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Food-Info.net> Glossary A-F

GLOSSARY

Part 1 : A | B | C | D | E | F

A

Acceptable daily intake (ADI)

Acesulfame K

Acid

Chemically, compounds that dissociate (ionize) in water to give rise to hydrogen ions (H+); they taste sour. Mineral acids such as hydrochloric, sulphuric, and nitric are more or less completely dissociated and so are strong acids. Organic acids are generally weak since they are not completely dissociated.

A dictionary of Food and Nutrition, Oxford University Press, A.E Bender and D.A Bender 1995

 

Additives (food additives)

Aflatoxins

Alkali(base)

A compound that takes up hydrogen ions and so raises the pH of a solution.

Allergen (food allergen)

A food allergen is the part of a food (normally a protein) that stimulates the immune system of food allergic individuals. A single food can contain multiple food allergens. Carbohydrates or fats are not allergens.

www.ific.org

Allergy (food allergy)

Amino acids

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 conditions.

www.ific.org

 

Anemia

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 toxicity.

www.ific.org

 

Anorexia Nervosa

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.

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Antibiotics

Antibiotics are used to prevent and treat bacterial diseases in humans and animals. In animal agriculture antibiotics are also used to improve the rate of growth and the feed efficiency of animals so they produce more meat or milk on less feed.

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Antibody

A type of protein produced by the immune system of humans and higher animals in response to the presence of a specific antigen.

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Antigen

A foreign substance (almost always a protein) that, when introduced into the body, stimulates an immune response.

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Antimetabolite

Compound that inhibits a normal metabolic process, acting as an analogue of a normal metabolite. Some are useful in chemotherapy of cancer, others are naturally occurring toxins in foods, frequently causing vitamin deficiency diseases by inhibiting the normal metabolism of the vitamin.

 

Antioxidant

Antisense

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.

www.ific.org

 

Aspartame

Asthma

The difficulty experienced in breathing due to excessive contraction of the involuntary muscle in the walls of bronchial tubes leading into the lungs, with consequent narrowing of the tubes. The muscle reacts excessively to a wide range of stimuli such as infections, exertion, and, most importantly, allergens, the substances that cause allergies. If the attack is prolonged it is complicated by plugging of the small airways by abnormal secretion, and it is this that can make asthma a threat to life. Asthma commonly starts in childhood, and about half those affected improve or recover around puberty. The condition can be alleviated by drug treatment.

Oxford Paperback Encyclopaedia, Oxford University Press 1998

 

Atherosclerosis

A condition that exists when too much cholesterol builds up in the blood and accumulates in the walls of the blood vessels.

www.ific.org

 

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

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.

www.ific.org

 

ATP

Adenosine triphosphate, the coenzyme that acts as an intermediate between energy-yielding (catabolic) metabolism (the oxidation of metabolic fuels) and energy expenditure as physical work and in synthetic (anabolic) reactions. ADP (adenosine diphosphate) is phosphorylated to ATP linked to oxidations; in energy expenditure ATP is hydrolysed to ADP and phosphate ions.

A dictionary of Food and Nutrition, Oxford University Press, A.E. Bender and D.A. Bender 1995

 

Autoclave

A vessel in which high temperatures can be achieved by using high pressure; the domestic pressure cooker is an example. At atmospheric pressure water boils at 100 °C; at 5 lb (35 kPa) above atmospheric pressure the boiling point is 109 °C; at 10 lb (70 kPa), 115 °C; at 15 lb (105 kPa), 121 °C, and at 20 lb (140 kPa), 126 °C.

Autoclaves have two major uses. In cooking, the higher temperature reduces the time needed. At these higher temperatures, and under moist conditions, bacteria are destroyed more rapidly, so permitting sterilization of foods, surgical dressing and instruments, etc.

A dictionary of Food and Nutrition, Oxford University Press, A.E Bender and D.A Bender 1995

 

B

Bacon

Cured (and usually smoked) meat from the back, sides, and belly of a pig; variety of cuts with differing fat contents.

A 100-g portion of boiled collar joint is a rich source of protein, niacin, and vitamin B1, a source of vitamin B2 and iron; contains 30 g of fat of which 40% is saturated; supplies 320 kcal (1345 kJ). A 100-g grilled gammon rasher is exceptionally rich in vitamin B1 (0.9 mg); a rich source of protein and niacin; a good source of iron; a source of vitamin B2; contains 12 g of fat of which 40% is saturated; supplies 230 kcal (970 kJ). A 100-g portion of fried, streaky bacon is a rich source of protein, niacin, and vitamin B1; a source of vitamin B2 and iron; contains 45 g of fat of which 40% is saturated; supplies 500 kcal (2100 kJ). Also a source of zinc, copper, and selenium.

Gammon is bacon made from the top of the hind legs; green bacon has been cured but not smoked.

A dictionary of Food and Nutrition, Oxford University Press, A.E Bender and D.A Bender 1995

 

Bacteria

Unicellular micro-organisms, ranging between 0.5 and 5 [mu]m in size. They may be classified on the basis of their shape: spherical (coccus), rodlike (bacilli), spiral (spirillum), comma-shaped (vibrio), corkscrew-shaped (spirochaetes), or filamentous. Other classifications are based on whether or not they are stained by Gram's stain, aerobic(need oxygen to grow) or anaerobic(grows without oxygen), and autotrophic or heterotrophic. Some bacteria form spores which are relatively resistant to heat and sterilizing agents.

Bacteria are responsible for much food spoilage, and for disease (pathogenic bacteria which produce toxins), but they are also made use of, for example in the pickling process and fermentation of milk, as well as in the manufacture of vitamins and amino acids and a variety of enzymes and hormones.

