Our bodies need food in order to function properly. Human beings eat for more reasons than actual hunger, however.
Very often, we eat simply because we want to eat. Our love affair with food is the basis of the culinary profession. Chefs have always been in the business of preparing and presenting foods that do much more than fill an empty belly.
It’s precisely because chefs have the job of enticing us to the table that needed to incorporate lessons from nutrition about food and health in what prepare on a plate.
At the same time that nearly every industrialized country is reporting a growing number of overweight and obese citizens, we are also growing increasingly aware of the relationship between the foods we eat and the consequences to our health. Nutrition is the study of how foods affect us.
Simply eating “enough” is not sufficient to ensure that a diet is healthy. It is vital that we consume enough of the right foods. The appropriate foods are those that supply us with a full array of all the nutrients we need in order to be properly nourished.
In 1900, Escoffier used to talk about the “nutritive” aspects of a dish. However, at that time we were just beginning to identify the elements in foods necessary to maintain or improve our health.
Because nutrition is a dynamic science, our knowledge of it changes as studies unveil new and sometimes contradictory findings. Behind the controversies and inconsistencies there remain some basic principles.
We know, for instance, that getting the “right” foods generally means eating a variety of foods; no single food contains enough of all the important nutrients our bodies need.
This section is a brief overview of those nutrients, as well as some basic concepts in nutrition: