acceptable daily intake
The amount of chemical that, if ingested daily
over a lifetime, appears to be without appreciable
acesulfame K aa(top
Acesulfame K, or acesulfame potassium, is a low
calorie sweetener approved for use in the United
States in 1988. It is an organic salt consisting
of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen, sulphur
and potassium atoms. It is 200 times sweeter than
sucrose, has a synergistic sweetening effect with
other sweeteners, has a stable shelf life and
is heat stable. It is excreted through the human
digestive system unchanged, and is therefore non
additives (food additives) aa(top
Any natural or synthetic material, other than
the basic raw ingredients, used in the production
of a food item to enhance the final product. Any
substance that may affect the characteristics
of any food, including those used in the production,
processing, treatment, packaging, transportation
or storage of food.
Adverse Reaction Monitoring System (ARMS)
A system operated by FDA which monitors and investigates
all complaints by individuals or their physicians
that are believed to be related to a specific
food, food and color additives or vitamin and
mineral supplements. The ARMS computerized database
helps officials decide whether reported adverse
reactions represent a real public health risk
associated with food so that appropriate action
can be taken.
aerobic exercise aa(top
Aerobic exercise refers to the kind of fast paced
activity that makes you "huff and puff."
It places demands on your cardiovascular apparatus
and, over time, produces beneficial changes in
your respiratory and circulatory systems.
Term for artificially produced chemicals (such
as feed additives, pharmaceuticals, fertilizers
or pesticides) used in agriculture to improve
crops or livestack production.
A compound which is extracted from algae and used
in puddings, milk shakes and ice cream to make
these foods creamier and thicker and to extend
A sweetener made from amino acids (L aspartic
acid, D alanine, and a novel amide [a specific
arrangement of chemical bonds between carbon,
nitrogen and oxygen]). It offers a taste that
is 2000 times sweeter than that of sucrose and
can be used in a wide variety of products including
beverages, tabletop sweeteners, frozen desserts
and baked goods. Only the aspartic acid component
of alitame is metabolized by the body. As a result,
alitame contains 1.4 kcal/g. Since alitame is
such an intense sweetener, however, it is used
at very low levels and thus contributes negligible
amounts of calories. It is highly stable, can
withstand high temperatures in cooking and baking,
and has the potential to be used in almost all
foods and beverages in which sweeteners are presently
used. FDA is currently considering a petition
to approve its use in the United States food supply.
Alitame has been approved for use in all food
and beverage products in Australia, Mexico and
allergen (food allergen) aa(top
A food allergen is the part of a food (a protein)
that stimulates the immune system of food allergic
individuals. A single food can contain multiple
food allergens. Carbohydrates or fats are not
allergy (food allergy) aa(top
A food allergy is any adverse reaction to an otherwise
harmless food or food component (a protein) that
involves the body's immune system. To avoid confusion
with other types of adverse reactions to foods,
it is important to use the terms "food allergy"
or "food hypersensitivity" only when
the immune system is involved in causing the reaction.
ally methyl trisulfide, dithiolthiones
A type of sulfide/thiol found in cruciferous vegetables
which may provide the health benefits of lowering
LDL cholesterol and of maintaining a healthy immune
alpha carotene aa(top
A type of carotenoid found in carrots which provides
the health benefit of neutralizing free radicals
that may cause damage to cells.
alternative agriculture aa(top
A range of technological and management option
farms striving to reduce costs, protect health
and environmental quality, and enhance beneficial
biological interactions and natural processes.
Alternative agriculture techniques cannot be uniformly
applied across all commodities or all regions
of the country. Such practices typically require
more information, trained labor, time and management
skills per unit of production than conventional
Alzheimer's disease aa(top
This disease causes progressive memory loss and
dementia in its victims as it kills brain cells
(neurons). It is named after Alois Alzheimer who
in 1906 first described the Amyloid ß Protein
(AßP) plaques in the human brain that are
caused by this disease. The drug Tacrine appears
to slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease,
but there is currently no way to stop the disease.
amino acids aa(top
Amino acids function as the building blocks of
proteins. Chemically, amino acids are organic
compounds containing an amino (NH2) group and
a carboxyl (COOH) group. Amino acids are classified
as essential, nonessential and conditionally essential.
If body synthesis is inadequate to meet metabolic
need, an amino acid is classified as essential
and must be supplied as part of the diet. Essential
amino acids include leucine, isoleucine, valine,
tryptophan, phenylalanine, methionine, threonine,
lysine, histidine and possibly arginine. Nonessential
amino acids can be synthesized by the body in
adequate amounts, and include alanine, aspartic
acid, asparagine, glutamic acid, glutamine, glycine,
proline and serine. Conditionally essential amino
acids become essential under certain clinical
A rare but potentially fatal condition in which
several different parts of the body experience
food allergic reactions simultaneously, causing
hives, swelling of the throat and difficulty breathing.
It is the most severe allergic reaction to an
allergen and requires immediate medical attention
when it occurs.
Anemia is a condition in which a deficiency in
the size or number of erythrocytes (red blood
cells) or the amount of hemoglobin they contain
limits the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide
between the blood and the tissue cells. Most anemias
are caused by a lack of nutrients required for
normal erythrocyte synthesis, principally iron,
vitamin B 12, and folic acid. Others result from
a variety of conditions, such as hemorrhage, genetic
abnormalities, chronic disease states or drug
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
A government agency which resides in the United
States Department of Agriculture and governs the
field testing of agricultural biotechnology crops.
Anorexia Nervosa aa(top
An eating disorder characterized by refusal to
maintain a minimally normal weight for height
and age. The condition includes weight loss leading
to maintenance of body weight 15 percent below
normal; an intense fear of weight gain or becoming
fat, despite the individual's underweight status;
a disturbance in the self awareness of one's own
body weight or shape; and in females, the absence
of at least three consecutive menstrual cycles
that would otherwise be expected to occur.
A type of flavonoid found in various fruits which
provides the health benefits of neutralizing free
radicals and possibly reducing the risk of cancer.
antibiotic resistance aa(top
The ability of a bacterium to synthesize a protein
that neutralizes an antibiotic.
Antibiotics are used in animal agriculture for
two reasons. First, to improve the rate of growth
and the feed efficiency of animals so they produce
more meat or milk on less feed. The second reason
is to prevent and treat diseases, just as in humans.
Protein produced by the immune system of humans
and higher animals in response to the presence
of a specific antigen.
Substances which inhibit the formation of cancers
or the growth of tumors. More than 600 chemicals
are claimed to be anti cancer agents. These range
from natural chemical constituent present in garlic,
broccoli, cabbage and green tea to manmade antioxidants,
such as butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and derivatives
of retinoic acid.
A foreign substance (almost always a protein)
that, when introduced into the body, stimulates
an immune response.
Antioxidants protect key cell components by neutralizing
the damaging effects of "free radicals,"
natural byproducts of cell metabolism. Free radicals
form when oxygen is metabolized, or burned by
the body. They travel through cells, disrupting
the structure of other molecules, causing cellular
damage. Such cell damage is believed to contribute
to aging and various health problems.
A piece of DNA that produces the mirror image,
or antisense messenger RNA, that is exactly opposite
in sequence to one that directs the cells to produce
a specific protein. Since the antisense RNA binds
tightly to its image, it prevents the protein
from being made.
ascorbic acid aa(top
Also known as vitamin C, it is essential for the
development and maintenance of connective tissue.
Vitamin C speeds the production of new cells in
wound healing and it is an antioxidant that keeps
free radicals from hooking up with other molecules
to form damaging compounds that might attack tissue.
Vitamin C protects the immune system, helps fight
off infections, reduces the severity of allergic
reactions and plays a role in the synthesis of
hormones and other body chemicals. Green peppers,
broccoli, citrus fruits, tomatoes, strawberries,
and other fresh fruits and vegetables are good
sources of vitamin C.
Aspartame is a low calorie sweetener used in a
variety of foods and beverages and as a tabletop
sweetener. It is about 200 times sweeter than
sugar. Aspartame is made by joining two protein
components, aspartic acid and phenylalanine.
Asthma is a chronic medical condition, affecting
approximately 10 million Americans (3 to 4 percent
of the population). Asthma results when irritants
(or trigger substances) cause swelling of the
tissues in the air passage of the lungs, making
it difficult to breathe. Typical symptoms of asthma
include wheezing, shortness of breath and coughing.
A condition that exists when too much cholesterol
builds up in the blood and accumulates in the
walls of the blood vessels.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Commonly called "hyperactivity," Attention
Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a clinical diagnosis
based on specific criteria. These include excessive
motor activity, impulsiveness, short attention
span, low tolerance to frustration and onset before
7 years of age.