Between 45 and 85% of the dry matter of bacteria is protein, and some can be grown on petroleum residues, methane, or methanol for use in animal feed.

A dictionary of Food and Nutrition, Oxford University Press, A.E Bender and D.A Bender 1995

 

Barley

Grain of Hordeum vulgare, one of the hardiest of the cereals; mainly used for brewing beer. The whole grain with only the outer husk removed (pot, Scotch, or hulled barley) requires several hours' cooking; the commercial product is usually pearl barley where most of the husk and germ is removed. Barley flour is ground pearl barley; barley flakes are the flattened grain. A 150-g portion of cooked pearl barley (50 g dry cereal) is a source of niacin, vitamin B6, folate, zinc, copper, and iron; provides 9 g of dietary fibre; supplies 180 kcal (750 kJ).

A dictionary of Food and Nutrition, Oxford University Press, A.E Bender and D.A Bender 1995

 

Bias

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.

www.ific.org

 

Biopesticide

A biopesticide is any material of natural origin used in pest control derived from living organisms, such as bacteria, plant cells or animal cells.

www.ific.org

 

Biotechnology

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.

www.ific.org

 

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.

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Body mass index

 

Boiling point

The temperature at which the saturated vapour pressure of a liquid equals the external atmospheric pressure. As a consequence, bubbles form in the liquid and the temperature remains constant until all the liquid has evaporated. As the boiling point of a liquid depends on the external atmospheric pressure, boiling points are usually quoted for standard atmospheric pressure (760 mmHg = 101 325 Pa).

A dictionary of science, Oxford University Press, Market House Books Ltd 1999

 

Botulism

A rare and serious form of food poisoning from foods containing the toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum . The toxin can affect the cardiac and respiratory centres of the brain and may result in death by heart or lung failure. The bacterium thrives in improperly preserved foods, such as tinned raw meats. The toxin is invariably destroyed in cooking.

The Macmillan encyclopaedia, Market house Ltd 2000

 

Botulinum toxin

A toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum, which can cause fatal food poisoning. It is the most toxic substance known to man.

A dictionary of Biology, Oxford University Press, Market House Books Ltd 2000

 

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.

www.ific.org

 

Bovril

Trade name for a preparation of meat extract, hydrolysed beef, beef powder and yeast extract, used as a beverage, a flavouring agent, and for spreading on bread. A 10-g portion is a good source of vitamin B2 and a source of niacin.

A dictionary of Food and Nutrition, Oxford University Press, A.E Bender and D.A Bender 1995

 

rBST (bovine somatotropin)

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.

www.ific.org

 

Bread

A staple food made basically by baking a mixture of flour and water. Ordinary leavened bread is made by mixing a dough of flour, water, yeast, sugar, salt, and sometimes other ingredients. The dough is kneaded and left to rise twice, a process that can take several hours, before being baked. White loaves, rolls, French sticks, and brown bread are made from different types of wheat flour. Rye bread is another variety, which has a stronger more bitter flavour and can be black, brown, or white.Bread has been baked since the earliest times, evidence of barley cakes having been found in Neolithic dwellings.

The Macmillan encyclopaedia, Market house Ltd 2000

 

Brewing

The process by which beers, ales, and lagers are made. In the West the basic ingredient of beer is barley, while in Africa millet or maize may be used, and rice beer is made in Japan . In beer-making the barley or other grain is germinated, and the young seedlings are then dried to produce malt. The malt is ground, and placed in a mash tub with water and cereal, where enzymes in the malt convert the starch into fermentable sugars. The resulting liquid, called wort, is transferred to a brewing kettle, where flavourings, particularly hops, are added, and the mixture is boiled. The mixture is then filtered, and fermentation is stimulated by the introduction of yeast. Traditionally, the liquid at this stage is filtered again and placed in wooden barrels, where fermentation continues. Ales and stouts are usually fermented at 15-20°C, while lagers are fermented at 6-8°C for longer periods. In keg beers and lagers, fermentation is stopped after only a short period by placing the liquid in sealed metal barrels and introducing carbon dioxide.

Oxford paperback encyclopaedia, Oxford University Press 1998

 

Broiling

Cooking by direct heat over a flame, as in a barbecue; American term for grilling. Pan broiling is cooking through hot dry metal over direct heat.

A dictionary of Food and Nutrition, Oxford University Press, A.E. Bender and D.A. Bender 1995

 

Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis)

Brown sugar

Brown sugar has a molasses film on the sugar crystals, which imparts the brown colour and characteristics flavour of this sugar. It contains approximately 2% moisture and requires storage protection against moisture loss.

Essentials of food science- Vickie A. Vaclavik

 

Buffer

Substances that prevent a change in the pH when acid or alkali is added. Salts of weak acids and bases are buffers and are commonly used to control the acidity of foods. Amino acids and proteins also act as buffers. The pH of blood (acid-base balance) is maintained by physiological buffers including phosphates, bicarbonate, and proteins.

A dictionary of Food and Nutrition, Oxford University Press, A.E Bender and D.A Bender 1995

 

Bulimia Nervosa

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.

www.ific.org

 

Butter

Made from separated cream by churning (sweet cream butter); legally not less than 80% fat (and not more than 16% water) of which around 60% is saturated, a small proportion (3%) polyunsaturated, the rest being mono-unsaturated. Lactic butter, which is preferred in some countries, is made by first ripening the cream with a bacterial culture to produce lactic acid and increase the flavour (due to diacetyl). This is normally unsalted or up to 0.5% salt added. Sweet cream butter may be salted up to 2%. Butter supplies 72 kcal (300 kJ) per g; a 40-g portion (as spread on 4 slices of bread) is a rich source of vitamin A and contains 32 g of fat, of which two-thirds is saturated; supplies 300 kcal (1260 kJ).

