Nutrition & Food

Get answers to your questions about nutrients and supplements, and all of your nutritional health concerns.

Featured Topics

Nutrition Basics

Nutrition Basics

The basics of good nutrition begin with the USDA's food guide pyramid, called MyPyramid, and knowing how to read nutrition labels. It is important to understand how metabolism works and the role of proper serving sizes. Diet professionals such as dietitians can develop individualized nutrition plans for people with specific needs (e.g., patients with diabetes).

  • Caffeine
  • Diet Professionals
  • Dietary Guidelines
  • Food Guide Pyramid
  • Food Safety
  • Genetically Modified Foods
  • Malnutrition
  • Metabolism
  • Nutrition Labels & Claims
  • Proteins
  • Serving Sizes
  • Taste Basics
Carbs & Sugars

Carbs & Sugars

Carbohydrates (or simply carbs) are macronutrients that make up a large portion of most diets. They are found in fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, dairy products and other foods. Fiber is a type of carb that the body cannot digest. Sugar substitutes include artificial sweeteners (e.g., aspartame, saccharin, sucralose) and alternate sweeteners (e.g., honey).

  • Carbohydrates
  • Fiber
  • Grains
  • Sugar Substitutes
  • Sugars


Nutrients needed by the body in small amounts to help it function properly and stay strong. People require small amounts of about 25 minerals for good health. Examples include calcium, chromium, copper, iodine, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, zinc and more.

  • Mineral Basics
  • Calcium
  • Chromium
  • Copper
  • Iodine
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • Selenium
  • Zinc

Fats & Oils

Fats and oils are one category of the three major energy sources in food. Unsaturated fats, such as those from fish oils, are healthier than saturated fats and trans fats, which have been linked to higher risk of heart disease. Fat substitutes are compounds that are used in place of fat.

  • Fat Substitutes
  • Fats & Oils
  • Saturated Fat
  • Trans Fat
  • Unsaturated Fat

Learn more about Nutrition & Food

Functional Foods

Functional foods provide potential health benefits beyond their basic nutrition. They may provide antioxidants, which reduce damage caused by oxidative stress. Cranberries and some teas are examples of functional foods. Flaxseed offers heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Oats are an excellent source of soluble fiber. The benefits of soy are still being researched.

  • Flaxseed
  • Functional Foods
  • Oats
  • Soy
  • Tea
  • Tomatoes

Herbs & Supplements

Herbs are plants with probable medicinal properties. Herbal supplements are available without a prescription. Supplements may provide concentrated amounts of a compound (phytochemical) within the herb or a capsule, tablet or similar form. Probiotics and prebiotics, which may help balance digestive bacteria, are also found in supplements.

  • DHEA
  • Echinacea
  • Ginkgo Biloba
  • Ginseng
  • Glucosamine & Chondroitin
  • Herbal Therapy
  • Phytochemicals
  • Probiotics & Prebiotics
  • St John's Wort
  • Supplements


Vitamins are fat-soluble or water-soluble organic chemicals necessary in small amounts for good health. Humans require 13 different types of vitamins for normal function and must obtain them from plant and animal foods in their diet. Vitamins A, C and E are antioxidants. B vitamins are important in metabolic activity and in making red blood cells.

  • Antioxidants
  • B Vitamins
  • Beriberi
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin Basics
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin C & Infections
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K
  • Vitamins & Oral Health

Water & Hydration

Water is a colorless, tasteless, odorless substance essential to all known forms of life. It is composed of hydrogen and oxygen and is the most abundant macronutrient in the diet. The body is made up of approximately 60 percent water. Dehydration occurs when the body loses too much water. This condition can be caused by diarrhea, vomiting and being in high temperatures.

  • Dehydration
  • Water & Oral Health
  • Water Basics
  • Water vs Sports Drinks