Basal metabolism is the energy (calories) a body
burns when completely at rest. Basal metabolism
rate (BMR) is the level of energy needed to keep
involuntary body processes going. These processes
include heartbeat, breathing, generating body
heat, perspiring to keep cool, and transmitting
messages to the brain. For a sedentary person,
BMR accounts for about 60 70 percent of daily
energy expenditure; the remaining 30 40 percent
is from physical activity and from body heat produced
after a meal. Physical activity is responsible
for as much as 50 60 percent of the total energy
expenditure in people who include frequent aerobic
activity into their lifestyles
Blood cells which when connected to immunoglobulin
E antibodies release histamine or other substances
causing allergic symptoms.
beta carotene aa(top
A type of carotenoid found in various fruits and
vegetables which provide the health benefit of
neutralizing free radicals that may cause damage
beta glucan aa(top
A soluble fiber in oats which provides the health
benefit of reducing the risk of cardiovascular
disease by decreasing circulating blood cholesterol.
Bias occurs when problems in study design lead
to effects that are not related to the variables
being studied. An example is selection bias, which
occurs when study subjects are chosen in a way
that can misleadingly increase or decrease the
strength of an association. Choosing experimental
and control group subjects from different populations
would result in a selection bias.
Describes any material that can be broken down
by biological action (e.g., dissimilation, digestion,
denitrification). The breakdown of material (chemicals)
by microorganisms (bacteria, fungus, etc.).
biological activity aa(top
The effect (change in metabolic activity upon
living cells) caused by specific compounds or
agents. For example, the drug aspirin causes the
blood to thin, that is to clot less easily.
biological controls aa(top
An integrated pest management method which includes
the use of living organisms to reduce the extent
of pest problems. This includes the use of beneficial
or predatory insects such as ladybugs and parasitic
wasps to control crop destroying bugs.
A biopesticide is any material of natural origin
used in pest control derived from living organisms,
such as bacteria, plant cells or animal cells.
The simplest definition of biotechnology is "applied
biology." The application of biological knowledge
and techniques to develop products. It may be
further defined as the use of living organisms
to make a product or run a process. By this definition,
the classic techniques used for plant and animal
breeding, fermentation and enzyme purification
would be considered biotechnology. Some people
use the term only to refer to newer tools of genetic
science. In this context, biotechnology may be
defined as the use of biotechnical methods to
modify the genetic materials of living cells so
they will produce new substances or perform new
functions. Examples include recombinant DNA technology,
in which a copy of a piece of DNA containing one
or a few genes is transferred between organisms
or "recombined" within an organism.
blind (single or double) experiment
In a single blind experiment, the subjects do
not know whether they are receiving an experimental
treatment or a placebo. In a double blind experiment,
neither the researchers nor the participants are
aware of which subjects receive the treatment
until after the study is completed.
body mass index (BMI) aa(top
Method used for determining overweight and obesity
in adults. BMI is a calculation that divides a
person’s weight in kilograms by height in
meters squared (BMI = [kg/m²]. BMI can also
be calculated in pounds and inches: BMI=[lbs/in²]
X 703. The general guideline currently recommended
by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention
is that individuals with a BMI of 25 to 29.9 are
considered overweight and those individuals with
a BMI greater than 30 are considered obese.
Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE)
Bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE, is also
known as "mad cow disease." It is a
rare, chronic degenerative disease affecting the
brain and central nervous system of cattle. Cattle
with BSE lose their coordination, develop abnormal
posture and experience changes in behavior. Clinical
symptoms take 4 5 years to develop, followed by
death in a period of several weeks to months unless
the affected animal is destroyed sooner.
rBST (bovine somatotropin) aa(top
Recombinant bovine somatotropin (rBST) is virtually
identical to a cow's natural somatotropin, a hormone
produced in its pituitary gland that stimulates
milk production. Treatment with rBST can increase
a cow's milk production by 10 percent to 15 percent.
Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) aa(top
One of the most common microorganisms used in
biologically based pesticides is the Bacillus
thuringiensis or Bt bacterium. Several of the
proteins produced by the Bt, principally in the
coating the bacteria forms around itself, are
lethal to individual species of insects. By using
Bt in pesticide formulations, target insects can
be controlled using an environmentally benign,
biologically based agent. Bt based insecticides
have been widely used by home gardeners for many
years as well as on farms.
Bulimia Nervosa aa(top
An eating disorder characterized by rapid consumption
of a large amount of food in a short period of
time, with a sense of lack of control during the
episode and self evaluation unduly influenced
by body weight and shape. There are two forms
of the condition, purging and non purging. The
first type regularly engages in purging through
self induced vomiting or the excessive use of
laxatives or diuretics. Alternatively, the non
purging type controls weight through strict dieting,
fasting or excessive exercise.
butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA)
A phenolic chemical compound used to preserve
foods by preventing rancidity. It may also be
used as a defoaming agent for yeast. BHA is found
in foods high in fats and oils; also in meats,
cereals, baked goods, beer, and snack foods.
butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT)
A phenolic chemical compound used to keep food
from changing flavor, odor and/or color. It is
added to foods high in fats and oils and cereals.
caffeic acid aa(top
A type of phenol found in various fruits, vegetables
and citrus fruits which has antioxidant like activities
that may reduce the risk of degenerative diseases,
heart disease and eye disease.
Caffeine is a naturally occurring substance found
in the leaves, seeds or fruits of over 63 plant
species worldwide and is part of a group of compounds
known as methylxanthines. The most commonly known
sources of caffeine are coffee and cocoa beans,
cola nuts and tea leaves. Caffeine is a pharmacologically
active substance and, depending on the dose, can
be a mild central nervous system stimulant. Caffeine
does not accumulate in the body over the course
of time and is normally excreted within several
hours of consumption.
A mineral that builds bones and strengthens bones,
helps in muscle contraction and heartbeat, assists
with nerve functions and blood clotting. Teens
18 years and younger should strive to consume
about 1,300 milligrams per day. Individuals 50
years and older need about 1,200 milligrams per
day. Everyone else should strive for about 1,000
milligrams per day. Milk and other diary foods
such as yogurt and most cheeses are the best sources
of calcium. In addition, dark green leafy vegetables,
fish with edible bones, and calcium fortified
foods supply significant amounts.
A calorie is the amount of energy required to
raise the temperature of one milliliter (ml) of
water at a standard initial temperature by one
degree centigrade (1°C).
Carbohydrates are organic compounds that consist
of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. They vary from
simple sugars containing from three to seven carbon
atoms to very complex polymers. Only the hexoses
(sugars with six carbon atoms) and pentoses (sugars
with five carbon atoms) and their polymers play
important roles in nutrition. Carbohydrates in
food provide 4 calories per gram.
Plants manufacture and store carbohydrates as
their chief source of energy. The glucose synthesized
in the leaves of plants is used as the basis for
more complex forms of carbohydrates. Classification
of carbohydrates relates to their structural core
of simple sugars, saccharides. Principal monosaccharides
that occur in food are glucose and fructose. Three
common disaccharides are sucrose, maltose and
lactose. Polysaccharides of interest in nutrition
include starch, dextrin, glycogen and cellulose.
carcinogens, natural and synthetic
The basic mechanism involved in the entire process
of carcinogenisis—from exposure to the organism
to expression of tumors—are qualitatively
similar, if not identical, for the synthetic and
naturally occurring carcinogens. Consequently,
both naturally occurring and synthetic chemicals
can be evaluated by the same epidemiologic or
experimental methods and procedures.
caries (see dental caries)
Center for Disease Control and Prevention
The CDC, composed of 11 Centers, Institutes and
Offices, aims to promote health and quality of
life by preventing and controlling disease, injury
A compound extracted from Irish moss (a type of
seaweed) that is used in puddings, milk shakes
and ice cream to stabilize and keep color and
A type of flavonoid found in tea which provides
the health benefits of neutralizing free radicals
and possibly reducing the risk of cancer.
cholesterol (dietary) aa(top
Cholesterol is not a fat, but rather a fat like
substance classified as a lipid. Cholesterol is
vital to life and is found in all cell membranes.
It is necessary for the production of bile acids
and steroid hormones. Dietary cholesterol is found
only in animal foods. Abundant in organ meats
and egg yolks, cholesterol is also contained in
meats and poultry. Vegetable oils and shortenings
are cholesterol free.
cholesterol (serum, or blood)
High blood cholesterol is a risk factor in the
development of coronary heart disease. Most of
the cholesterol that is found in the blood is
manufactured by the body, in the liver, at a rate
of about 800 to 1,500 milligrams a day. By comparison,
the average American consumes 300 to 450 milligrams
daily in foods.
cholesterol (different types)
Blood cholesterol is divided into three separate
classes of lipoproteins: very low density lipoprotein
(VLDL); low density lipoprotein (LDL), which contains
most of the cholesterol found in the blood; and
high density lipoprotein (HDL).
