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What is Nutrition?

MVSAT 2024

Nutrition is defined as the process of taking in food and converting it into energy and other vital nutrients required for life. Nutrients are the kind of substances that provide the necessary energy and biomolecules for carrying out various body functions. All the organisms in the universe need nutrients for proper growth and functioning, but they show divergence in how they fulfil their demand. Some of the animals feed on inorganic compounds to meet their requirement of nutrients, while others utilize the complex compounds. The mode of nutrition changes from one species to another species. 

Types of Nutrition

Generally, there are two types of nutrition among living organisms, namely:

  • Autotrophic mode

  • Heterotrophic mode

Autotrophic Nutrition

In this mode of nutrition, organisms use simple inorganic matters, such as water and carbon dioxide in the presence of light and chlorophyll to synthesize food on their own. It is also said as the process of photosynthesis, where light energy is converted into food such as glucose, this type of organisms are called autotrophs. Some of the examples where autotrophic nutrition is observed in plants, algae, and bacteria (cyanobacteria). 

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During the process of photosynthesis, carbon dioxide and water is converted into carbohydrates, which are stored in the form of starch in the plants. Later when plants require energy, it will be derived from the stored starch in plants. The process of photosynthesis is mainly explained in three stages: Absorption (The chlorophyll present in leaves traps the light coming from the sun). Conversion (in this light energy is converted into chemical energy and water will split into hydrogen and oxygen molecules). Reduction (this is the final stage, where carbon dioxide is reduced to form carbohydrates ). All the three events discussed above are not a continuous process and they may or may not take place sequentially.    

Heterotrophic Nutrition

All the organisms are not capable of producing food on their own, such organisms depend mainly on others for their nutrition. The organisms that are not capable of producing their own food and depend on the other organisms or sources are known as heterotrophs, and this mode of nutrition is called heterotrophic nutrition. 

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All the animals and fungi are heterotrophs in nature, they can be of many varieties depending on their environment and the adaptations. Like some of them depend on plants for nutrition known as herbivores and others depend on an animal known as carnivores. Also, there are some heterotrophs that eat both plants and animals. 

There are different heterotrophs based on their mode of nutrition given below: 

  • Parasites (e.g. leeches, ticks)

  • Saprophytes (e.g. mushrooms)

  • Holozoic (e.g. humans, dogs)

Nutrition Food Values  

Apple Nutrition of One Raw, Unpeeled, Medium-Sized Apple (100 grams):

  • Calories: 52

  • Water: 86%

  • Protein: 0.3 grams

  • Carbs: 13.8 grams

  • Sugar: 10.4 grams

  • Fibre: 2.4 grams

  • Fat: 0.2 grams

Rice Nutritional Value of Brown and White rice 

Nutrient Proximates

Brown rice

White rice


82 calories

68 calories


1.83 g

1.42 g

Total Lipid (fat)

0.65 g

0.15 g


17.05 g

14.84 g

Fibre, Total Dietary

1.1 g

0.2 g

Sugars, total

0.16 g

0.03 g


2 milligrams (mg)

5 mg


0.37 mg

0.63 mg


3 mg

1 mg

Fatty Acids, Total Saturated

0.17 g

0.04 g

Fatty Acids, Total Trans

0 g

0 g


0 g

0 g


Raw Peanuts Nutrition (100 grams)

  • Calories: 567

  • Water: 7%

  • Protein: 25.8 grams

  • Carbs: 16.1 grams

  • Sugar: 4.7 grams

  • Fibre: 8.5 grams

  • Fat: 49.2 grams

    • Saturated: 6.28 grams

    • Monounsaturated: 24.43 grams

    • Polyunsaturated: 15.56 grams

    • Omega-3: 0 grams

    • Omega-6: 15.56 grams

    • Trans: 0 grams

Milk Nutrition in 1 Cup (Around 240 ml of Milk)

  • Calories: 149

  • Water: 88%

  • Protein: 7.7 grams

  • Carbs: 11.7 grams

  • Sugar: 12.3 grams

  • Fibre: 0 grams

  • Fat: 8 grams

Do You Know?

Which is the best nutritious food? Some of the best nutritious foods are salmon, kale, seaweed, garlic, shellfish, potatoes, livers, sardines, blueberries, dark chocolates, and egg yolks.  If a person needs lots of nutrients without calories, the most obvious strategy is to take dietary supplements. 

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FAQs on Nutrition

1. Why is Nutrition Essential for Living Organisms?

Answer. Nutrition is very important in our day to day life to lead a healthy life, a balanced diet reduces the risk of diseases and improves the overall health of organisms. Nutrition provides energy to cells for carrying out cellular activities.  

2. Does Nutrients Timing Matter?

Answer. Nutrients timing means eating food at a particular time in order to achieve a certain outcome. supposedly, it is very important for muscle growth, sportsperson and to lose fat. Nutrient timing is not a new thing, it has been used for almost 50 years by athletes and bodybuilders and many aspects of it have been studied. There are also many nutrition food programmes and books on nutrition timing as the key method for losing fat, gaining muscle and improving performance.

3. What is the Nutritional intake of Adult Humans?

Answer. Nutritional intake mentioned below is on the basis of daily reference suggested by nutritionist: energy (8,400kJ/2,000kcal), total fat (less than 70g), saturates (less than 20g), carbohydrates (at least 260g), total sugars (90g), protein (50g), and salt (less than 6g). 

4. Which are the Signs of inadequate Nutrition?

Answer. The signs that can be seen in the nutrition deficient person are unexplained fatigue (iron deficiency), brittle and dry hair, spoon-shaped nails, mouth problems, diarrhoea, irritability and lack of appetite. These people should consult a nutritionist for a proper nutritional diet in their day to day life. 

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