Glossary of Nutrition Terms


Nutrition terms are listed alphabetically. To go to a specific term, select the letter to the right.  




A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z


AMINO ACIDS The building blocks of protein.
ANOREXIA Eating Disorder that leads to a potentially fatal low body weight.
ANTHROPOMETRIC Relating to measurement of the physical characteristics of the body such as height and weight.
(Body Composition Analysis)
Determines percent of body fat and percent of lean body tissue (lean body mass).
BEHAVIORAL GUIDANCE Provides nutritional counseling to learn proper eating habits.
BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION The changing of behavior by the manipulation of cues and environment factors that trigger behavior. The changing of behavior itself.
A method of body composition analysis based on electrical conductance and the greater electrical conductivity of fat-free mass.
BLOOD PRESSURE The pressure of the blood on the walls of the arteries.
(Body Mass Index)
An index of a person's weight in relation to height, determined by dividing the weight (in kilograms) by the square of the height (in meters).
(Basal Metabolic Rate)
The rate of energy used for metabolism when the body is at complete rest.
BULIMIA Eating disorder characterized by binge eating, sometimes followed by vomiting or purging.
CAFFEINE A natural stimulant found in many common foods and beverages, including coffee, tea and chocolate.
CALORIE Unit of heat, measurement of energy.
CARBOHYDRATE A compound composed of sugars.
COMPLETE PROTEIN A protein containing all the essential amino acids.
COUNSELING The professional guidance of an individual in a specific area.
DIABETES TYPE 1 Insulin Dependent-persons body does not produce insulin at all.
DIABETES TYPE 2 Non-Insulin Dependent-persons body does produce insulin but fat cells resist the insulin. Majority of cases are due to obesity.
DIET To eat sparingly or according to prescribed rules.
Records electrical impulses of the heart.
ELECTROLYTES Essential elements necessary for cell function to regulate the distribution of body fluids, (Ex. sodium, potassium).
ENERGY METABOLISM The reactions by which the body obtains and spends the energy from food.
ENZYME A protein that facilitates chemical reactions without itself being changed in the process.
ESSENTIAL AMINO ACIDS Amino acids that the body cannot make in sufficient amounts to meet physiological needs and must come from foods we consume.
EXCHANGE LISTS Diet planning tools that organize foods by their nutrient and energy contents. Foods on any single list can be used interchangeably.
FIBER A general term denoting the structural part of plants. They are not digested by human digestive enzymes, although some are digested by the gastrointestinal tract bacterial.
GLUCOSE A monosaccharide, sometimes known as blood sugar.
HIGH QUALITY PROTEIN A protein that is easily digestible and a complete protein.
HYPERGLYCEMIA Increase in blood sugar.
HYPERTENSION Elevated blood pressure.
HYPOGLYCEMIA Deficiency of glucose in the blood, low blood sugar.
HYPOTENSION Low blood pressure.
IDEAL BODY WEIGHT The weight appropriate for an individual that results in a body mass index of 20-25.
INSULIN A hormone secreted by special cells in the pancreas in response to increased blood glucose (blood sugar) concentrations.
LACTOSE The main carbohydrate in milk (milk sugar).
LACTOSE INTOLERANCE A condition that results from inability to digest the milk sugar-lactose.
LEAN BODY MASS The fat-free mass or part of the body including all its components except fat storage.
LIPIDS A family of compounds that includes triglycerides (fats and oils), phospholipids and sterols.
METABOLISM The sum total of all the chemical reactions that go on in living cells; also the transformation by which energy is made available for the uses of the organism.
MINERALS Inorganic elements; some minerals are essential nutrients required in small amounts.
MONOSACCHARIDE A carbohydrate that consists of a single ring.
MORBID OBESITY 100% to 149% above ideal body weight.
NUTRIENTS Substances obtained from food and used in the body to provide energy and structural materials and to regulate growth, maintenance and repair of the body's tissue.
OBESITY A chronic disease characterized by excessively high body fat in relation to lean body tissue.
OVERWEIGHT An excess of body weight that includes fat, bone and muscle.
PLATEAU (WEIGHT) Reaching a level or period of stability.
PROTEIN An energy yielding nutrient.
(Recommended Daily Allowance)
The amounts of energy and selected nutrients considered adequate to meet the nutrient needs of practically all healthy people.
(Reference Daily Intakes)
Food labeling values for protein, vitamins and minerals based on population-adjusted means of the RDA.
SATURATED FAT Fatty acids that have all the hydrogen they can hold on their chemical chains. They mainly come from animal foods.
TESTIMONIAL A statement testifying to benefits received.
TRIGLYCERIDES The scientific name for the common form of fat, found in both the body and in foods. Most body fat is stored in the form of triglycerides.
UNSATURATED FAT (Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated) are missing one or more hydrogen pairs on their chemical chains. They mainly come from vegetable sources and fish.
VEGETARIANS A general term used to describe people who exclude meat, poultry, fish or other animal-derived foods from their diets.
VITAMINS Organic, essential nutrients required in small amounts.