A dictionary of Food and Nutrition, Oxford University Press, A.E. Bender and D.A. Bender 1995

 

Buttermilk

The residue left after churning butter, 0.1-2% fat, with the other constituents of milk proportionally increased. It is slightly acidic, with a distinctive flavour due to the presence of diacetyl and other substances. Usually made by adding lactic bacteria to skim milk; 90-92% water, 4% lactose with acidic flavour from lactic acid, it is similar to skim milk in composition. Dried buttermilk is used in bakery products and ice cream.

A dictionary of Food and Nutrition, Oxford University Press, A.E. Bender and D.A. Bender 1995

 

C

Calorie

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 (°C)

www.ific.org

 

Caffeine

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.

www.ific.org

 

Caramel

Brown material formed by heating carbohydrates in the presence of acid or alkali (sulfite or ammonia); also known as burnt sugar. It can be manufactured from various sugars, starches, and starch hydrolysates and is used as a flavour and colour (E-150a-d) in a wide variety of foods: soft drinks, alcoholic beverages, baked goods, sauces, canned meats, and stews.

A dictionary of Food and Nutrition, Oxford University Press, A.E. Bender and D.A. Bender 1995

 

Carbohydrate

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, such as glucose dextrose, fructose and mannose) and pentoses (sugars with five carbon atoms, such as ribose) and their polymers play important roles in nutrition. Carbohydrates in food provide 4 calories(17 kJ) 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 (glucose + fructose), maltose (glucose + glucose) and lactose (glucose + galactose). Polysaccharides of interest in nutrition include starch, dextrin, glycogen and cellulose.

www.ific.org

 

Carcinogen

An agent that causes cancer. Carcinogens can be chemicals, radiation, and some viruses. Chemical carcinogens include tar (e.g. from cigarette smoking), aniline, and azo dyes. Large doses of radiation and several viruses (including some retroviruses and papilloma viruses) can also cause cancer.

 

Caries

see dental caries

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Carotene

The red and orange pigments of many plants, obvious in carrots, red palm oil, and yellow maize, but masked by chlorophyll in leaves. Three main types of carotene in foods are important as precursors of vitamin A: [alpha]-, [beta]- and [gamma]-carotene, which are also used as food colours (E-160a). Plant foods contain a considerable number of other carotenes, most of which are not precursors of vitamin A.

Carotene is mostly converted into vitamin A (retinol) in the wall of the intestine, but some is absorbed unchanged. 6 [mu]g of [beta]-carotene, and 12 [mu]g of other provitamin A carotenoids, are nutritionally equivalent to 1 [mu]g of preformed vitamin A. About 30% of the vitamin A in Western diets, and considerably more in diets in less-developed countries, comes from carotene.

A dictionary of Food and Nutrition, Oxford University Press, A.E Bender and D.A Bender 1995

 

Carotenoids

Casein

About 75% of the proteins of milk are classified as caseins; a group of 12-15 different proteins. Often used as a protein supplement, since the casein fraction from milk is more than 90% protein.

A dictionary of Food and Nutrition, Oxford University Press, A.E. Bender and D.A. Bender 1995

 

Cashew nut

Fruit of the tropical tree Anacardium occidentale , generally eaten roasted and salted. The nut hangs from the true fruit, a large fleshy but sour apple-like fruit, which is very rich in vitamin C. A 30-g portion of roasted salted nuts (30 nuts) is a source of protein, niacin, iron, and zinc; contains 15 g of fat, of which 20% is saturated and 60% mono-unsaturated; provides 180 kcal (755 kJ).

A dictionary of Food and Nutrition, Oxford University Press, A.E. Bender and D.A. Bender 1995

Cellulose

A polysaccharide of glucose units which is not hydrolysed by mammalian digestive enzymes. It is the main component of plant cell walls, but does not occur in animal tissues. It is digested by the bacterial enzyme cellulase, and hence only ruminants and animals that have a large intestine have an adequate population of intestinal bacteria to permit them to digest cellulose to any significant extent. There is little digestion of cellulose in the human large intestine; nevertheless, it serves a valuable purpose in providing bulk to the intestinal contents, and is one of the major components of dietary fibre or non-starch polysaccharides.

A dictionary of Food and Nutrition, Oxford University Press, A.E Bender and D.A Bender 1995

 

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

The CDC, composed of 11 Centers, Institutes and Offices, aims to promote health and quality of life by preventing and controlling disease, injury and disability.

www.ific.org

 

Chicken

Domestic fowl, Gallus domesticus. A 150-g portion is a rich source of protein and niacin; a good source of copper and selenium; a source of iron and vitamins B1, B2, and B6. There are differences between the white (breast) and dark (leg) meat, the former being lower in fat but also lower in iron and vitamin B2. Of a 150-g portion of boiled chicken, the white meat supplies 0.9 mg of iron, 0.09 mg of vitamin B1, 0.18 mg of vitamin B2, 7.5 g of fat of which one-third is saturated; the dark meat supplies 3.8 mg of iron, 0.1 mg of vitamin B1, 0.4 mg of vitamin B2, 15 g of fat of which one-third is saturated.

A dictionary of Food and Nutrition, Oxford University Press, A.E Bender and D.A Bender 1995

 

Chlorophyll

The green pigment of plant materials which is responsible for the trapping of light energy for photosynthesis, the formation of carbohydrates from carbon dioxide and water. Both [alpha]- and [beta]-chlorophylls occur in leaves, together with the carioteniods xanthophyll and carotene. Chlorophyll has no nutritional value, although it does contain magnesium as part of its molecule, and although it is used in breath-fresheners and toothpaste, there is no evidence that it has any useful action.

