Food is the fuel the body needs to replenish itself with. Each civilization has given profound importance to food types and consumption patterns.
Hence, it can be easily assumed that food has the power to influence bodily metabolism and organ health directly. After ingestion, food is digested through our gut with the help of various digestive juices and ends in being absorbed in bloodstreams as different types of biomolecules which are known as Nutrients.
If food is the reason, Nutrition is the result. We consume food so that we can obtain proper nutrition.
Nutrition is the process by which important beneficial biomolecules or Nutrients, after reaching their destination within the body, positively helps in functioning, maintaining, or improving important bio metabolisms like building muscles, producing energy, thriving body cells, improving body health, replenish malnourishment, and strengthening immunity.
Theses Nutrients are of two types.
The next chart is an overall idea about the different types of nutrients and their functions.
||Muscle Development and Cell Proliferation
||Energy production, storage energy
||Hormone production, Hormonal balance maintenance, Bone development, and density maintenance, Eyesight development, and maintenance, Reproductive organ health maintenance, Immunity boosting, etc.
||Electrolyte equilibrium maintenance, Helping in energy production, Muscle work, Brain development, Nervous functions, etc.
Now that we have understood the importance of food, nutrition, and nutrients, and their major functions in our body, let us further focus the light on the matter of what is Nutritional Analysis and why it is of such utmost importance.
Nutritional Analysis is the scientifically set stepwise process of assessing the types, amount, and nature of nutrients available in a given food sample. In India, Nutritional Analysis Methods are standardized and set by FSSAI.
The importance of nutritional analysis has several spectrums. There are as follows:
- Food Nutrition Analysis helps in the detailed and perfect determination of the component nutrients present in any food item.
- Food components have vast bio metabolic roles and could affect human health severely.
- If the consumer has a clear idea about the food component, he or she may choose or reject specific food items according to his or her health condition.
- As an example, khichdi is more beneficial than plain rice or roti alone in case a person is looking for low-cost supplementary food for protein-energy malnutrition. The combined protein sourced from rice and dal makes khichdi more nutritional and wholesome.
- Nutritional Analysis and comparison of ‘Khichdi’ with various other food items helped scientists in concluding this revolutionary easy way which is now an instrumental supplementary therapeutic dish in India’s master plan of fighting Protein Energy Malnutrition.
- Nutritional Analysis detects the exact nutritional value of any given food item.
- It determines the percentage of macro and micronutrients present in that food item as well as the presence of inhibitors, toxic chemicals, or any other new component.
- It is also important in nutrition mapping where a variety of food items are regularly being tested and included in the standardized book of Nutritive Value of Indian Foods by the Indian Council of Medical Research.
- Presences of inhibitors, toxic chemicals in various foods are tested in food nutrition analysis. Inhibitors like phytate, oxalate decrease the bioavailability of nutrients, and toxic chemicals like saponin, trypsin inhibitors, pathogens, etc. cause mild to severe ailments in the human body.
- Food Nutrition Analysis by FSSAI has been instrumental in India’s nutrition mapping as there are vast varieties, numbers, and types of crops, fruits, and vegetables, fishes available throughout different parts of India.
- Newly found food items, local or indigenous, are constantly being tested in Food testing laboratories for their nutritional analysis by standardized nutritional analysis methods to enrich India’s food list.
- Agricultural researchers regularly trying to discover new Genetically Modified Foods which would be economical and easy to yield for farmers and nutritionally adequate or better for the consumers. Nutritional analyses of these food items also enrich the food variety of our nation.
Nutrition facts labeling:
- This is a very important part of the food processing industry as there must be a detailed description of all available nutritional facts on the label of the food product with percentages and ingredients. Food testing laboratories conduct regular as well as surprise random testing of different batches of produced food to ensure a healthy and safe practice.
- The shelf life or Manufacturing and Expiry date also have to be mentioned clearly on the food label to clearly indicate within how many days the food can be safely consumed. This test is also done by laboratories depending upon the nutritional ingredients present in food and the shelf life of each food item present.
- The food product must also be marked clearly for ingredients present. For all components non-veg, the mark should be red, if all the ingredients are veg, that item should be marked green. Food products with eggs present in them should be marked in yellow.
Supplementary food composition:
- Food nutrition analysis determines which combination formula of supplementary food is best suited for meeting the nutritional need of the target consumer group.
- Each supplementary food, therapeutic or normal has a detailed nutritional formula with several nutrients present in it in a specific amount. The amounts of the various nutrients are determined as per their role in bodily functions or the role the supplementary food promises to fulfill.
FSSAI strictly handles the production of these supplementary foods to control any malpractice through thorough testing.
- Many fake or dubious companies produce supplementary foods with banned steroids components or other vaguely promised items which are not permitted as per FSSAI standards. Regular checking in the food analysis lab is the only way to track and discontinue the production of such products.
- Food and Nutrition are an integral part of our health and immunity. In special medical conditions, the diet changes according to the etiology and diagnosis of the disease. Dietary intervention is one of the core components of treatment for various types of diseases. These diseases are of three types. These are described in the following chart.
|Type of Diseases
||Cardio Vascular problems, PCOD, COPD, Diabetes, etc.
||Protein deficiency, Protein-energy malnutrition, Iron deficiency, Calcium deficiency, etc.
||Measles, Chicken Pox, Tuberculosis, Flu, Fever, Parasite infestation, STD, etc.
- Scientists of Food testing Laboratories around the world are constantly working on formulating specific nutritional intervention therapy to combat the most critical diseases.
- International entities like World Health Organization, Unicef, etc. are dedicated to providing better nourishment for the deprived part of the world and the patients with crucial ailments. Dietetic associations around the world, renowned public health institutes are all emphasizing dietary intervention.
- Each disease has specific dietary needs and measurements to be followed strictly. These strict guidelines include specific foods, a specific way of preparation, and edible portion size. Proper research-based nutritional testing is the only way to formulate such crucial diets.