The science of nutrition and healthy eating
The science of nutrition and healthy eating

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

The science of nutrition and healthy eating

1.3 The components of food

The reasons given for eating are many and complex. Everyone probably eats for different reasons at different times of the day and on different days. Ultimately, we need to eat to stay alive, but what do we need to eat?

Our bodies are made up of many tens of thousands of different chemical molecules. The food we eat needs to contain enough raw materials to produce all of these molecules while we are growing, and to repair and replace them once we become adults. Food must also give us the energy we need to live. If we take in lots more food than is needed, the excess can be converted into fat and stored.

On all manufactured food in the UK, you will find a label on the back or side of the packaging (see Figure 3). There is usually a label on the front too, which carries some slightly different information. If you have not already done so, this is a good time for you to start collecting some food labels, which will be used at various stages during the course.

Described image
Figure 3 Nutrition information on a typical food label

For now, we will concentrate on the components of food listed in Figure 3 below ‘Energy’. They are not always listed in the same order, so we will start with protein.


Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371