A dictionary of Food and Nutrition, Oxford University Press, A.E Bender and D.A Bender 1995

 

Cholesterol (dietary)

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, vitamin D 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.

www.ific.org

 

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.

www.ific.org

 

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 cholesterol."

www.ific.org

 

Choline

A derivative of the amino acid serine, formed in the body; an important component of cell membranes. Phosphatidylcholine is also known as lecithine, and preparations of mixed phospholipids rich in phosphatidylcholine are generally called lecithin, although they also contain other phospholipids; lecithin from peanuts and soya beans is widely used as an emulsifying agent (E-322). Choline released from membrane phospholipids is important for the formation of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, and choline is also important in the metabolism of methyl groups.

A dictionary of Food and Nutrition, Oxford University Press, A.E. Bender and D.A. Bender 1995

 

Chromosome

One of the threadlike structures that carry the genetic information of living organisms and are found in the nuclei of their cells. Chromosomes consist of a central axis of DNA with associated RNA and proteins.

The Macmillan encyclopaedia, Market house Ltd 2000

 

Chymosin

In the abomasums of calves and the stomach of human infants which clots milk by precipitation of the casein. There is no evidence that it plays any part in digestion in the adult. Also known as rennin; however, to avoid confusion with the kidney enzyme renin the name rennin should be replaced by chymosin. Biosynthetic chymosin is used in cheese making (vegetable rennet).

A dictionary of Food and Nutrition, Oxford University Press, A.E. Bender and D.A. Bender 1995

 

 

 

Choux pastry

Light, airy pastry, invented by the French chef Carême, used in eclairs and profiterols. The batter is pre-cooked in a saucepan, then baked. The name comes from the French for cabbage, chou, because of the characteristic shape of the cream-filled puffs.

A dictionary of Food and Nutrition, Oxford University Press, A.E. Bender and D.A. Bender 1995

 

Clinical trials

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.

www.ific.org

 

Clostridium

A genus of bacteria, of which C. botulinum is responsible for botulism, a rare but often fatal form of food poisoning. It is found widely distributed in soil; during growth on favourable food materials, the organism synthesizes an extremely potent neurotoxin which is released into the food when the cell dies. The spores are the most heat-resistant food-poisoning organism encountered and their thermal death time is used as a minimum standard for processing foods with pH values higher than 4.5.

A dictionary of Food and Nutrition, Oxford University Press, A.E. Bender and D.A. Bender 1995

 

Coagulation

The process in which colloidal particles come together irreversibly to form larger masses. Coagulation can be brought about by adding ions to change the ionic strength of the solution and thus destabilize the colloid. Ions with a high charge are particularly effective (e.g. alum, containing Al3+, is used in styptics to coagulate blood). Alum and iron(III) sulphate are also used for coagulation in sewage treatment. Heating is another way of coagulating certain colloids (e.g. boiling an egg coagulates the albumin).

A dictionary of Food and Nutrition, Oxford University Press, A.E. Bender and D.A. Bender 1995

 

Cocoa

Originally known as cacao, introduced into Europe from Mexico by the Spaniards in the early sixteenth century. The powder prepared from the seed embedded in the fruit of the cocoa plant, Theobroma cacao, also a milk drink prepared with cocoa powder. Used to prepare chocolate. Contains the alkaloid theobromine; caffiene is trimethylxanthine.

A dictionary of Food and Nutrition, Oxford University Press, A.E. Bender and D.A. Bender 1995

 

Codex alimentarius

Originally Codex Alimentarius Europaeus; since 1961 part of the United Nations FAO/WHO Commission on Food Standards to simplify and integrate food standards for adoption internationally.

A dictionary of Food and Nutrition, Oxford University Press, A.E. Bender and D.A. Bender 1995

 

Coddle

To cook slowly in water kept just below boiling point.

A dictionary of Food and Nutrition, Oxford University Press, A.E. Bender and D.A. Bender 1995

 

Coffee

A beverage produced by roasting the beans from the berries of two principal types of shrub: Coffea arabica (arabica coffee) and C. canephora (robusta coffee). Niacin is formed during the roasting process, and the coffee can contain 10-40 mg of niacin per 100 g, depending on the extent of roasting, thus making a significant contribution to average intakes of niacin.

Instant coffee is dried coffee extract which can be used to make a beverage by adding hot water or milk. It may be manufactured by spray drying or freeze drying. Coffee essence is an aqueous extract of roasted coffee; usually about 400 g of coffee/L.

Coffee contains caffeine. Decaffeinated coffee is coffee beans (or instant coffee) from which the caffeine has been extracted with solvent (e.g. methylene or ethylene chloride), carbon dioxide under pressure (supercritical CO2), or water. Coffee decaffeinated by water extraction is sometimes labelled as 'naturally' decaffeinated.

A dictionary of Food and Nutrition, Oxford University Press, A.E. Bender and D.A. Bender 1995

 

Collagen

An insoluble fibrous protein found extensively in the connective tissue of skin, tendons, and bone. The polypeptide chains of collagen (containing the amino acids glycine and proline predominantly) form triple-stranded helical coils that are bound together to form fibrils, which have great strength and limited elasticity. Collagen accounts for over 30% of the total body protein of mammals.