LDL seems to be the culprit in coronary heart
disease and is popularly known as the "bad
cholesterol." By contrast, HDL is increasingly
considered desirable and known as the "good
Thread like components in the cell that contain
DNA. They make proteins. Genes are carried on
clinical trials aa(top
Clinical trials undertake experimental study of
human subjects. Trials may attempt to determine
whether the finds of basic research are applicable
to humans, or to confirm the results of epidemiological
research. Studies may be small, with a limited
number of participants, or they may be large intervention
trials that seek to discover the outcome of treatments
on entire populations. The "gold standard"
clinical trials are double blind, placebo controlled
studies which employ random assignment of subjects
to experimental and control groups unknown to
the subject or the researcher.
confounding variable or confounding factor
A "hidden" variable that may cause an
association which the researcher attributes to
collagen hydrolysate aa(top
A functional component of gelatin which may help
improve some symptoms associated with osteoarthritis.
conjugated lenoleic acid (CLA)
A type of fatty acid found in cheeses and some
meat products which may provide the health benefits
of improving body composition and decreasing the
risk of certain cancers.
Continuing Survey of Food Intake of Individuals
A part of the National Nutrition Monitoring System
which was the first nationwide dietary intake
survey designed to be conducted annually. The
survey is conducted by the USDA.
control group aa(top
The group of subjects in a study to whom a comparison
is made in order to determine whether an observation
or treatment has an effect. In an experimental
study it is the group that does not receive a
treatment. Subjects are as similar as possible
to those in the test or treatment group.
controlled experiment aa(top
In this type of research, study subjects (whether
animal or human) are selected according to relevant
characteristics, and then randomly assigned to
either an experimental group, or a control group.
Random assignment ensures that factors known as
variables, which may affect the outcome of the
study, are distributed equally among the groups
and therefore could not lead to differences in
the effect of the treatment under study. The experimental
group is then given a treatment (sometimes called
an intervention), and the results are compared
to the control group, which does not receive treatment.
A placebo, or false treatment, may be administered
to the control group. With all other variables
controlled, differences between the experimental
and control groups may be attributed to the treatment
An association, or when one phenomenon is found
to be accompanied by another. A correlation does
not prove cause and effect. Correlation may also
be defined statistically.
crop residues aa(top
Plant materials remaining from the former crop
that are left on the soil surface after planting
form crop residues. Crop residues reduce soil
erosion, air and surface water pollution, conserve
soil moisture, and improve the soil by adding
Any of the various aquatic arthropods, including
lobsters, crabs, shrimps and barnacles. Characteristically
have segmented bodies, chitinous exoskeletons
and paired, jointed limbs.
cultural controls aa(top
An integrated pest management method which includes
annual crop rotation to discourage pests and weed
A sweetener which is 30 times sweeter than sucrose,
calorie free and heat stable and works synergistically
with other sweeteners. It is approved for tabletop
use in Canada and more than 50 countries in Europe,
Asia, South America and Africa. Since 1970, however,
the use of cyclamate has been banned in the United
States on the basis of a study that suggested
that cyclamates may be related to the development
of bladder tumors in rats. Although 75 subsequent
studies have failed to show that cyclamate is
carcinogenic, the sweetener has yet to be reapproved
for use in the United States.
Popularly known as cavities, dental caries occur
when bacteria in the mouth feed on fermentable
carbohydrates and produce acids that dissolve
tooth enamel. Various conditions affect this process,
such as heredity and the composition and flow
of saliva. Any fermentable carbohydrate (starches
and sugars) can serve as food for cavity causing
bacteria. The amount of carbohydrate is not as
important as how often these foods are eaten and
how long they stay in the mouth. Widespread use
of fluoride in water supplies and oral health
products is credited with the dramatic decline
in dental caries among children and adults alike
over the past 20 years. Also, see "fluoride."
Diabetes is the name for a group of medical disorders
characterized by high blood sugar levels. Normally
when people eat, food is digested and much of
it is converted to glucose—a simple sugar—which
the body uses for energy. The blood carries the
glucose to cells where it is absorbed with the
help of the hormone insulin. For those with diabetes,
however, the body does not make enough insulin,
or cannot properly use the insulin it does make.
Without insulin, glucose accumulates in the blood
rather than moving into the cells. High blood
sugar levels result.
diallyl sulfide aa(top
A type of sulfide/thoil found in onions, garlic,
olives, leeks and scallions which may provide
the health benefits of lowering LDL cholesterol
and of maintaining a healthy immune system.
Dietary Guidelines for Americans
Issued by the United States Department of Agriculture
and the Department of Health and Human Services
(USDA/DHHS) every five years, the Dietary Guidelines
are based on scientific consensus and form the
cornerstone of federal nutrition policy. The fifth
edition, issued in 2000, contains ten guidelines.
Its message, built around three actions "Aim,
Build and Choose," strives to motivate Americans
with the following advice: 1) Aim for Fitness
2) Build a Healthy Base and 3) Choose sensibly.
This revised set of guidelines is the first to
recommend daily physical activity and the first
to include a guideline specific to food safety.
Also known as Deoxyribonucleic acid. This is the
molecule that carries the genetic information
for most living systems. The DNA molecule consists
of four bases (adenine, cytosine, guanine and
thymine) and a sugar phosphate backbone, arranged
in two connected strands to form its characteristic
double blind placebo controlled study
Considered the "gold standard" of clinical
research studies, the double blind placebo controlled
study provides dependable findings that are free
of bias introduced by either the subject or the
researcher. In this type of study, neither the
subject nor the researcher conducting the study
know whether the test substance or a placebo has
been administered. For the results to be valid
and to ensure that the subject cannot violate
the "blindness," the placebo and the
test substance must be virtually identical (i.e.,
look, smell and taste similar). The "blindness"
of the study is crucial. It eliminates the possibility
that a participant’s personal beliefs will
undermine the study’s validity. It also
prevents the researcher’s expectations from
influencing the test results.
E. coli: O157:H7
The bacteria Escherichia coli: O157:H7 is a type
of E. coli associated with foodborne illness.
Healthy cattle and humans can carry the bacteria.
It can be transferred from animal to animal and
animal to human, and from animal to human on food.
Transmission from person to person through close
contact is a potential problem, especially among
young children in daycare.
eating disorders aa(top
Eating disorders may be classified as anorexia,
bulimia, compulsive overeating, binge eating,
or any combination of these. Each is based on
specific diagnostic criteria.
An individual who studies the interrelationships
between organisms and their environment.
ellagic acid aa(top
A natural cancer fighting agent found in strawberries.
endocrine disruption aa(top
Not considered as an adverse endpoint per se but
as a step or mechanism that could lead to toxic
outcomes, such as cancer or adverse reproductive
enriched foods aa(top
Enriched foods are those that nutrients have been
added to replace the nutrients which were lost
during food processing. For example, B vitamins
are lost in processing wheat to white flour and
these are then added back to the flour.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
The EPA's mission is to protect human health and
safeguard the natural environment—air, water
and land—upon which life depends. Through
regulation, EPA tries to ensure the human population
and the environment are protected from environmental
risks and exposures.
The study of distribution and determinants of
diseases or other health outcomes in human populations.
It seeks to expose potential associations between
aspects of health (such as cancer, heart disease,
etc.) and diet, lifestyle, habits or other factors
within populations. Epidemiological studies may
suggest relationships between two factors, but
do not provide the basis for conclusions about
cause and effect. Possible associations inferred
from epidemiological research can turn out to
An adrenal hormone that stimulates autonomic nerve
reaction. It is used in the treatment of anaphylaxis
to open airways and blood vessels.
experimental group aa(top
The group of subjects in an experimental study
which receives a treatment.
fat replacers aa(top
Fat replacers are developed to duplicate the taste
and texture of fat, but contain fewer calories
per gram than fat. Fat replacers generally fall
into three categories: carbohydrate , protein
or fat based. The ingredients that are used to
replace fat depend on how the food product will
be eaten or prepared. For example, not all fat
replacer ingredients are heat stable. Thus, the
fat replacer that worked well in a salad dressing
may not work well in a muffin mix.
fats (dietary fats) aa(top
Fats are referred to in the plural because there
is no one type of fat. Fats are composed of the
same three elements as carbohydrates—carbon,
hydrogen and oxygen, However, fats have relatively
more carbon and hydrogen and less oxygen, thus
supplying a higher fuel value of nine calories
per gram (versus four calories per gram from carbohydrates
One molecule of fat can be broken down into three
molecules of fatty acids and one molecule of glycerol.
