Calorie: The amount of energy in food is measured in terms of kilojoules or kilocalories. Kilocalories are commonly known as Calories and abbreviated as kcal. One Calorie (kcal) has the same energy value as 4.186 kilojoules (kJ), while one kilojoule is equivalent to 0.24 Calories. One Calorie contains the amount of energy that will raise the temperature of one litre of water by 1 degree Celsius. In Australia, kilojoules are the preferred measure of energy in food.
Cardiovascular disease: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is any disease of the heart (cardio) or blood vessels (vascular). Some forms of CVD are very common in Australia, including hypertension (high blood pressure), coronary heart disease (CHD), heart failure and cerebrovascular disease.
Cerebrovascular disease: Damage to blood vessels in the brain. Vessels can burst and bleed or become clogged with fatty deposits. When blood flow is interrupted, brain cells die or are damaged, resulting in a stroke.
Characterising ingredients: an ingredient or category of ingredients that:
- Is mentioned in the name of the food (e.g. apple pie); or
- Is usually associated with the name of the food by the consumer (e.g. vegetables in a spring roll); or
- Is emphasised on the label of a food in words, pictures or graphics (e.g. cheese if it emphasised by the words ‘Extra Cheese’ printed on a package of frozen pizza. In that case, the proportion of cheese would need to be declared as a percentage).
Cholesterol: A fat-like substance that has a number of functions in the body including aiding the digestion of food and regulating blood sugar levels. Most of the cholesterol in the body is made in the liver and the remainder comes from some of the foods we eat. There are two types of cholesterol in the body: high density or HDL cholesterol, which is also known as “good” cholesterol and low density or LDL cholesterol, known as “bad” cholesterol. High levels of cholesterol in the blood can increase the risk of developing heart disease. Foods containing saturated fats have been found to increase the level of “bad” cholesterol in the blood.
Chronic disease: A disease that is long-lasting or recurrent. Examples include some cancers, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.
Chronic kidney disease: A condition which occurs when the kidneys cannot do their job of cleaning blood of toxins and waste products. Anemia (when the level of healthy red blood cells in the body becomes too low) is a common complication of chronic kidney disease because the kidneys are unable to manufacture enough erythropoietin, a hormone that regulates the production of red blood cells. Diabetes and high blood pressure are two main causes of chronic kidney disease.
Colorectal cancer: A cancer that develops in the colon or the rectum. The colon and rectum are parts of the digestive system, which is also called the gastrointestinal tract (digestive tract).
Co-morbidity: The presence of one or more disorders (or diseases) in addition to an existing independent disease or disorder.
Coronary heart disease: A disease in which there is a narrowing or blockage of the coronary arteries (blood vessels that carry blood and oxygen to the heart). Coronary heart disease is usually caused by atherosclerosis (a build up of fatty material and plaque inside the coronary arteries).
Diet: commonly used to mean any type of restricted eating pattern, however the word also means the food and drinks usually consumed and so by definition, everyone follows a diet.
Energy: Is not a food or nutrient but is released from food components. The energy obtained from food is measured in kilojoules or Calories. Fat, carbohydrate and protein provide energy and are found in foods which also supply vitamin and minerals. Alcohol (not essential to the body) also contains energy but alcoholic drinks do not generally provide any vitamins and minerals. Protein contains 17kJ/g, fat contains 37kJ/g, carbohydrate 16kJ/g and alcohol contains 29kJ/g.
Energy dense: Foods or drinks that contain a high level of kilojoules per unit weight or volume.
Energy dense low nutrient: - some foods are not only energy dense but also have limited nutrient content. Confectionary and soft drink are examples of energy dense, nutrient poor foods and drinks. These provide little nutritional value and are easy to consume in large amounts, adding significantly to energy intake and the risk of overweight or obesity.
Energy expenditure: The amount of energy (kilojoules) that a person uses. Energy is used by people to breathe, circulate blood, digest food, and be physically active.
Energy intake: The number of kilojoules/Calories consumed each day. Energy intake is made up of the total amount of carbohydrates, fats, proteins and alcohol consumed.
"Extras": Foods that are not essential to provide the nutrients that the body needs. Examples include biscuits, cakes, desserts, pastries, soft drinks, high fat snack items such as chips, pies, pastries, sausage rolls and other takeaways, lollies and chocolate. It is recommended that 'extras' foods are consumed occasionally only or in small amounts.
Five food groups: The five foods groups are:
- Bread, cereals, rice, pasta, noodles
- Vegetables, legumes
- Milk, yogurt, cheese
- Meat, fish, poultry, eggs, nuts, legumes.
Glycaemic index: The effect different carbohydrates have on blood sugar levels. Low glycaemic index foods will keep you satisfied for longer.
Kilojoule: A kilojoule is a unit of measure of energy, in the same way that kilometres measure distance. Food energy can also be measured in terms of the nutritional or ‘large’ Calorie (Cal) or kilocalorie (kcal). One Calorie or kilocalorie has the same energy value as 4.186 kilojoules (kJ).
Kilojoule requirements: The amount of energy, from food, required by a person each day for good health. Daily energy requirements vary depending on age, gender, body size and activity levels.