A Dictionary of Science, Oxford University Press, Market House Books Ltd 1999

 

Confectionery

Delicacies made with sweet ingredients. Confectioneries sweetened with honey were made in Egypt at least 3,000 years ago. In the Middle Ages the Persians developed confectionery made with refined cane sugar, and during the 18th century in Europe, machinery for confectionery manufacture was first developed. Boiled or hard sweets such as fruit drops and clear mints are made by boiling a flavoured solution of sugar and corn syrup until the sugar concentration reaches a high level. On cooling, a hard, glassy product is formed. Caramels and toffees are manufactured in a similar way, but the mixture includes condensed or evaporated milk. Fondant, the basis for the 'soft centres' of many chocolates, is made by rapidly beating a hot, concentrated sugar mixture so that minute crystals are formed: fudge can be made by similarly beating hot caramel. Agar, pectin, or gelatine is added to sugar syrup to form jellies and Turkish delight, while gums and pastilles are made by dissolving gum arabic in sugar syrup.

Oxford paperback encyclopaedia, Oxford university press 1998

 

Control group

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.

www.ific.org

 

Controlled experiment

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 under study.

www.ific.org

 

Cooking

Required to make food more palatable, more digestible, and safer. There is breakdown of the connective tissue in meat, softening of the cellulose in plant tissues, and proteins are denatured by heating, so increasing their digestibility.

A dictionary of Food and Nutrition, Oxford University Press, A.E. Bender and D.A. Bender 1995

 

Corned beef

In the UK a canned product made from low-quality beef that has been partially extracted with hot water to make meat extract. A 150-g portion is an exceptionally rich source of protein, niacin, and iron; a good source of vitamin B2; contains 18 g of fat of which half is saturated and supplies 330 kcal (1390 kJ).

A dictionary of Food and Nutrition, Oxford University Press, A.E. Bender and D.A. Bender 1995

 

Cream

Fatty part of milk; 4% of ordinary milk. Half cream is similar to 'top of the milk', 12% fat (30-mL portion supplies 190 kJ (45 kcal), and cannot be whipped or frozen; single cream, 18% fat (250 kJ,60 kcal), will not whip and cannot be frozen unless included in a frozen dish; extra thick single cream is also 18% fat, but has been homogenized to a thick spoonable consistency; whipping cream, 34% fat (460 kJ, 110 kcal) will whip to double volume; double cream, 48% fat (570 kJ,135 kcal) will whip and can be frozen; clotted, Devonshire, and Cornish cream contains 55% fat (30 kJ, 150 kcal). Of this fat, two-thirds is saturated and 30% mono-unsaturated

A dictionary of Food and Nutrition, Oxford University Press, A.E. Bender and D.A. Bender 1995

 

Curing of meat

A method of preservation by treating with salt and sodium nitrate (and nitrite), which serves to inhibit the growth of pathogenic organisms while salt-tolerant bacteria develop. During the pickling process the nitrate is converted into nitrite, which combines with the muscle pigment, myoglobin, to form the red-coloured nitrosomyoglobin which is characteristic of pickled meat products.

A dictionary of Food and Nutrition, Oxford University Press, A.E. Bender and D.A. Bender 1995

 

Currants

Made by drying the small seedless black grapes grown in and around Greece and in Australia ; usually dried in bunches on the vine or after removal from the vine on supports. The name is derived from 'raisins of Corauntz' (Corinth). A 25-g portion provides 1.8 g of dietary fibre and is a good source of copper; supplies 65 kcal (275 kJ).

A dictionary of Food and Nutrition, Oxford University Press, A.E. Bender and D.A. Bender 1995

 

Custard

Sweet sauce, traditionally made by cooking milk with eggs; more commonly using custard powder (coloured and flavoured cornflour) and milk; a 100-g portion (sweetened) is a source of calcium and vitamin B2, and supplies 355 kJ (85 kcal).

A dictionary of Food and Nutrition, Oxford University Press, A.E. Bender and D.A. Bender 1995

 

Cyclamate

A non-nutritive sweetener, 30 times as sweet as sugar, used as the free acid or the calcium salt; synthesized in 1937. Useful in low-calorie foods. Unlike saccharin, it is stable to heat and can therefore be used in cooking. Chemically sodium cyclohexyl-sulphamate, also known as Sucaryl (trade name).

A dictionary of Food and Nutrition, Oxford University Press, A.E. Bender and D.A. Bender 1995

 

 

D

Dairy products

Foods and other products derived from the processing of milk. Separation of milk by centrifugation yields skimmed milk and cream. Churning the cream disrupts the fat globules, removes water, and produces butter, containing over 80% fat, and buttermilk. Cream is retailed in various stages of concentration, for example single cream and double cream; other less concentrated forms include evaporated milk (containing about 65% water) and condensed milk (about 26% water). Yogurt (or yoghurt) is produced by inoculating whole milk with bacteria, principally of the genera Streptococcus and Lactobacillus. The acid they produce during incubation at about 43°C for four to five hours coagulates the milk, to which sweetening and flavouring may be added. Whey is a by-product of cheese manufacture and, as with skimmed milk, may be dried to a powder form for use in the food industry or fed to farm animals in the fresh liquid state.

The Macmillan Encyclopaedia 2001, Market House Books Ltd 2000

 

Date marking

On packaged foods, 'Best before' is the date up until the food will remain in optimum condition, i.e. will not be stale. Foods with a shelf life of up to 12 weeks are marked 'best before day, month, year'; foods with a longer shelf life are marked 'best before end of month, year'.

Perishable foods with a shelf life of less than a month may have a 'sell-by' date instead. 'Use by' date is given for foods that are microbiologically highly perishable and could become a danger to health; it is the date up to and including which the food may be safely used if stored properly.