Thus, fats are known chemically as triglycerides.
Fats are a vital nutrient in a healthy diet. Fats
supply essential fatty acids, such as linoleic
acid, which is especially important to childhood
growth. Fat helps maintain healthy skin, regulate
cholesterol metabolism and is a precursor of prostaglandins,
hormone like substances that regulate some body
processes. Dietary fat is needed to carry fat
soluble vitamins A, D, E and K and to aid in their
absorption from the intestine.
fatty acid aa(top
Fatty acids are generally classified as saturated,
monounsaturated or polyunsaturated. These terms
refer to the number of hydrogen atoms attached
to the carbon atoms of the fat molecule. In general,
fats that contain a majority of saturated fatty
acids are solid at room temperature, although
some solid vegetable shortenings are up to 75
percent unsaturated. Fats containing mostly unsaturated
fatty acids are usually liquid at room temperature
and are called oils. Also, see "fats",
Any organic or inorganic material, either natural
or synthetic, used to supply elements (such as
nitrogen, phosphate and potash) essential for
plant growth. If used in excess or attached to
eroding soil, fertilizers can become a source
of water pollution.
ferulic acid aa(top
A type of phenol found in various fruits and vegetables
and citrus fruits which has antioxidant like activities
that may reduce the risk of degenerative diseases,
heart disease and eye disease.
Dietary fiber generally refers to parts of fruits,
vegetables, grains, nuts and legumes that can't
be digested by humans. Meats and dairy products
do not contain fiber. Studies indicate that high
fiber diets can reduce the risks of heart disease
and certain types of cancer. There are two basic
types of fiber insoluble and soluble. Soluble
fiber in cereals, oatmeal, beans and other foods
has been found to lower blood cholesterol. Insoluble
fiber in cauliflower, cabbage and other vegetables
and fruits helps move foods through the stomach
and intestine, thereby decreasing the risk of
cancers of the colon and rectum.
5 A Day aa(top
Refers to the dietary recommendation to consume
five servings of fruits and vegetables every day.
The tagline, 5 A Day, became a promotional message
in campaigns to increase fruits and vegetable
A type of flavonoid found in citrus fruits which
provides the health benefits of neutralizing free
radicals and possibly reducing the risk of cancer.
A type of flavonoid found in various fruits and
vegetables which provides the health benefits
of neutralizing free radicals and possibly reducing
the risk of cancer.
Fluoride is a natural component of minerals in
rocks and soils. Widespread use of fluoride in
water supplies and oral health products is credited
with the dramatic decline in dental caries among
children and adults alike. All water contains
fluoride, but it is sometimes necessary to add
it to some public supplies to attain the optimal
amount for dental health. Fluoride makes tooth
enamel stronger and more resistant to decay. It
also prevents the growth of harmful bacteria and
interferes with converting fermentable carbohydrates
to acids in the mouth.
folic acid aa(top
Folic acid, folate, folacin, all form a group
of compounds functionally involved in amino acid
metabolism and nucleic acid synthesis. Good dietary
sources of folate include leafy, dark green vegetables,
legumes, citrus fruits and juices, peanuts, whole
grains and fortified breakfast cereals.
Recent studies show, if all women of childbearing
age consumed sufficient folic acid (either through
diet or supplements), 50 to 70 percent of birth
defects of the brain and spinal cord could be
prevented, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC.) Folic acid is critical
from conception through the first four to six
weeks of pregnancy when the neural tube is formed.
This means adequate diet or supplement use should
begin before pregnancy occurs.
Recent research findings also show low blood folate
levels can be associated with elevated plasma
homocysteine and increased risk of coronary heart
Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
The Food and Drug Administration is part of the
Public Health Service of the U.S. Department of
Health and Human Services. It is the regulatory
agency responsible for ensuring the safety and
wholesomeness of all foods sold in interstate
commerce except meat, poultry and eggs (which
are under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department
of Agriculture). FDA develops standards for the
composition, quality, nutrition, safety and labeling
of foods including food and color additives. It
conducts research to improve detection and prevention
of contamination. It collects and interprets data
on nutrition, food additives and pesticide residues.
The agency also inspects food plants, imported
food products and feed mills that make feeds containing
medications or nutritional supplements that are
destined for human consumption. And it regulates
radiation emitting products such as microwave
ovens. FDA also enforces pesticide tolerances
established by the Environmental Protection Agency
for all domestically produced and imported foods,
except for foods under USDA jurisdiction.
Food Guide Pyramid aa(top
The Food Guide Pyramid is a graphic design used
to communicate the recommended daily food choices
contained in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
The information provided was developed and promoted
by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
food idiosyncrasy aa(top
Non allergic reaction to food or food component
that occurs through unknown mechanisms.
A general term for any adverse reaction to a food
or food component that does not involve the body’s
food irradiation aa(top
The exposure of food to sufficient radiant energy
(gamma rays, x rays and electron beams) to destroy
microorganisms and insects. Irradiation is used
in food production and processing to promote food
food preservatives aa(top
All preservatives prevent spoilage either by slowing
the growth of organisms that live on food or by
protecting the food from oxygen. Antimicrobials
are preservatives that protect food by slowing
the growth of bacteria, molds and yeasts. Antioxidants
are preservatives that protect by preventing food
molecules from combining with oxygen (air).
Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) aa(top
A law (enacted in August 1996) which significantly
amended the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and
Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and the Federal Food,
Drug and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) and thus provided
increased protection for infants and children
from pesticide risk. The new safety standard resulting
from FQPA is a "reasonable certainty of no
harm" standard for aggregate exposure using
dietary residues and all other reliable exposure
food safety aa(top
Food safety is a relative and not absolute matter.
Relative food safety can be defined as the practical,
certainty that injury or damage will not result
from food or ingredient used in reasonable and
customary manner and quantity.
foodborne disease aa(top
Disease, usually gastrointestinal, caused by organisms
or their toxins carried in ingested food. Also
commonly known as "food poisoning."
fortified foods aa(top
Fortified foods have nutrients added to them that
were not present originally. For example, milk
is fortified with vitamin D, which helps your
body absorb calcium and phosphorus found naturally
Free radical aa(top
Highly reactive substances that result from exposure
to oxygen, background radiation, and other environmental
factors. These free radicals cause cellular damage
in the body. The damage may be repaired by antioxidants.
fructo oliogosaccharides (FSO)
A type of prebiotic/probiotic found in Jerusalem
artichokes, shallots and onion powder which may
improve gastrointestinal health.
Fructose is a monosaccharide found naturally in
fruits, as an added sugar in a crystalline form
and as a component of high fructose corn syrup
Fruit is the usually edible reproductive body
of a seed plant, especially one having a sweet
pulp associated with the seed.
functional component aa(top
Those components in food that provide special
health benefits. The abilities of these functional
components may reduce cancer risk, aid digestion,
decrease risk of tooth decay or improve various
other body functions or reduce disease risk.
functional foods aa(top
Foods that may provide health benefits beyond
basic nutrition. Examples include tomatoes with
lycopene, thought to help prevent the incidence
of prostate and cervical cancers; fiber in wheat
bran and sulfur compounds in garlic also believed
to prevent cancer.
A chemical that is mixed with wax and applied
to fruits or vegetables to prevent mold and rot
A monosaccharide occurring in both levo (L) and
dextro (D) forms as a constituent of plant and
animal oligosaccharides (lactose and raffinose)
and polysaccharides (agar and pectin). Galactose
is the sugar derived from digesting lactose (‘milk
gallbladder disease aa(top
There are several different forms of gallbladder
disease: 1) Gallstones without symptoms. About
20% of women and 8% of men will develop gallstones.
In most of these cases, gallstones do not produce
symptoms and thus usually do not require treatment.
2) Biliary colic. This condition occurs when a
gallstone intermittently blocks the duct that
drains the gallbladder (cystic duct). Biliary
colic usually causes severe, steady pain that
lasts from 15 to 60 minutes to up to 6 hours.
3) Inflammation of the gallbladder (acute cholecystitis).
This condition occurs when a gallstone becomes
stuck in the cystic duct, causing severe abdominal
pain that lasts longer then 6 hours. It is the
most common complication of gallstone disease.
