Understanding Your Food
16 Smith Square,
London SW1P 3HQ
Food contains the nutrients that allow us to grow in childhood, and maintain and repair our bodies throughout our lives.
It also provides the energy that we need on a daily basis.
Food provides the fats , proteins and carbohydrates – the macronutrients that we see as food – and the vitamins and minerals – the micronutrients that we may not even think about when eating – that are critical to health and wellbeing.
At times we may consume food products between meals, such as bars of chocolate or cans of fizzy drink, but on the whole, food tends to be consumed as part of a meal. Meals should be balanced and contain a variety of ingredients and nutrients.
A recipe in a cookery book lists the ingredients that must be used to create the product. So, to make bread at home, for example, a recipe may list 400 grams of strong white flour, 1 teaspoon of fast-action yeast, 1 teaspoon of fine table salt, 300 millilitres of warm water and a little vegetable oil for kneading.
During the manufacture of bread on a large scale, other food materials may be used to impart particular qualities to the product, such as resistance to staling, thereby extending the shelf-life of the product and reducing food waste. For example, the emulsifiers, diacetyl tartaric acid esters and sodium or calcium stearoyl-2-lactylate, may be added to function as dough strengtheners, while mono- and di-glycerides of fatty acids may be incorporated in order to soften the crumb structure of the bread.
It is a given that food products and the meals we eat would not exist without food ingredients. Very many of the food products that we take for granted today would also not exist without the use of food additives.