Frozen foods and ice cream carry star markings which correspond to the star marking on freezers and frozen food compartments of refrigerators. Food in a 1-star rated compartment (-4 °C, 25 °F) will keep for one week; 2-star rated (-11 °C, 12 °F), 1 month; 3-star rated (-18 °C, 0 °F), 3 months. Corresponding times for ice cream are 1 day, 1 week, 1 month (after such times they are still fit to eat but the texture changes).

A dictionary of Food and Nutrition, Oxford University Press, A.E. Bender and D.A. Bender 1995

 

Denaturation, protein

A change in the structure of protein by heat, acid, alkali, or other agents which results in loss of solubility and coagulation (as in boiled egg). It is normally irreversible. Denatured proteins lose their biological activity (e.g. as enzymes), but not their nutritional value. Indeed, their digestibility is improved compared with the original structures, which are relatively resistant to enzymic hydrolysis.

A dictionary of Food and Nutrition, Oxford University Press, A.E. Bender and D.A. Bender 1995

Dental caries

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."

www.ific.org

 

Devilled

Food grilled or fried after coating with condiments or breadcrumbs.

A dictionary of Food and Nutrition, Oxford University Press, A.E. Bender and D.A. Bender 1995

 

Dextrin

An intermediate polysaccharide compound resulting from the hydrolysis of starch to maltose by amylase enzymes.

A dictionary of science, Oxford University Press Ltd 1999

 

DFD meat

Stands for 'dark, firm, dry'; the condition of meat when the pH remains high through lack of glycogen (which would form lactic acid). It poses a microbiological hazard.

A dictionary of Food and Nutrition, Oxford University Press, A.E. Bender and D.A. Bender 1995

 

Diabetes

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.

www.ific.org

 

Diarrhoea

Frequent passage of loose watery stools, commonly the result of intestinal infection; rarely as a result of adverse reaction to foods or disaccharide intolerance. Severe diarrhoea in children can lead to dehydration and death; it is treated by feeding a solution of salt and sugar to replace fluid and electrolyte losses.

Osmotic diarrhoea is diarrhoea associated with retention of water in the bowel as a result of an accumulation of non-absorbable water-soluble compounds; especially associated with excessive intake of sorbitol and mannitol. Also occurs in disaccharide intolerance.

A dictionary of Food and Nutrition, Oxford University Press, A.E. Bender and D.A. Bender 1995

 

 

Diet

Strictly, a diet is simply the pattern of foods eaten; the normal or habitual intake of food of an individual or population. Commonly used to mean a modified pattern of food consumption for some special purpose, e.g. a slimming, therapeutic, or low-salt diet (see salt-free diets) and sometimes named for the person who originated it.

A dictionary of Food and Nutrition, Oxford University Press, A.E. Bender and D.A. Bender 1995

 

Dietary fibre

Material mostly derived from plant cell walls which is not digested by human digestive enzymes but is partially broken down by intestinal bacteria to volatile fatty acids that can be used as a source of energy. A large proportion consists of non-starch polysaccharides (NSP); these include soluble fibre that reduces levels of blood cholesterol and increases the viscosity of the intestinal contents: and insoluble fibre (cellulose and cell walls) that acts as a laxative. Earlier known as roughage or bulk.

A dictionary of Food and Nutrition, Oxford University Press, A.E. Bender and D.A. Bender 1995

 

Disaccharides

Sugars composed of two monosaccharide units; the nutritionally important disaccharides are sucrose, lactose, and maltose.

A dictionary of Food and Nutrition, Oxford University Press, A.E. Bender and D.A. Bender 1995

 

DNA

Double-blind, placebo-controlled study

In a double-blind, placebo controlled study, neither the researchers nor the participants in the study are aware of which subjects receive the treatment under study and which subjects receive the placebo until after the study is completed. The study design is intended to remove bias on the part of both researcher and study subject.

www.ific.org

 

Dough cakes

A general term to include crumpets, muffins, and pikelets, all made from flour, water and milk. The batter is raised with yeast and baked on a hot plate or griddle (hence sometimes known as griddle cakes). Crumpets have sodium bicarbonate added to the batter; muffins are thick and well aerated, less tough than crumpets; pikelets are made from crumpet batter that has been thinned down.

A dictionary of Food and Nutrition, Oxford University Press, A.E. Bender and D.A. Bender 1995

 

Dried fruits

Dried currants, dates, figs, prunes, raisins, and sultanas all have similar analyses; a 100-g portion is a source of iron and supplies 250 kcal (1050 kJ).

A dictionary of Food and Nutrition, Oxford University Press, A.E. Bender and D.A. Bender 1995

 

Dried, milk

Milk that has been evaporated to dryness, usually by spray- or roller-drying. May be whole (full-cream) milk (26% fat), three-quarter cream (not less than 20% fat), half-cream (not less than 14% fat), quarter-cream (not less than 8% fat), or skim milk (1% fat).

A dictionary of Food and Nutrition, Oxford University Press, A.E. Bender and D.A. Bender 1995

 

E

E. coli: O157:H7

Egg proteins

What is generally referred to as egg protein is a mixture of individual proteins, including ovalbumin, ovomucoid, ovoglobulin, conalbumin, vitellin, and vitellenin. Egg-white contains 10.9% protein, mostly ovalbumin; yolk contains 16% protein, mainly two phosphoproteins, vitellin and vitellenin.

A dictionary of Food and Nutrition, Oxford University Press, A.E. Bender and D.A. Bender 1995

 

Egg white

The white of an egg is in three layers: an outer layer of thin white, a layer of thick white, richer in ovomucin, and an inner layer of thin white surrounding the yolk. The ratio of thick to thin white varies, depending on the individual hen. A higher proportion of thick white is desirable for frying and poaching, since it helps the egg to coagulate into a small firm mass instead of spreading; thin white produces a larger volume of froth when beaten than does thick.