4) Chronic cholecystitis. This condition develops
when there is long term (chronic) inflammation
of the gallbladder. The wall of the gallbladder
may be thickened and rigid. 5) Common bile duct
stones (choledocholithiasis). This condition occurs
when a gallstone passes through the cystic duct
into the common bile duct. About 8 to 15% of people
who have gallstones also have common bile duct
stones. Most people who have common bile duct
stones do not have symptoms. However, people who
do have symptoms may develop life threatening
complications, such as infection and inflammation
of the bile duct or pancreas.
The study and appreciation of good food and good
eating, and a culture's culinary customs, style
and lore. Any interest or study of culinary pursuits
as relates essentially to the kitchen and cookery,
and to the higher levels of education, training
and achievement of the chef apprentice or professional
A natural unit of the hereditary material, which
is the physical basis for the transmission of
the characteristics of living organisms from one
generation to another. The basic genetic material
is fundamentally the same in all living organisms;
it consists of chain like molecules of nucleic
acids—deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) in most
organisms and ribonucleic acid (RNA) in certain
viruses—and is usually associated in a linear
arrangement that (in part) constitutes a chromosome.
The extent to which the results of a study are
able to be applied to the general population of
people that is comparable to the population studied.
genetic engineering/genetic modification/genetic
The selective, deliberate alteration of genes
(genetic material) by man. This term has a very
broad meaning including the manipulation and alteration
of the genetic material of an organism in such
a way as to allow it to produce endogenous proteins
with properties different from those of the normal,
or to produce entirely different (foreign) proteins
altogether. Other words applicable to the same
process are gene splicing, gene manipulation,
or recombinant DNA technology.
The total hereditary material of a cell, containing
the entire chromosomal set found in each nucleus
of a given species.
A sugar, most commonly in the form of dextroglucose,
that occurs naturally, has about half the sweetening
power of regular sugar and does not crystallize
easily. Glucose comes from grape juice, honey
and certain vegetables, among other things.
Glutamate is an amino acid. It is necessary for
metabolism and brain function, and is manufactured
by the body. Glutamate is found in virtually every
protein food we eat. In food, there is "bound"
glutamate and "free" glutamate. Glutamate
serves to enhance flavors in foods when it is
in its free form and not bound to other amino
acids in protein. Some foods have greater quantities
of glutamate than others. Foods that are rich
in glutamate include tomatoes, mushrooms, parmesan
cheese, milk and mackerel.
A syrupy type of alcohol derived from sugar which
is used in food flavorings to maintain desired
A colorless, odorless, syrupy liquid—chemically,
an alcohol—that is obtained from fats and
oils and used to retain moisture and add sweetness
Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP)
The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s)
approval mechanism for a process to manufacture
a given food or food additive. It is implemented
instead of specific regulations (such as those
used to dictate processes in simple food manufacturing,
as in beef packing), due to the newness of the
technology and may later be superceded (due to
further advances in the technology).
Grains are the seeds or fruits of various food
plants including cereal grasses. The examples
of wheat, corn, oats, barley, rye and rice provide
a partial list. Grain foods include foods such
as bread, cereals, rice and pasta.
GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe)
GRAS is the regulatory status of food ingredients
not evaluated by the FDA prescribed testing procedure.
It also includes common food ingredients that
were already in use when the 1959 Food Additives
Amendment to the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act was
guar gum aa(top
A substance made from the seeds of the guar plant
which acts as a stabilizer in food systems. Is
found as a food additive in cheese, including
processed cheese, ice cream and dressings.
HACCP (Hazard Analysis
and Critical Control Points) a(top
The underlying approach under HACCP for preventing
foodborne illness and promote quality is to identify
the danger spots and try to avoid them. Instead
of putting the burden on government to discover
that a food safety problem exists, HACCP shifts
responsibility onto the industry to ensure that
the food it produces is safe. Food producers will
have to prevent bacterial contamination from occurring
in the first place. HACCP works by the following
· Identify the likely health hazards to
consumers in a given product.
· Identify the critical points in the processing
where the hazards may occur.
· Establish safety measures to prevent
the hazard from occurring.
· Monitor to make sure the safety measures
· Establish an appropriate remedy if monitoring
shows a problem.
· Establish detailed record keeping to
document monitoring and remedies taken.
· Verify that the whole system is working.
health claims aa(top
Claims that link food—or food components—in
the overall diet with a lowered risk of some chronic
diseases. Strictly regulated by the Food and Drug
Administration, only health claims supported by
scientific evidence are allowed on food labels.
Since this information is optional, many foods
that meet the criteria don’t carry any health
claim on their label.
A spiral, staircase like structure with a repeating
pattern described by two simultaneous operations
(rotation and translation). It is one of the natural
conformations exhibited by biological polymers.
Herbicides are a class of crop protection and
specialty chemicals used to control weeds on farms
and in forests, as well as in non agricultural
applications such as golf courses, public tracts
of land and residential lawns.
high fructose corn syrup (HFCS)
HFCS are formulations generally containing 42
percent, 55 percent or 90 percent fructose (the
remaining carbohydrate being primarily glucose)
depending on the product application. HCFS are
used in products such as soft drinks or cake mixes.
Human Genome Project aa(top
This project is, in simplest terms, a sequencing
of the human genome. Information from the Human
Genome Project is making it possible, for example,
to identify the exact gene (or genes) that influences
a person’s susceptibility to a disease,
to develop new and better drugs, and to identify
thousands of different polymorphisms. The full
scope of the Human Genome Project’s potential
to improve human health is only beginning to be
hybridization of crops aa(top
The mating of two plants from different species
or genetically very different members of the same
species to yield hybrids possessing some of the
characteristics of each parent. Those (hybrid)
offspring tend to be more healthy, productive
and uniform than their parents—a phenomenon
known as “hybrid vigor.”
Hydrogenation is the process of adding hydrogen
molecules directly to an unsaturated fatty acid
from sources such as vegetable oils to convert
it to a semi solid form such as margarine or shortening.
Hydrogenation contributes important textural properties
to food. The degree of hydrogenation influences
the firmness and spreadability of margarines,
flakiness of pie crust and the creaminess of puddings.
Hydrogenated oils are sometimes used in place
of other fats with higher proportions of saturated
fatty acids such as butter or lard.
hyperactivity (See Attention
Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).)
Hypertension is the persistently elevated arterial
blood pressure. It is the most common public health
problem in developed countries. Emphasis on lifestyle
modifications has given diet a prominent role
for both the primary prevention and management
The cells and tissues which are responsible for
recognizing and attacking foreign microbes and
substances in the body.
immunoglobulin E aa(top
The antibody in the immune system that reacts
The number of new cases of a disease during a
given period of time in a defined population.
Insecticides are a class of crop protection and
specialty chemicals used to control insects on
farms and forests, as well as non agricultural
applications such as residential lawncare, golf
courses and public tracts of land.
insoluble fiber aa(top
A type of dietary fiber found in wheat bran, cauliflower,
cabbage and other vegetables and fruits which
helps move foods through the digestive system
and thereby may decrease the risks of cancers
of the colon and rectum. Insoluble fiber may also
help reduce the risk of breast cancer.
integrated pest management (IPM)
Integrated pest management is the coordinated
use of pest and environmental information along
with available pest control methods, including
cultural, biological, genetic and chemical methods,
to prevent unacceptable levels of pest damage
using the most economical means, and with the
least possible hazard to people, property and
intense sweeteners (see low calorie sweeteners)
isoflavones Daidzein, Genistein
A type of phytoestrogen found in soybeans and
soy based foods which may reduce menopause symptoms.
A type of prebiotic/probiotic found in yogurt
and some other dairy products which may improve
A sugar naturally occurring in milk, also known
as "milk sugar," that is the least sweet
of all natural sugars and used in baby formulas
lactose intolerance aa(top
Lactose intolerance is an inherited inability
to properly digest dairy products, due to a deficiency
in the amount of the enzyme, ß galactosidase
in the small intestine. This enzyme is necessary
for the hydrolysis of lactose (a disaccharide)
into its constituent monosaccharides, glucose
and galactose. Symptoms of lactose intolerance,
including abdominal cramps, flatulence and frothy
diarrhea, can increase with age.
A by product of the refining for soybean oil and
is also found in eggs, red meats, spinach and
nuts. Historically, lecithin has been used commercially
in food processing as an emulsifier, instantizing
agent and lubricating agent. Lecithin is a source
of choline when digested; and is a critical component
of the lipoproteins which transport fat and cholesterol
molecules in the blood stream. Lecithin (choline)
promotes synthesis of high density lipoproteins
(i.e., HDLP also know as “good” cholesterol)
by the liver, when it is consumed by humans.
