Food is the primary source of energy and nutrients for animals and humans. It is made up of various chemical compounds. These compounds are essential for the growth, repair, and regulation of the body’s tissues. In addition to the basic chemical substances, foods can contain additives. Some of these additives have been used for centuries in the preparation of food.
Many people in developed countries eat too much fat, and their diets are too high in refined sugars. Although many people in developing countries have access to nutritious foods, they also tend to eat unhealthy diets. The quality of the foods may be poor, and they might be lacking in certain minerals.
Food is generally a source of protein, which includes animal proteins, such as beef and dairy products. Fish and poultry also contain high levels of fat. Meats are eaten in many cultures, and some people eat a lot of fish. They are a good source of vitamins, and they are preserved by freezing and canning.
Many food products are processed, and their preparation can destroy some of the nutrients. The process can involve heating, drying, blanching, milling, and freeze-drying. When processed, food can contain a variety of additives, including flavours, preservatives, and colours. Other chemicals are added to fight diseases in farm animals or crops.
Many additives can improve the shelf life of food. Others can increase the flavour of a food product, or help it to retain its texture and consistency. Adding additives can also help prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.
In addition to nutrients, food contains other chemical compounds, such as fats and fibre. Fats, in particular, are essential for maintaining the health of our internal organs. Fats also provide twice the amount of energy that carbohydrates do.
Chemicals are the building blocks of all living things, and food is no different. There are thousands of different ingredients that can be found in the food we eat, from salt to sugar. While some chemicals are desirable, they can also cause harm if used improperly. EFSA assesses chemical residues on a regular basis, and these assessments are conducted on a wide range of substances.
Food has become a very important part of globalization. More and more types of food are being produced and sold worldwide, and better transportation methods make it easier to reach a wider population. A growing number of immigrants has also broadened our tastes in food.
Food plays a central role in human culture. Rituals, beliefs, and social structures are strongly influenced by the foods we eat. Local traditions and geographic differences also influence our eating habits. We also rely on agriculture for our nutrition. For instance, people in warm, wet lowlands rely on crops that can retain water.
In addition to its nutritional importance, food has long served as a carrier of culture in human societies. As a result, people have adopted foods that are appropriate for their region or national cuisine.