) for growth
and repair. They can be converted into carbohydrates and
used to provide energy
As these are all needed in relatively large quantities they are
often referred to as macronutrients
(Department of Health, 2012)
• Vitamins and minerals are required to help
regulate body processes and for growth and
• Vitamins and minerals are needed only in
small quantities and are sometimes referred
to as micronutrients
(Department of Health, 2012)
The major minerals are:
• Calcium
• Iron
• Magnesium
• Phosphorus
• Potassium
• Sodium
Helps with the healing of wounds and is
associated with the activity of a wide variety
of enzymes
Most people should be able to get all the
zinc they need by eating a varied and
balanced diet
When supplements are taken advice is that
taking no more than 25mg of zinc
supplements per day and a higher dose
should be under the supervision of a medical
Trace elements are essential nutrients
that the body requires in order to
function properly but are needed in
smaller amounts
Crab: Almost any kind of crab will be a great source of zinc
Trace elements are found in small
amounts in a variety of foods such as
meat, fish, cereals, milk and diary
foods, vegetables and nuts
Roasted pumpkin and squash Seeds are a good source of zinc
Vitamins are used by the
body everyday
Water-soluble vitamins are
not stored by the body
and are the B vitamins
and vitamin C such as:
• Thiamin (vitamin B1)
• Riboflavin (vitamin B2)
• Niacin (vitamin B3)
• Pyridoxine (vitamin B6)
• Folate (vitamin B9)
• Cobalamin (Vitamin B12)
Fat soluble vitamins are the A
• Vitamin A is essential for vision in
dim light and necessary for the
maintenance of healthy skin and
surface tissues
• Beta –carotene a good source of
vitamin A
• The yellow carotenes are
responsible for the yellow or
orange colours of many fruits and
• The main food sources of Bcarotene are red, yellow and
green (leafy) vegetables such as
carrots, red peppers and spinach
and yellow fruits such as mango
and apricots
Vitamin D
Vitamin D helps to maintain bone mineralisation by ensuring
an appropriate supply of calcium in the blood
Most people should be able to get all the vitamin D they need
by eating a healthy, balanced diet and getting some
summer sun
Infants and children who are deprived of vitamin D develop
rickets with deformed bones
In extreme cases, low levels of vitamin D resulting in low
levels of calcium can cause heart failure
Some adults are at risk from bone softening (osteomalacia)
resulting in skeletal pain and bone fractures because they
absorb too little calcium from a diet low in calcium and
vitamin D
Vitamin K
Vitamin K is a group of
compounds necessary for
the normal clotting of blood
Deficiency can occur in a very
few newborn babies and so
to counteract this are given
a supplement of vitamin K
at birth
It also occurs in rare
individuals who cannot
absorb or utilise the vitamin
What is Hydration?
• From Hydrate – ‘cause to absorb or combine with water’
• Aim to avoid dehydration
Caused by
• Poor intake
• GI losses e.g. diarrhoea, vomiting
• Lung/skin losses
• Excessive urine losses
• Symptoms include – headache, mild confusion, postural hypotension,
fatigue, thirst, dark urine, reduced skin turgor
• Decreased skin turgor is a late sign in dehydration. It occurs with moderate
to severe dehydration. Fluid loss of 5% of the body weight is considered
mild dehydration, 10% is moderate, and 15% or more is severe
• Humans are 50-70%
• Healthy adults should
drink 1.5-3 litres (6-8
glasses) of liquid every
• More in hot weather
and if physically active
• Various sources (include
non-caffeine fluids)
How do we measure hydration?
• Body weight
 Oedema
• Fluid balance charts
 Intake – oral, IV, NG, IV drugs
 Output- urine, bowel, vomit, sweat
• Urine colour
• Blood results
 Sodium, Potassium and Urea levels
The eatwell plate
Fruit and
Meat, fish,
eggs, beans
And other non
dairy sources
of protein
Bread, rice,
Pasta and
other starchy
Milk and
dairy foods
Food and drinks high in fat and or sugar
The food groups of the eatwell plate
• Fruit and vegetables
• Bread, rice, potatoes, pasta and other starchy
• Milk and dairy foods
• Meat, fish, eggs, beans and other non-dairy
sources of protein.
