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Nutrition Dictionary

Updated: Jan 13, 2022

This is your dictionary for all things nutrition related! I will continuously be adding to this dictionary so you can continue to learn what nutrition terms mean. If there is ever a blog post that I use a nutrition word you aren't familiar with - check here! If it is not here, please keep me accountable and message me the word and I will personally get back to you and add it to this dictionary for you!


Amino acids - small molecules that are the building blocks of proteins

Antioxidants - substances that may protect your cells against free radicals (see definition for Free Radicals)

Basal Metabolic Rate (aka Metabolic Rate): the number of calories your body needs to accomplish its most basic (basal) life-sustaining functions.

Calories - a unit of energy. When you hear something contains 100 calories, it's a way of describing how much energy your body could get from eating or drinking it.

Carbohydrate - or carbs, are sugar molecules. Our body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose. /// {scientific def.} an organic compound occurring in foods and living tissues and including sugars, starch, and cellulose that play a vital role in all life.

Fat - term used to describe a class of macronutrients used in metabolism called triglycerides. Fats provide a means of storing energy for most living organisms, as well as act as a food source.

Fatty acids - the building blocks of the fat in our bodies and in the food we eat.

Free Radicals - molecules produced when your body breaks down food or when you're exposed to tobacco smoke or radiation.

Glucose - a simple sugar which is the main source of energy for your body's cells, tissues, and organs.

Macronutrients - a type of food (e.g. fat, protein, carbohydrate) required in large amounts in the diet

Micronutrients - a chemical element or substance required in trace amounts for the normal growth and development of living organisms.

Minerals - those elements on the earth and in foods that our bodies need to develop and function normally. Those essential for health include calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, chloride, magnesium, iron, zinc, iodine, chromium, copper, fluoride, molybdenum, manganese, and selenium

Phytochemical - compounds that are produced by plants ("phyto" means "plant"). They are found in fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, and other plants.

Preservative - a substance or a chemical that is added to products such as food products, beverages, pharmaceutical drugs, paints, biological samples, cosmetics, wood, and many other products to prevent decomposition by microbial growth or by undesirable chemical changes.

Protein - a macronutrient that is essential to building muscle mass. It is commonly found in animal products, though is also present in other sources, such as nuts and legumes.

Triglycerides - a type of fat (lipid) found in your blood. When you eat, your body converts any calories it doesn't need to use right away into triglycerides. The triglycerides are stored in your fat cells.

Vitamins - substances that our bodies need to develop and function normally. They include vitamins A, C, D, E, and K, choline, and the B vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and folate/folic acid).

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