Legumes: Legumes (also known as pulses) are a group of plant foods that are a good source of the nutrients protein and fibre. Examples of legumes include split peas, kidney beans, soy beans, chick peas, and lentils. You can buy lentils in the supermarket either dry (which need to be soaked before cooking) or canned
Metabolic syndrome: a condition when a person experiences a number of risk factors for chronic disease e.g. a waist measurement in the risk range along with high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Monounsaturated fat: A type of fat found in most plant-based oils and margarines such as olive, canola and peanut oils, avocados, nuts and leaner meats. While monounsaturated fats are found in food, they can also be made by the body. Monounsaturated fats help to lower levels of “bad” cholesterol without lowering the levels of “good” cholesterol in your blood.
Nutrient: A component of food considered to be essential for growth and for maintaining good health. Carbohydrate, fat, protein, fibre, vitamins, minerals, and water are all nutrients.
Obesity: Obesity is defined as an excess of total body fat and is indicated by a BMI of ≥30 kg/m2.
Osteoarthritis: Osteoarthritis results in pain in the joints, joint cartilage wearing down and apposing bone surfaces rubbing against each other. Although the condition tends to occur in the elderly, it is also associated with obesity, which places undue stress on weight-bearing joints.
Osteoporosis: A progressive bone disease, where calcium dissolves from the bone leaving it weak and likely to break. Fractures can lead to chronic pain, loss of mobility and independence and even premature death. The main risk factors for osteoporosis are related to diet (particularly low calcium intake) and physical inactivity.
Overweight: Overweight is defined as having a body weight greater than is desirable for good health and is indicated by a body mass index (BMI) between 25 to 29.9 kg/m2.
Polyunsaturated fat: A type of fat considered essential to consume in the diet as the body is unable to make all of these fats all from other food components. There are two types of polyunsaturated fat: omega-6 and omega-3. Omega-6 fats are found in vegetable oils and margarines such as canola and sunflower and are essential for growth, cell structure, and maintaining a healthy immune system. Omega 6 fats help to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. Omega-3 fats are found in different forms in oils from cold water fish such as salmon, tuna and sardines and grass-fed beef (long chain omega-3 fats). Plant sources of other omega 3 fats include flax seeds (linseed oil). Omega-3 fats play a role in regulating blood pressure and blood clotting, help to maintain a healthy immune system, and assists in brain and spinal cord function.
Portion: A portion is an amount of a food that each considers to be sufficient for one person at one time and can vary depending on the person and the type of food. Portions can be large or small in size. Portion sizes have increased considerably over the last two decades.
Processed foods: Processed foods are foods that have been altered from their natural state, usually for the purposes of safety, convenience, taste and aesthetics. Commercial food processing commonly includes canning, freezing, pickling or smoking. While these processes have their benefits it is important to be aware that some processed foods can be major contributors to high intakes of salt, sugar and fat in the Australian diet.
Recommended Dietary Intakes (RDI): The recommended levels of intake for essential nutrients considered to be adequate to meet the nutritional needs of practically all healthy people, in the judgment of the National Health and Medical Research Council, on the basis of the best available current scientific knowledge.
Serve: A Serve: the amount of a food, defined by an organisation to be for one person at one time. The packaging on food labels often uses the concept of serves to inform the buyer how much of a food product is for one person, and to inform the buyer of how many one person 'serves' are in the total amount of the product or package. Nutritional information is then provided by this serve size. Care must be taken when reading labels as the serve size can vary although for some products this is standardised (For example, a serve of 'ready to eat' cereal is usually defined on most food labels as 30g of the cereal (often a cup of flakes or 1/4 of a cup of muesli). More information on the use of serves on food labels is provided at Food Standards Australia New Zealand
The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating provides definitions for what are considered to be one serve of a particular food type. The Guide uses the term 'sample serve' which is interchangeable with the term 'serve'. Serves define equivalent foods within a food group, for example, in the bread, cereal, rice, pasta, noodles food group, one serve is the amount of these foods that provide 600kj of energy. In bread, one serve is defined as 2 slices, which is equivalent to one serve of cooked rice (1 cup). Serves are interchangeable within a food group but not between food groups, for example, a serve from the bread, cereal, rice, pasta, noodles food group is not interchangeable or equivalent to a serve of food from the fruit group.
Saturated fat: A type of fat that tends to be solid at room temperature and can be found in whole milk, cream, butter, hard cheese, meats, coconut oil, and palm oil. Saturated fats increase the risk of cardiovascular disease by raising the “bad” cholesterol in your blood. Sources of saturated fats in the Australian diet include fatty processed meats, baked cereal based foods such as cakes, pastries and biscuits, and whole milk products.
Subcutaneous fat: Fat which is found beneath the skin.
Trans Fats: Trans fat is a type of unsaturated fat that acts like saturated fat, causing your blood cholesterol levels to rise. Trans fats occur naturally in small amounts in meat and some dairy products, but are mainly found in manufactured processed foods such as cakes, biscuits, pies, and some fatty take-aways.
Type 2 diabetes: A chronic disease in which the body is unable to regulate glucose (blood sugar). Diabetes occurs because the body produces little or no insulin or does not respond to insulin properly. Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar. Type 2 diabetes usually begins in adulthood, and may or may not require insulin it can often be controlled with a special diet, exercise, and or medication. A higher percentage of obese individuals have type 2 diabetes than does the general population.
Visceral fat: Also known as organ fat and is packed in between internal organs.
Waist measurement: A measure of a person’s waist circumference. The correct position to measure waist circumference is at the horizontal position halfway between the lowest rib and the top of the hipbone. This position is roughly in-line with the belly button.