A dictionary of Food and Nutrition, Oxford University Press, A.E. Bender and D.A. Bender 1995

 

Elastin

A fibrous protein that is the major constituent of the yellow elastic fibres of connective tissue. It is rich in glycine, alanine, proline, and other nonpolar amino acids that are cross-linked, making the protein relatively insoluble. Elastic fibres can stretch to several times their length and then return to their original size. Elastin is particularly abundant in elastic cartilage, blood-vessel walls, ligaments, and the heart.

A Dictionary of Science, Oxford University Press, Market House Books Ltd 1999

 

Energy

The ability to do work. The SI unit of energy is the joule, and nutritionally relevant amounts of energy are kilojoules (kJ, 1000 J) and megajoules (MJ, 1,000,000 J). The calorie is still widely used in nutrition; 1 cal = 4.186 J (approximated to 4.2). While it is usual to speak of the calorie or joule content of a food it is more correct to refer to the energy content or yield.

A dictionary of Food and Nutrition, Oxford University Press, A.E. Bender and D.A. Bender 1995

 

Enzymes

a protein that, in small amounts, speeds up the rate of a biological reaction without itself being used up in the reaction (i.e. it acts as a catalyst). An enzyme acts by binding with the substance involved in the reaction (the substrate) and converting it into another substance (the product of the reaction). An enzyme is relatively specific in the type of reaction it catalyses; hence there are many different enzymes for the various biochemical reactions. Each enzyme requires certain conditions for optimum activity, particularly correct temperature and pH, the presence of coenzymes, and the absence of specific inhibitors.

Concise Medical Dictionary, Oxford University press, Market House Books Ltd 1998

 

Emulsion

An intimate mixture of two immiscible liquids (for example oil and water), one being ispersed in the other in the form of fine droplets. They will stay mixed only as long as they are stirred together, unless an emulsifying agent is added.

A dictionary of Food and Nutrition, Oxford University Press, A.E. Bender and D.A. Bender 1995

 

Emulsifiers

A food additive consisting of a substance that enables nonmiscible liquids (such as oil and water) to maintain a stable emulsion, as in mayonnaise, margarine, and peanut butter. Natural emulsifying agents, such as egg yolk, agar, and lecithin, have now been largely replaced by synthetic chemical emulsifiers.

The Macmillan encyclopaedia, Market House Books Ltd 2000

 

Epidemiology

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 be coincidental.

www.ific.org

 

Evaporated, condensed, milk

Full-fat, skimmed, or partly skimmed milk, sweetened or unsweetened, that has been concentrated by partial evaporation; fat and total solids for each type defined by law (French: lait demi-écrémé concentré (4-4.5% fat); German: kondensierte Kaffeesahne (15% fat)).

A dictionary of Food and Nutrition, Oxford University Press, A.E. Bender and D.A. Bender 1995

 

Experimental group

The group of subjects in an experimental study which receives a treatment.

www.ific.org

 

Extremophiles

Micro-organisms that can grow under extreme conditions of heat (thermophiles) and extreme thermophiles, some of which live in hot-springs at 100 °C), or cold (pshyrophiles), in high concentrations of salt (halophiles), high pressure, or extremes of acid or alkali.

A dictionary of Food and Nutrition, Oxford University Press, A.E. Bender and D.A. Bender 1995

 

F

Fast food

General term used for a limited menu of foods that lend themselves to production-line techniques; suppliers tend to specialize in products such as hamburgers, pizzas, chicken, or sandwiches.

A dictionary of Food and Nutrition, Oxford University Press, A.E. Bender and D.A. Bender 1995

 

Fats (dietary fats)

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 38 kilo joules per gram (versus 17 kilo joules per gram from carbohydrates and protein).

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.

www.ific.org

 

Fatty acid

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 or hydrogenation.

www.ific.org

 

Fermentation

A form of anaerobic respiration occurring in certain microorganisms, e.g. yeasts. Alcoholic fermentation comprises a series of biochemical reactions by which pyruvate (the end product of glycolysis) is converted to ethanol and carbon dioxide. It is the basis of the baking and brewing industries (see baker's yeast). In lactic-acid fermentation, which occurs in many microorganisms and (when sugar is in short supply) in animal cells, the end product is lactic acid. Microorganisms display a range of fermentations, producing not only ethanol or lactic acid, but other products, such as propionic and butyric acids, acetate, and methane.

A dictionary of science, Oxford University Press, Market House Books Ltd 1999

 

Fiber

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.

www.ific.org

 

Flour

The powdered grain of wheat or other cereals, used in baking. The chief use of flour is in making bread. When the two proteins in wheat, glutenin and gliadin, are mixed with water they form gluten, which permits the dough to expand and retain the carbon dioxide resulting from fermentation of the yeast in bread dough. Different types of flour are made by varying the percentage of flour separated from the wheat. The principal commercial flours are whole wheat (100%), wholemeal and stone round (92%), wheat eal (80-90%), and white flours (70-72%). Many nutritionists consider it important to eat food made from whole wheat and wholemeal flour, rather than white flour. The former retains more of the bran (the outer skin of the wheat grain) and has more iron and calcium than white flour. They are also a good daily source of dietary fibre. Flour with a high gluten content (strong flour) is best when yeast is called for, as in dough for bread. On the other hand a softer flour with a lower gluten content (fine flour) is used for cakes, shortbread, etc. Plain flour is all-purpose, with moderate gluten content. Self-raising flour is plain flour with the addition of raising agents.

