Nutritional Classification Of Foods

The different groups of foods listed below may be broadly classified under three heads from the nutritional point of view.

  1. Energy yielding foods;
  2. Body building foods and
  3. Protective foods.

Energy Yielding Foods

The group includes foods rich in carbohydrates and also fats. They may be broadly divided into two groups: (1) Cereals, roots and tubers and (2) Carbohydrates and Fats. Cereals provide, in addition to energy the greater part of the proteins, certain minerals and vitamins in the deits of the low income groups in the developing countries. Roots and tubers also provide some amounts of proteins, minerals and vitamins while pure carbohydrates and fats provide only energy.

Body Building Foods

Foods rich in proteins are called body building foods. These may be broadly divided into two groups: (a) Milk, egg and fish rich in proteins of high biological value and (b) pulses, oilseeds and nuts and low fat oilseed flours rich in proteins of medium nutritive value.

Protective Foods

Foods rich in proteins, vitamins and minerals are termed protective foods. Protective foods are broadly classified into two groups: (a) Foods rich in vitamins, minerals and proteins of high biological value e.g.., milk, egg, fish and liver and (b) Foods rich in certain vitamins and minerals only e.g., green leafy vegetables and some fruits.

Here is some more food for thought!

A new type of food classification based on the extent and purpose of industrial food processing has come into vogue for the benefit of consumers. There are three broad groups based on the type and intensity of food processing that have become common in all the countries.

Food processing is a series of operations by which the unprocessed foods are converted into foodstuffs to prolong their duration, enable storage, and reduce (or abolish) time/effort spent in culinary procedures.

Types of food processing

  1. Minimally processed foods: These edible items have minimal modifications of whole foods to prolong their duration, enable storage, and reduce time/effort in their culinary preparation.
    Examples: cleaned, chilled or frozen, vacuum packed fruits and vegetables; dried and packaged grains, pasteurised milk, plain yogurt and frozen meat. Health impact: Positive
  2. Processed culinary ingredients: This refers to the extraction of substances fromwhole foods enabling the manufacture of highly storable ingredients used in the culinary elaboration of dishes and meals made from whole foods.
    Examples: Refined oils, fats, sugar, starches and flours.
    Health impact: Positive if used wisely
  3. Ultra-processed products (UPP): Extraction of substances from whole foods followed by their subsequent assembling (usually with lots of additives and little or no whole food), enabling the manufacture of long shelf-life, ultra-palatable, ready-to-consume products.
    Examples: Breads, cookies, cakes, pastries, chips, cereal bars, savoury or sweet snacks in general, pizza, burgers, nuggets, ready dishes, meals in general and soft drinks.
    Health impact: Increasingly negative

What is wrong with ultra-processed products (UPP)?

Overall, when compared to whole or minimally processed foods and culinary ingredients, UPPs have:

  • less protein
  • less fibre
  • more free sugar
  • more total, saturated and trans fats
  • more sodium
  • and for solid products, more energy per volume

Mechanisms linking UPP to overeating and obesity:

  • High energy density (all UPP)
  • Liquid calories (all sugared beverages)
  • Hyper-palatability (all UPP)
  • Super-size servings (several UPP)
  • Mindless eating (all UPP)
  • Aggressive marketing (all UPP)

Food types based on personalities

We are what we eat as the saying goes. But it may be the other way around.Who we are determines what we eat.More precisely, how we eat. While God has created each individual in his or her unique way, the human behaviour too follows distinct patterns.

To put in other words, the way we do things is part of our personality – and that includes our eating habits too. According to sociologists, your lifestyle and eating habits may be pre-determined by your personality

Here are seven broad classifications of food based on the personalities who get habituated to such food menu either by practice or force of circumstance:

1) Accidental diner:

They love to munch. They are often unconscious of their eating habits and do not discriminate between foods on the basis of nutritional quality, freshness, or calorie content. Meals are rarely planned ahead of time and shopping decisions are typically made spontaneously, based on convenience and accessibility. Excessive food consumption and bingeing can occur with feelings of boredom or frustration.

2) Irregular diner:

These people typically pay little attention to their nutritional needs. Eating is considered a mere necessity. Food is consumed like fuel in order to keep functioning. Quality and presentation are of minor importance. By the time they remember to eat, they are ravenous, eat quickly and often overindulge.

3) Habitual diner:

As the name indicates, habitual diners prefer all things in keeping with a certain routine. Many of their habits are acquired during adolescence or young adulthood, such as smoking, drinking or enjoying certain foods. If reminded that their behaviour could become detrimental to their health, they like to point out that it never caused them reason for concern in the past.

4) Social diner:

They easily adapt their habits to the people around them. Eating together is considered as an act of sharing, belonging, friendship or love. Preparing food for others is a way of expressing affection, nurturing and support. For them, dining out is at the core of romance. Gathering for a meal is part of every celebration. Unfortunately, by focusing primarily on others, social diners have a tendency to forget about themselves and neglect to take care of their own needs.

5) Tragic-romantic diner:

It is not uncommon for tragic-romantic diners to develop dysfunctional and sometimes even destructive eating patterns. The spectrum may range from morbid obesity to life-threatening anorexia. Many suffer from addiction to alcohol, nicotine or drugs. Although most of them are keenly aware of their situation, a deep sense of helplessness can keep them from making positive changes.

6) Reformed diner:

People sometimes become reformed diners during or in the aftermath of a health crisis. Coming face to face with their vulnerability, they want their normal lives back as quickly as possible. If that requires radical lifestyle changes, so be it. Once they discover the benefits and positive results become evident, they are hooked.

With the zest of a “born-again” believer, they follow strict diets, rigorous work-out schedules, read every publication on the subject and generously dish out free advice to everyone who is willing to listen.

7) Healthy diner:

In order to become a healthy diner, it is essential to understand the close relationship between one’s eating habits and one’s personality. While “health” is a relative and temporary state, the need to be healthy is not. Regardless of age, physical condition, medical history or genetic make-up, the quest for well-being is universal. This includes far more than the absence of disease or pain.

Whether someone tries to make lifestyle changes to get more energy, lose weight, prolong youth, cope with disabilities or overcome a chronic illness, the goal is always the same: Being well.

Becoming a healthy diner involves more than revision and (if necessary) modification of one’s eating habits. Having the right relationship to food is only one aspect of good health. Taking care of our intellectual, emotional and social needs is just as important as our physical well-being.

We all share these facets of human nature, and yet in each of us they present themselves differently. By acknowledging these differences, we have a better chance to find our own path to a healthy life.

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