A Dictionary of Food and Nutrition

A Dictionary of Food and Nutrition

A Dictionary of Food and Nutrition

A Dictionary of Food and Nutrition


This book is intended for all who have an interest in food and nutrition, be it as consumers concerned about the health or otherwise of their diets, as cooks, food manufacturers, and salespeople, concerned about what they produce and sell, or as students of health and human sciences, who must understand, interpret, and communicate information to others.

These days the consumer is faced with dietary advice ranging from government publications to magazines, newspapers, and radio and TV programmes, not to mention food labels that almost require a training in chemistry and physiology to be understood, scare stories in the press, and claims and counter-claims in advertising.

Many of the terms used are technical, and few people can understand all of them. This dictionary is intended to help such understanding. It provides clear, authoritative definitions of some 6,000 terms associated with all aspects of food and nutrition, diet and health that may be encountered on food labels, in advertising, and in the media, as well as culinary terms that may be encountered in menus, cookery books, novels, and films. To help make decisions about which foods are nutritionally valuable, there are notes on those that are good sources of major nutrients.

Most textbooks and reference works list the nutrients present in foods as the amount present in 100 g (3½ oz), but a portion of some foods, such as bread or potatoes, could be much larger, while for other foods a portion may be only a few grams. Furthermore, the amount of any particular nutrient in a food varies with the agricultural variety of the food, or the breed of the animals, the growing conditions, and how it has been handled and cooked since cropping. The average vitamin and mineral content of some foods, such as bread and milk, varies less than others, such as lettuce and carrots. Therefore, without the analysis (and weight) of the particular samples, the vitamin and mineral contents of food are very approximate.

To help to assess the relative nutritional value of foods, we have taken the averages of the analysed values, and expressed them as rich, good, or simply 'sources' of the nutrients in an average-sized portion or serving, using the reference intakes of nutrients used for food labelling in the European Union (Appendix VI). A rich source of a nutrient provides at least 30%, good sources 20-30%, and sources 10-20% of the reference intake. Foods that are not listed as sources of nutrients, because they supply less than 10% of the reference intake in a serving, may nevertheless make a significant contribution to an overall diet.

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