A Guide to Understanding the Food pyramid
Food is any material eaten to supply nutrition to an organism. It can be in the form of vegetables, fruits, nuts, and even prepared or cooked food (e.g., food served at a restaurant). Food is generally of animal, plant or fungi origin, and comprises essential nutrients, including proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, or minerals, which are required by the body for its proper growth and maintenance. The specific food components that are required by different organisms are called nutrition substances, which are necessary for the growth and maintenance of an organism’s tissues, organs, cells and systems. Different nutrients are important for a variety of organisms and therefore differ in type and quantity in foods.
There are four classes of nutrition substances, i.e., carbohydrates, protein, fat, and fruits and vegetables. Carbohydrates, such as sugar and starch, are the major component of food, and are the source of energy and nutrients for living things. These are the major source of nourishment eaten by human beings. Carbohydrates may be in the form of cereal products, legumes (i.e., beans), fruits, vegetables, breads and other bakery items, dairy products, meats and other meat-based products, cereals, potatoes, seeds, and oil.
A major group of nutritionally important foods are those that constitute the group of primary food or primary source of nourishment eaten by human beings. Animal foods constitute the largest part of our diet, but plant foods are also important. Among these food groups, legumes (e.g., beans) rank high, because they contain most of the nutritive value of animal food. People who eat too few animal products may become deficient in some of the important nutrients of which legumes are a major source, such as protein, iron, zinc, Vitamin B12, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, potassium, and riboflavinoids.