A food pyramid tells us about what food to eat and in what amount to stay healthy. Food is everything we eat i.e. nutrients (including micronutrients, macronutrients, and minerals) But all the food is not healthy. There are 5 food groups which are the building blocks of the food pyramid. Snacks are at the top of the food pyramid which shows that they must be intake in a small amount.
How much energy different foods contain?
We measure energy in calories
- I gram of protein has 4 kcal
- 1 gram of pure fat has 9 kcal
- 1 gram of pure carbohydrate has 4 kcal
Different people need a different amount of nutrient
The number of nutrients a person needs to depend on the following things:
Age: The amount of food an older person needs is different from the amount a child needs. Growing children needs milk to grow strong teeth and bones, proteins to build muscles, and carbohydrates for energy. Older people will need these in smaller amounts as their body only needs to maintain itself.
Gender: A male needs more calories than a female body because of the way their body is made up.
Activity level: People who lead active lives need more calories and nutrients in larger amounts than those who spend more time sitting.
Climate: the diet of people living in a hot climate is different from that of people living in cool climates.
Health: The nutrients one needs during illness are different from those one would need when healthy
Calories burnt by different activities
The energy that we get from food helps us to do work and perform different functions. When this energy is used up the calories that we have taken in the form ‘food’ get burnt. Here is a chart to describe how many calories burnt during each type of activity.
How much energy does a person need?
The energy each person gets through food has to meet their energy requirements. When the energy intake is less than the energy used up during activities, the person losses weight. When the energy intake is more than the energy used up the person gains weight.