Food is essential to our everyday capability to operate. However, eating the right food is vital to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Food is essential to our everyday capability to function. However, eating the right food is vital to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Understanding which foods contain certain vitamins and effect particular benefits is the core of nutrition.

In order to eat a healthy diet diners should consumer a variety of different food types in the right proportions. Typically, nutritionists divide foods into five types: fruit and vegetables, staples carbohydrates, milk and dairy, meat and fish and energy drinks.

Each of these sections have different benefits and should be consumed in different quantities. Fruit and vegetables provide vitamins and minerals which research suggests can protect against cancer and other chronic diseases. Staple carbohydrates are the body's main source of energy, while dairy is essential for the growth of bones but should be eaten in moderation due to its high fat content.

Meat and fish provide the body with protein, which helps repair cells, while energy drinks should be drunk occasionally for bursts of sugar.

A healthy meal should be based on starchy foods, complimented by a form of protein and a small amount of dairy, while fruit and vegetables should be amply consumed.

Nutritional Information

Nutritional information is calculated in laboratories and displayed on the packaging of food to better educate consumers as to what they are eating. It is often used by dieters to calculate how many calories they are consuming in a meal or what percentage of fat has gone into their meal.

Nutritional Values

Nutritional information is often presented as a set of numeric values, to make it easier for consumers to digest. For example, energy is often given in kJ or kcal, while protein carbohydrates and fat are issued in grams. All values are given per 100 grams and often again per serving.

What legally goes on your food labels

With concerns about obesity levels rising, manufacturers are now legally obliged to published their products' nutritional values on their packaging where a claim has been made about its contents, such as 'low in fat' or 'high in fibre'. Many manufacturers volunteer this information.

A traffic light system has recently been introduced to certain sugary foods, such as cereals, which are perceived as healthy products but can in reality be anything but. The system uses a red light to indicate a product high in fat, sugar or sale, while green lights indicate the item contains sensible levels.

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