A type of phytoestrogen found in flax, rye and
various vegetables which may provide the health
benefits of lowering LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol
and triglycerides thereby protecting against heart
disease and some cancers.
Listeria monocytogenes is a Gram positive bacterium,
found in at least 37 mammalian species, as well
as 17 species of birds and possibly some fish
and shellfish. The bacteria can be isolated from
soil, and is resistant to heat, freezing and drying.
Listeria has been associated with foods such as
raw milk, soft ripened cheeses, ice cream, raw
vegetables, raw and cooked poultry, raw meat and
raw and smoked fish. Unlike other pathogenic bacteria,
such as salmonella, listeria can survive and grow
at temperatures as low as 5°C (41°F).
Acute infection with listeria may result in flu
like symptoms including persistent fever, followed
by septicemia, meningitis, encephalitis, and intrauterine
or cervical infections in pregnant women. Possible
gastrointestinal symptoms include nausea, vomiting
and diarrhea, alone or couple with other symptoms
low calorie sweetener aa(top
Low calorie sweeteners are non nutritive sweeteners,
also referred to as intense sweeteners. Low calorie
sweeteners can replace nutritive sweeteners in
most foods at a caloric savings of approximately
16 calories per teaspoon. Thus, caloric reduction
may be achieved when low calorie sweetened foods
and beverages are substituted for their full calorie
counterparts. Examples of low calorie sweeteners
in use in the U.S. food supply are saccharin,
aspartame and acesulfame K.
A type of carotenoid found in most green vegetables
which positively contributes to maintenance of
Lycopene is a carotenoid related to the better
known beta carotene. Lycopene gives tomatoes and
some other fruits and vegetables their distinctive
red color. Nutritionally, it functions as an antioxidant.
Research shows lycopene is best absorbed by the
body when consumed as tomatoes that have been
heat processed using a small amount of oil. This
includes products such as tomato sauce and tomato
paste. Also, see functional foods.
An essential, basic amino acid obtained from many
proteins by hydrolysis.
Mad Cow Disease (See
BSE (Bovine spongiform encephalopathy).)
mast cells aa(top
Tissue cells which when connected to immunoglobulin
E antibodies release histamine or other substances
causing allergic symptoms.
meta analysis aa(top
A quantitative technique in which the results
of several individual studies are pooled to yield
The entire set of enzyme catalyzed transformations
of organic nutrient molecules (to sustain life)
in living cells. Conversion of food and water
into nutrients that can be used by the body’s
cells, and the use of those nutrients by those
cells (to sustain life, grow, etc.).
An essential amino acid; furnishes (to organism)
both labile methyl groups and sulfur necessary
for normal metabolism.
methyl cellulose aa(top
A number of gummy substances, produced through
reaction between cellulose and methyls. It is
found in fruit butters and jellies and serves
to keep these products from separating.
Simple unicellular and structurally similar representatives
of the plant and animal kingdoms. With few exceptions,
the unicellular organisms are invisible to the
naked eye and generally have dimensions of between
a fraction of a micron and 200 micron.
mono & di glycerides aa(top
Emulsifying agents found in shortening, margarine,
cacao products and bakery products. Usually derived
from soybean fat, these food additives keep food
products from separating.
MSG (monosodium glutamate) aa(top
MSG is the sodium salt of glutamic acid. Glutamic
acid, or glutamate, is one of the most common
amino acids found in nature. (see glutamate)
In the early part of the century, MSG was extracted
from seaweed and other plant sources. Today, MSG
is produced in many countries around the world
through a fermentation process of molasses from
sugar cane or sugar beets, as well as starch and
morbid obesity aa(top
This is a state of adiposity or overweight, in
which body weight is 100 percent above the ideal
and a body mass index of 45 or greater.
Toxins produced by fungi. More than 350 different
mycotoxins are known to man. Almost all mycotoxins
possess the capacity to harmfully alter the immune
systems of animals. Consumption by humans and
animals of certain mycotoxins (e.g., via eating
infected corn, nuts, peanuts cottonseed products,
etc.) can result in liver toxicity, gastrointestinal
lesions, cancer and muscle necrosis.
Nationwide Food Consumption
Survey (NFCS) aa(top
A survey conducted by the USDA roughly every ten
years that monitors the nutrient intake of a cross
section of the U.S. public.
National Health and Nutrition Examination
A series of surveys that include information from
medical history, physical measurements, biochemical
evaluation, physical examination and dietary intake
of population groups within the United States.
The NHANES is conducted by the U.S. Department
of Health and Human Services approximately every
natural toxins aa(top
A naturally occurring substance (e.g., produced
in some cases by disease causing microorganisms)
which is poisonous to certain other living organisms.
Microscopic, wormlike organisms that feed on plant
A versatile, new no calorie sweetener composed
of two elements of protein, the amino acids L
aspartic acid and L phenylalanine, combined with
two organic functional groups, a methyl ester
group and a neohexyl group. It is approximately
7,000 to 13,000 times sweeter than sugar and as
such captures the “essence of sweetness.”
with only a very small amount required for use.
The chemical composition of neotame makes it stable
for use in baking. The FDA has recently approved
Neotame for use in a variety of food products
and as a tabletop sweetener.
neural tube defect aa(top
In simple terms, a neural tube defect (NTD) is
a malformation of the brain or spinal cord (neurological
system) during embryonic development. Infants
born with spina bifida, where the spinal cord
is exposed, can grow to adulthood but usually
suffer from paralysis or other disabilities. Babies
born with anencephaly, where most or all of the
brain is missing, usually die shortly after birth.
These NTDs make up about 5 percent of all U.S.
birth defects each year.
According to the CDC, the use of sufficient folic
acid is enough to eliminate the risk of NTDs.
(see folic acid)
Nitrite is a safe food additive that has been
used for centuries to preserve meats, fish and
poultry. It also contributes to the characteristic
flavor, color and texture of processed meats such
as hot dogs. Because nitrite safeguards cured
meats against the most deadly foodborne bacterium
of all, Clostridium (C.) botulinum, its use is
supported by the public health community.
The human body generates much greater nitrite
levels than are added to food. Nitrates consumed
in foods such as carrots and green vegetables
are converted to nitrite during digestion. Nitrite
in the body is instrumental in promoting blood
clotting, healing wounds and burns, and boosting
immune function to kill tumor cells.
A nonmetallic element that constitutes nearly
four fifths of the air by volume, occurring as
a colorless, odorless, almost inert diatomic gas
in various minerals and in all proteins. It is
used in a wide variety of important manufacturers,
including ammonia, nitric acid, TNT and fertilizers.
Nitrosamines are a digestive reaction product
of nitrite, a food additive used to preserve meats,
fish and poultry. (Also see nitrite.)
no till farming aa(top
A methodology of crop production in which the
farmer avoids mechanical cultivation (i.e., only
one pass over the field). The plant residue remaining
on the field’s surface helps to control
weeds and reduce soil erosion, but it also provides
sites for insects to shelter and reproduce, leading
to a need for increased insect control.
One term used to describe substances in or parts
of a food that may be considered to provide medical
or health benefits beyond basic nutrition, including
disease prevention. Research indicates this term
might not appeal to consumers. Also, see "functional
nutrient density aa(top
Nutrient dense foods are those that provide substantial
amounts of vitamins and minerals and relatively
fewer calories. The opposite of nutrient dense
is calorie dense which are foods that mainly supply
calories and relatively few nutrients.
obesity, or overweight
Although precise definitions vary among experts,
overweight has been traditionally defined as 10
percent to 20 percent above an optimal weight
for height derived from statistics. Obesity is
defined as body weight being 20% above normal.
Some scientists argue that the amount and distribution
of an individual's body fat is a significant indicator
of health risk and therefore should be considered
in defining overweight. Abdominal fat has been
linked to more adverse health consequences than
fat in the hips or thighs. Thus, calculations
of waist to hip ratio are preferred by some health
experts to help determine if an individual is
omega 3 fatty acids DHA/EPA aa(top
A type of fatty acid found in fish and marine
oils which provide the health benefits of reduced
risk of cardiovascular disease and improved mental
and visual function.
Organic defines agricultural products that are
grown using cultural, biological and mechanical
methods prior to the use of synthetic, non agricultural
substances to control pests, improve soil quality
an/or enhance processing. The USDA is currently
addressing the issue of organic products, and
aims to have official rules for what may be considered
organic ready for the 1999 spring planting season.
Currently organic defines an agricultural process
in which farmers use techniques such as crop rotation,
cultivation, mulching, soil enrichment and the
"encouragement" of predators and microorganisms
which naturally keep pests away. The now widely
accepted definition allows farmers to use natural
pesticides, but nothing synthetic.