• Food and drinks high in fat and/or sugar
Fruit and vegetables
• One third of the diet should be made up of
these foods
• This group provides:
– Dietary fibre;
– Vitamins A, C;
– Minerals;
– Water or fluid
Fruit and vegetables
• Fruit and vegetables are good sources of dietary fibre,
vitamins and minerals
• Try to eat at least five portions a day
• Eat a wide variety of different fruits and vegetables
• These are high in dietary fibre which keeps the gut healthy
• Fruit and vegetables are also low in energy and fat which can
help to maintain a healthy weight
Bread, rice, potatoes and pasta
and other starchy foods.
• One third of the diet should be made up of
these foods.
• This group provides:
– Carbohydrate;
– Dietary fibre;
– B vitamins;
– Minerals, e.g. iron and calcium
Milk and dairy foods
• A moderate amount of these foods are
needed in the diet
• This group provides:
– Protein;
– Calcium;
– Vitamin A
Milk and dairy foods
• This group is made up of milk, yogurt and
cheese, however should be lower fat varieties
where possible
• Children under the age of 2 should be offered
whole or full fat products
Meat, fish, eggs, beans and
other non-dairy sources of protein
• A moderate amount of these foods are
needed in the diet
• This group provides:
– Protein;
– Vitamins, e.g. A, B, D;
– Minerals, e.g. iron
Meat, fish, eggs, beans and
other non-dairy sources of protein
• This group is made up of meat, fish, eggs, and
• Also, choosing lean meat and not adding fat
when cooking will reduce the amount of fat in
the diet
Meat, fish, eggs, beans and
other non-dairy sources of protein
• Two portions of fish should be consumed
twice a week, one of which should be oily
• This is because oily fish contains omega 3 fatty
acids and believed to be good for heart health
• Examples of oily fish are salmon, herring and
Food and drinks high in fat
and/or sugar
• Foods from this group are not necessary for a
healthy diet, but can be enjoyed occasionally.
• These foods should be eaten in small amounts
• This group provides:
– Fat;
– Carbohydrate (sugars)
Food and drinks high in fat
and/or sugar
• This group is made up of food and drinks high in
fat and/or sugar
• There are many different types of these foods
available. For example,
– Foods high in fat: oil, chips, cake.
– Foods high in sugar: sweets, cakes, and some
carbonated drinks
• These foods should only be eaten occasionally
and in small amounts
• Salt does not appear on the eatwell plate
• It is estimated that 75% of the salt we eat comes
from the food we buy, such as bread and cereal
products, meat products and some ready meals.
It is important to check the labels when buying
• Salt intake can be further reduced by not adding
salt to food during cooking or at the table
• The eatwell plate shows some fluids such as
milk and fruit juice in food groups
• Water, tea and coffee are not shown, but can
form a large part of the body’s fluid intake
• All food and drinks count towards fluid intake,
except alcoholic drinks
Fluid - alcohol
• Alcohol does not feature on the eatwell plate,
but those who drink there are
– Males - no more than 3-4 units per day
– Women - no more than 2-3 units per day
• Over consumption of alcohol, or binge
drinking should be avoided
Healthy Eating Pyramid
Foods high in fats and sugars: take
only small amounts from this group
Meat, fish and dairy: take
something from this group
Fruit and vegetables: take 5
portions a day from this group
Carbohydrates: take most
food from this group (rice,
pasta, bread, potatoes)
To summarise the main points
from this presentation:
• A healthy diet is a balanced
diet eating a variety of
foods in the right
• Consuming the right
amount of food and drink to
achieve a healthy body
Department of Health (2012) Manual of Nutrition (12th Edition)
Surrey: The Stationary Office
National Patient Safety Agency (2008) Water: The Forgotten
Nutrient Source [On-line]
(Accessed 20th February 2013)