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Three Major Function of Food

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There are three important functions of food. The first one is nutrition absorption. The second one is satisfying our psychological needs. The last one is physical adjustments. In this session, I would like to briefly introduce these three functions. Nutrition absorption refers to the function of meeting our basic needs. As we all know, our bodies need food to function properly. The nutrients of foods can provide energy to 60 trillion cells in our bodies so we can grow and be active and healthy. In other words, the first function of food is to keep us alive. As we are capable of making a comfortable living, we put more focus on how to create a better eating experience.
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The mouthfeel, looks, and smell of food play a major role in food selection. And sometimes we are willing to pay more for some food items. For example, it seems that a chocolate cake with edible gold dust on it can signal the wealth and strength of its consumers.
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This is the second function of food: satisfying psychological needs Let’s do a simple test. What comes to your mind when I say “Black forest gateau”? You might answer “A cake decorated with chocolate shavings and a cherry.” It’s an interesting brain mechanism that when we see a word label “Black forest gateau”, the image of a chocolate cake immediately comes to our mind. A simple word label can trigger the pleasantness of food. That’s why food producers put more effort into stimulating consumers’ senses. However, according to epidemiologic studies, these efforts could make foods become superstimulus, which is highly related to some chronic illnesses.
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For instance, there are many restaurants near Taipei Medical School, every time I pass by these restaurants, I can smell the aroma of braised pork over rice and other food. The aroma of food attracts people to eat. And while having a meal, sometimes the food is so delicious that we can’t help eating more and then increase excess energy intake. Under the circumstance, if we indulge ourselves in food, according to the epidemiologic studies in the past 50 years, we will be vulnerable to chronic diseases. The report of the 10 leading causes of death shows that at least 5 causes are related to our habits, especially our eating habits.
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If you keep eating foods which are sources of the supernormal stimulus, you might end up killing by them. When such an unhealthy diet habit become a common problem these days,
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the last function of food: physical adjustment, becomes more and more important. People want to figure out whether they can eliminate risk factors by adjusting their diet plan. More and more people pay attention to health preservation. People start to eat nutrient-dense food and even simplify their lifestyle.
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This is the last function of food: physical adjustment. By consuming nutrient-dense food, our bodies can produce energy to repair themselves. It can prevent us from disease, give us a good complexion and even longer lifespan.
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As was stated above, the three functions of food are: nutrition absorption, satisfying psychological needs, and physical adjustment. It’s practically a human instinct that we all want a good living quality and a long life span. So when we were acknowledged that eating plays a major role in health preservation, we start to value dietary supplements. So foods claim to promote health become popular nowadays.

What benefits does food serve? In this video, Prof. Huang will explain three functions of food.

The first one is nutrition absorption. Nutrients provide energy to our bodies so we can grow and be active and healthy. In other words, the first function of food is to keep us alive.

The second one is satisfying our psychological needs. Since food provides tastes and flavor, food serves a function to affect one’s sense and behavior. He gives an example of a chocolate cake. It’s delicious but not a must for the body to survive.

The last function is physical adjustments. By consuming nutrient-dense food, our bodies can produce energy to repair themselves. It can prevent us from disease, give us a good complexion and even longer lifespan.

So when we were acknowledged that eating plays a major role in health preservation, we start to value dietary supplements. So foods claim to promote health become popular nowadays.

How do you think that food can affect one’s health and behavior? Can you give some examples?

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Nutrition: Eating to Live Well

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