Osteoporosis is a skeletal disease in which the
bones lose mass and density, the pores in bones
enlarge, and the bones generally become fragile.
Osteoporosis often is not diagnosed until a fracture
occurs, most commonly in the spine, hip or wrist.
The National Osteoporosis Foundation estimates
that about 1.5 million such fractures occur each
year in the United States, at an estimated annual
cost of $14 billion in 1995.
Osteoporosis is four times more common in women,
whose bones are naturally thinner and less dense,
than in men. Women start losing bone mass and
density at an earlier age, and the process is
accelerated by menopause, causing osteoporosis
to manifest itself between the ages of 50 and
60. Research has shown that in addition to regular
exercise, calcium intake during childhood, adolescence
and early adulthood helps build a "bone bank"
of calcium stores. While bone length is established
by age 20, bone strength and density continue
to develop through age 30.
outcomes research aa(top
A type of research increasingly used by the health
industry which provides information about how
a specific procedure or treatment regimen results:
the subject (clinical safety and efficacy), the
subject's physical functioning and lifestyle,
and economic considerations such as saving/prolonging
life and avoiding costly complications.
The loss of electrons from a compound (or element)
in a chemical reaction. When one compound is oxidized,
another compound is reduced. That is, the other
compound must “pick up” the electrons
that the first has lost.
Acceptable or agreeable to taste.
Virus, bacterium, parasitic protozoan, or other
microorganisms that cause infectious disease by
invading the body of an organism know as the host.
Note that infection is not synonymous with disease
because infection does not always lead to injury
of the host.
A natural gelling agent found in ripe fruit. Pectin
is an important ingredient in making jams and
jellies. Some fruits have high pectin levels (e.g.,
citrus fruit, blackberries, apples and red currants)
but others are low in pectin (e.g., strawberries)
so lemon juice is added to strawberry jam to help
A broad class of crop protection chemicals including
four major types: insecticides used to control
insects; herbicides used to control weeds; rodenticides
used to control rodents; and fungicides used to
control mold, mildew and fungi.
In addition consumers use pesticides in the home
or yard to control termites and roaches, clean
mold from shower curtains, stave off crab grass
on the lawn, kill fleas and ticks on pets and
disinfect swimming pools, to name just a few "specialty"
“Sex perfume” traps used to disrupt
insect reproduction cycles.
A chemical complex (large molecule) substance
that is the dominant (i.e., 60 to 80%) chemical
form of phosphorous within cereal grains, oilseeds,
and their by products. Monogastric animals (e.g.,
swine) cannot digest and utilize phosphorus within
phytate, because they lack the enzyme known as
phytase in their digestive system, so that phosphorus
(phytate) is excreted into the environment. When
phytase enzyme is present in the ration of a monogastric
animal, at a high enough level, the monogastric
animal is then able to digest the phytate (thereby
releasing that phosphorus for absorption by the
Phytochemicals are substances found in edible
fruits and vegetables that may be ingested by
humans daily in gram quantities and that exhibit
a potential for modulating the human metabolism
in a manner favorable for reducing risk of cancer.
(see functional foods)
Sometimes casually referred to as a "sugar
pill," a placebo is a "fake" treatment
which seems identical to the real treatment. Placebo
treatments are used to eliminate bias that may
arise from the expectation that a treatment should
produce an effect.
A type of sweetener used in reduced calorie foods.
They differ from intense sweeteners in that they
are considered nutritive; that is, they do contribute
calories to the diet. Polyols are incompletely
absorbed and metabolized, however, and consequently
contribute fewer calories than sucrose. The polyols
commonly used in the United States include sorbitol,
mannitol, xylitol, maltitol, maltitol syrup, lactitol,
erythritol, isomalt and hydrogenated starch hydrolysates.
Most are approximately half as sweet as sucrose;
maltitol and xylitol are about as sweet as sucrose.
Polyols are found naturally in berries, apples,
plums and other foods. They also are produced
commercially from carbohydrates such as sucrose,
glucose, and starch for use in sugar free candies,
cookies and chewing gum. Along with adding a sweet
taste, polyols perform a variety of functions
such as adding bulk and texture, providing a cooling
effect or taste, preventing the browning that
occurs during heating and retaining the moisture
post harvest waxes aa(top
After a fruit or vegetable is picked, it continues
to need moisture to stay fresh and edible. To
help retain moisture, certain varieties of fresh
produce are given new wax coating to replace the
natural wax the fruit or vegetable loses during
harvest and shipping. If a fungicide is mixed
with the wax to prevent molding, retail stores
must label the waxed produce.
The number of existing cases of a disease in a
defined population at a specified time.
A prion is a rogue protein, that appears to cause
Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).
A type of tannin found in cranberries, cranberry
products, cocoa and chocolate which may provide
the health benefits of improving urinary tract
health and of reducing the risk of cardiovascular
prospective study aa(top
Epidemiological research that follows a group
of people over a period of time to observe the
potential effects of diet, behavior and other
factors on health or the incidence of disease.
In general, this is considered a more valid research
design than retrospective research.
Chemically, a protein is a complex nitrogenous
compound made up of amino acids in peptide linkages.
Dietary proteins are involved in the synthesis
of tissue protein and other special metabolic
functions. In anabolic processes they furnish
the amino acids required to build and maintain
body tissues. As an energy source, proteins are
equivalent to carbohydrates in providing 4 calories
per gram. Proteins perform a major structural
role in all body tissues and in the formation
of enzymes, hormones and various body fluids and
secretions. Proteins participate in the transport
of some lipids, vitamins and minerals and help
maintain the body's homeostasis.
randomization, or random
A process of assigning subjects to experimental
or control groups in which the subjects have an
equal chance of being assigned to each group.
Randomization is used to control for known, unknown
and difficult to control for variables. random
sample A random sample is a procedure to select
subjects for a study in which all individuals
in a population being studied have an equal chance
of being selected. using a random sample allows
the results of the study to be generalized to
the entire population.The term random also applies
to assignments within controlled studies, or the
division of subjects into groups. Random assignment
ensures that all subjects have an equal chance
of being in the experimental and control groups,
and increases the probability that any unidentified
variable will systematically occur in both groups
with the same frequency.
Randomization is crucial to control for variables
that researchers may not be aware of or cannot
adequately control, but which could affect the
outcome of an experimental study. random sampling
A method by which subjects are selected to participate
in a study in which all individuals in a population
have and equal chance of being chosen. This helps
to ensure the generalizability of the study results.
rapid assays aa(top
These diagnostic tests use emerging technology
to identify and remove impurities from foods before
they reach the consumer. There are two major types
of rapid assays. Antibody based assays link a
"familiar" characteristic on a pathogen's
surface (the antigen) to a substance known as
an antibody. When this connection is made, the
test registers "success." Similarly,
nucleic acid based assays use the unique genetic
materials of the cells to detect a pathogen.
recombinant DNA (rDNA) aa(top
The DNA formed by combining segments of DNA from
different organisms. reliability Whether a test
or instrument used to collect data, such as a
questionnaire, gives the same results if repeated
on the same person several times. A reliable test
gives reproducible results.
An enzyme used to make cheese. Rennet is extracted
from the lining of calves’ stomachs. New
technologies have enabled the removal of the specific
gene that produces rennet and have reproduced
it in bacteria. This allows the production of
rennet through a fermentation process, eliminating
the need for extracts from calves’ stomachs.
research design aa(top
How a study is set up to collect information,
or data. For valid results, the design must be
appropriate to answer the question or hypothesis
residual confounding aa(top
The effect that remains after one has attempted
to statistically control for variables that cannot
be measured perfectly. A particularly important
concept in epidemiological studies because knowledge
of human biology is still developing. Unknown
variables could exist that could significantly
change conclusions made on the basis of epidemiological
retrospective study aa(top
Research that relies on recall of past data, or
on previously recorded information. Often this
type of research is considered to have limitations,
because the number of variables that cannot be
controlled, and because memory is not infallible.
A term encompassing a variety of measures of the
probability of an outcome. It's usually used in
reference to unfavorable outcomes such as illness
or death. Be certain to distinguish between absolute
and relative risk.
risk factor aa(top
A risk factor is anything statistically shown
to have a relationship with the incidence of a
disease, however it does not necessarily infer
cause and effect.
RNA Also known as ribonucleic acid.
RNA is a molecule similar to DNA that functions
primarily to decode the instructions carried by
genes for protein synthesis.
