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Basic Nutrition Value In Food Service

Americans are increasingly making lifestyle choices and changes that contribute to healthier living. Food Service organizations are selling less alcohol today than a decade ago. Guests are choosing smaller portion sizes and demanding more foods that are low in fat, sodium, cholesterol, and sugar than in years past. Vegetarian menu items are appealing to a growing number of those who consume meals away from home. Nutritional and health issue are not fads, but trends that are expected to grow in importance with the graying of America.

Nutrition Basics:
An understanding of the fundamentals of nutrition is a foundation for exceeding guests’ expectations. Food consist of its building blocks: nutrients. The kind of qualities of nutrients, along with their order and arrangement, determine the characteristics of a food product.

Much of the nutrients content of the raw materials used in food service kitchens is determined by genetic makeup of the plant or animal. Nutrient quality is also influenced by the kind of fertilizer or feed. Once the food is harvested, however, its nutrients profile changes. Some changes are out of an operation’s control. Others can be managed, to an extent. For example, the organization controls:

How food are received Storage conditions—including light, temperature, time, and relative humidity Handling conditions—whether the product is thawed, frozen, or canned Hoe the food is prepared and served

The objective should be to avoid losing any more nutrients than necessary.

The six nutrient classes are:

Proteins Carbohydrates Lipids (fats and oils) Vitamins Minerals Water

Of these six, four are organic—proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, and vitamins; minerals and water are inorganic. An organic compound contains the element carbon, which can be chemically bond with many other elements. The word organic is often misunderstood. Some believe that “organic” signifies quality. For example, some believe that organic vitamin C taken from oranges is better than synthetic vitamin C manufactured in the laboratory. The truth is that the nutrient profile of both vitamins is exactly the same. While the vitamin C in both cases is the same, additional nutrients (vitamin A, potassium) present in the orange would not be found in the pure vitamin C from the laboratory. Inorganic simply means that the nutrient does not contain carbon.

The three nutrients that provide energy to the human body are proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids. Weight for weight, both proteins and carbohydrates have equal energy values (4 kilocalories per gram), while lipids have over twice as much energy (9 kilocalories per gram).