Saccharin, the oldest of the non nutritive sweeteners,
is currently produced from purified, manufactured
methyl anthranilate, a substance occurring naturally
in grapes. It is 300 times sweeter than sucrose,
heat stable and does not promote dental caries.
Saccharin has a long shelf life, but a slightly
bitter aftertaste. It is not metabolized in the
human digestive system, is excreted rapidly in
the urine and does not accumulate in body.
Salmonella is a Gram negative bacterium, occurring
in many animals, especially poultry and swine.
In the environment, salmonella can be found in
water, soil, insects, factory and kitchen surfaces,
animal fecal matter, and raw meats, poultry (including
eggs) and seafood.Acute symptoms of the illness
caused by the Salmonella species include nausea,
vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headache
The functional component of soybeans, soy foods
and soy protein containing food which may lower
LDL cholesterol and may contain anti cancer enzymes.
saturated fat aa(top
Saturated fats are those in which all carbons
contain a hydrogen, and therefore, no double bonds
exist. In general, fats that contain a majority
of saturated fatty acids are solid at room temperature,
although some solid vegetable shortenings are
up to 75 percent unsaturated. Some common fatty
acids in foods include palmitic, stearic and myristic
acids. Saturated fatty acids are more stable than
unsaturated fatty acids because of their chemical
structure. Stability is important to prevent rancidity
and off flavors and odors. selective breeding
This process allows for the transfer of only one
or a few desirable genes, thereby permitting scientists
to develop crops with specific beneficial traits
and those without undesirable traits. Current
technology allows scientists to alter one plant
characteristic at a time, thereby not spending
years trying to develop the tastiest and hardiest
self fixer aa(top
The innate ability of legumes like soybeans to
“fix” nitrogen, which means to use
the natural nitrogen in the soil and air. These
natural nitrogen fixers replenish the nitrogen
supply in the soil from which they were harvested.
Breeders desire to develop other crops that can
“fix” their own nitrogen which would
thereby decrease farmers’ use of synthetic
fertilizers while maintaining bountiful yields.
sodium nitrite aa(top
A salt used in smoked or cured fish and in meat
curing preparation. It acts as a preservative
and color fixative. Can combine with chemicals
in the stomach to form nitrosamine, a carcinogenic
soluble fiber aa(top
A type of dietary fiber found in psyllium, cereals,
oatmeal, apples, citrus fruits, beans and other
foods which increases the viscosity in the gut
and acts to reduce high blood cholesterol levels
which decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease.
soy protein aa(top
The protein found in soybeans and soy based foods
which when consumed at the level of 25 grams per
day may reduce the risk of heart disease.
spina bifida aa(top
Spina bifida is a birth defect in which the infant
is born with the spinal cord exposed. These children
can grow to adulthood although they often suffer
from paralysis and other disabilities. Also, see
"neural tube defects (NTDs)."
stanol/sterol esters aa(top
A functional component found in wood oils, corn,
soy and wheat which may reduce the risk of coronary
heart disease by lowering blood cholesterol levels.
staple crops aa(top
Those crops which are most common in people’s
diets are considered staple crops. Staple crops
of greatest importance include rice, wheat and
maize (corn). These three crops provide 60 percent
of the world’s food energy intake. And rice
feeds almost half of humanity. Typically, staple
crops are well adapted to the conditions in their
source areas. For example, they may be tolerant
of drought, pests or soils low in nutrients.
statistical power aa(top
A mathematical quantity that indicates the probability
a study has of obtaining a statistically significant
effect. A high power of 80 percent, or 0.8, indicates
that the study if conducted repeatedly—would
produce a statistically significant effect 80
percent of the time. On the other hand, a power
of only 0.1 means there would be a 90 percent
chance that the research missed the effect—if
one exists at all.
statistical significance aa(top
The probability of obtaining an effect or association
in a study sample as or more extreme that the
one observed if there was actually no effect in
the population. Based on the hypothesis that if
there truly is no effect, the results of a study
are unlikely to have occurred. A P value of less
than five percent (P<0.05) means the result
would occur less than five percent of the time
if there were no effect, and is generally considered
evidence of a true treatment effect or a true
A saturated fatty acid containing eighteen carbon
atoms in its molecular “backbone”
that is essentially neutral in effect on coronary
heart disease in humans (i.e., doesn’t appreciably
increase low density lipoproteins in the bloodstream).
Because of the heart disease neutrality and resistance
to oxidation/breakdown, stearate containing oils
are an excellent cooking oil choice.
Sucralose is the only low calorie sweetener that
is made from sugar. It is approximately 600 times
sweeter and does not contain calories. Sucralose
is highly stable under a wide variety of processing
conditions. Thus, it can be used virtually anywhere
sugar can, including cooking and baking, without
losing any of its sugar like sweetness.Currently,
sucralose is approved in over 25 countries around
the world for use in food and beverages. In the
US, the FDA has been petitioned to approve the
use of sucralose in 15 different food and beverage
categories. sucrose Sucrose, a type of sugar,
is a diglyceride composed of glucose and fructose.
Also, see "carbohydrates."
Although the consumer is confronted by a wide
variety of sugars—sucrose, raw sugar, turbinado
sugar, brown sugar, honey, corn syrup—there
is no significant difference in the nutritional
content or energy each provides, and therefore
no advantage of one nutritionally over another.
There also is no evidence that the body can distinguish
between naturally occurring or added sugars in
food products. sugar alcohols Ingredients used
to add sweet flavors to food. Those often used
instead of sugars include sorbitol, mamitol, and
xylitol. Many fruits and vegetables contain sugar
alcohols naturally. They’re also found in
some sugarless gum, hard candies, jams and jellies.
Besides adding sweetness, sugar alcohols also
add texture, help foods stay moist, prevent browning
when food is heated and give a cooling effect
to the taste of food. They supply four calories
per gram, but are absorbed slowly and incompletely
and thus require little or no insulin for metabolism.
They are not cavity producing because they are
not metabolized by bacteria that produce cavities.
Sulfiting agents are sometimes used to preserve
the color of foods such as dried fruits and vegetable,
and to inhibit the growth of microorganisms in
fermented foods such as wine. Sulfites are safe
for most people. A small segment of the population,
however, has been found to develop shortness of
breath or fatal shock shortly after exposure to
these preservatives. Sulfites can provoke severe
asthma attacks in sulfite sensitive asthmatics.
For that reason, in 1986 the FDA banned the use
of sulfites on fresh fruits and vegetables (except
potatoes) intended to be sold or served raw to
consumers. Sulfites added to all packaged and
processed foods must be listed on the product
A functional component of cruciferous vegetables
(e.g., broccoli, kale, horseradish) which provides
the health benefits of neutralizing free radicals
and possibly reducing the risk of cancer.
synergistic effect aa(top
The effect achieved by the combination of two
or more substances or organisms which neither
alone could accomplish.
thermal effect of food
The increase in energy expenditure associated
with the processes of digestion, absorption and
metabolism of food; represents approximately 10%
of a person’s total energy expenditure and
includes facultative thermogenesis and obligatory
thermogenesis; often called diet induced thermogenesis
A scientist who studies the nature, effects and
detection of poisons and the treatment of poisoning.
The scientific study of the chemistry effects
and treatment of poisonous substances.
traditional crop breeding aa(top
For traditional crop breeding, breeders mix thousands
of genes in order to transfer the protein products
to enhance one or a few genetic traits. Therefore,
the odds of something undesirable being transferred
unintentionally are far greater in traditional
breeding than in biotechnology.
trans fats aa(top
Trans fats occur naturally in beef, butter, milk
and lamb fats and in commercially prepared, partially
hydrogenated margarines and solid cooking fats.
The main sources of trans fats in the American
diet today are margarine, shortening, commercial
frying fats and high fat baked goods. Partially
hydrogenated vegetable oils were developed in
part to help displace highly saturated animal
and vegetable fats used in frying, baking and
spreads. However, trans fats, like saturated fats,
may raise blood LDL cholesterol levels (the so
called "bad" cholesterol) but not as
much as the saturates do. At high consumption,
levels may also reduce the HDL or "good"
Type I diabetes aa(top
Insulin dependent (Type I) diabetes is less common
than Type II. This disease occurs when the pancreas
can’t make insulin, or at least not enough.
Often this form of diabetes begins in childhood
or the young adult years, but people of any age
can get it. Insulin shots are required daily.
Type II diabetes Non insulin dependent (Type II)
diabetes is the more common type of diabetes and
people of African American, Hispanic and Native
American decent are at higher risk of this disease.
The disease develops slowly and usually becomes
evident after age 40. Being overweight is a common
risk factor. Often it can be controlled through
diet, weight control and exercise.