The Macmillan Encyclopaedia 2001, Market House Books Ltd 2000

 

Fluoride

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.

www.ific.org

 

Folic acid

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 disease.

www.ific.org

 

Fondant

Minute sugar crystals in a saturated sugar syrup; used as the creamy filling in chocolates and biscuits and for decorating cakes. Prepared by boiling sugar solution with the addition of glucose syrup or an inverting agent (see invert sugar) and cooling rapidly while stirring.

A dictionary of Food and Nutrition, Oxford University Press, A.E. Bender and D.A. Bender 1995

 

Food

Any solid or liquid material consumed by a living organism to supply energy, build and replace tissue, or participate in such reactions. Defined by the FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius Commission as a substance, whether processed, semi-processed, or raw, which is intended for human consumption and includes drink, chewing gum, and any substance that has been used in the manufacture, preparation, or treatment of food but does not include cosmetics, tobacco, or substances used only as drugs.

A dictionary of Food and Nutrition, Oxford University Press, A.E. Bender and D.A. Bender 1995

 

Food additive

Substances added to food to alter its taste, texture, appearance, keeping qualities, or other properties. Additives have been employed since Roman times; some 3800 are now used, including flavourings (about 3500), colouring agents, emulsifiers, stabilizers, thickening agents, preservatives, antioxidants, flavour enhancers, artificial sweeteners, anticaking agents, and bleaching agents.

The Macmillan Encyclopaedia, Oxford University Press, Market House Books 2001

 

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.

www.ific.org

 

Foodborne disease

Infectious or toxic disease caused by agents that enter the body through the consumption of food. The causative agents may be present in food as a result of infection of animals from which food is prepared or contamination at source or during manufacture, storage, and preparation.

There are three main categories: (1) diseases caused by micro-organisms (including parasites) that invade and multiply in the body; (2) diseases caused by toxins produced by micro-organisms growing in the gastro-intestinal tract; (3) diseases caused by the ingestion of food contaminated with poisonous chemicals or containing natural toxins or the toxins produced by micro-organisms in the food.

www.ific.org

 

Food irradiation

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 safety.

www.ific.org

 

Food poisoning

An acute illness arising from eating contaminated food. Vomiting and diarrhoea are the usual symptoms (see gastroenteritis). Salmonella is the bacterium that most commonly causes food poisoning (salmonellosis); patients usually recover within a few days. Similar food-borne infections are caused by Campylobacter (in poultry, beef, and milk) and Listeria. Another kind of food poisoning is due to toxins produced by such bacteria as Staphylococcus and Clostridium (which is responsible for botulism). Outbreaks of severe food poisoning occurred in Japan, the USA, and Scotland (1996) and NE England (1999) after consumption of food contaminated with toxin-producing E. coli 0157, a disease-causing strain of the normally harmless bacterium Escherichia coli: several of those affected died from kidney failure.

A dictionary of Biology, Oxford University Press, Market House Books, Ltd 2000

 

Food preservative

The treatment of food to prevent its deterioration and to maintain its nutritional value. Breakdown of food tissues is caused by enzymes, either contained within the food or produced by microorganisms--bacteria, yeasts, and fungi--growing in the food. These organisms can also produce substances that can cause food poisoning. Oxidation and dehydration also contribute to spoilage. Food preservation therefore aims to alter the condition of food to stop the activities of microorganisms and any chemical change. One of the oldest methods is drying or dehydration--used for meat, vegetables, cereals, milk products, etc.

Oxford paperback encyclopaedia, Oxfrod University Press 1998

 

Food science

The study of the basic chemical, physical, biochemical, and biophysical properties of foods and their constituents, and of changes that these may undergo during handling, preservation, processing, storage, distribution, and preparation for consumption. Hence, the term food scientist.

A dictionary of Food and Nutrition, Oxford University Press, A.E. Bender and D.A. Bender 1995

 

Food technology

The application of scientific knowledge to the preparation, preservation, and storage of food. Food technology can slow or halt the natural degradation processes of certain foodstuffs and thus make foods available out of season (See food preservation). The palatability or nutritional qualities of many raw food materials can be enhanced by selective processing. For example, cereals may be crushed by milling to produce flour, a process which removes or breaks down the indigestible outer husk of the cereal seeds. The flour can be made more palatable by making it into bread or pasta.

In recent years the market has seen new processing and packaging technologies, allowing an increase in production of, and demand for, 'convenience foods': ready-prepared or easily prepared meals, and foods with an increased shelf life. More recently, advances in technology have led to the extensive use of chemical preservatives, although growing consumer awareness has led the food industry to limit the use of such food additives.

Modern food processing technology has also allowed the production of 'new' foods. possible to produce very good meat analogues from mycoprotein (protein obtained from fungi) and vegetable proteins.

Oxford paperback encyclopaedia, Oxfrod University Press 1998

 

Freezing

The preservation of food by keeping it frozen. The basic principle in all food preservation is to arrest the development of the microorganisms responsible for the decay of the food. Home deep freezers achieve this by keeping food at a temperature of about -18°C (-0.4°F). On thawing, the deterioration process restarts. Most foods are well preserved by freezing, with little loss in nutritional value, but some with a high water content within the cells of the food, such as strawberries and cucumbers, become soggy after freezing as a result of damage to the cell structure by ice formation. Most vegetables are blanched (boiled for 2-4 minutes) before freezing to arrest the action of enzymes. It is the residual enzymic action that determines the recommended storage time.

The Macmillan Encyclopaedia, Oxford University Press, Market House Books 2001

 

Freeze-drying

Also known as lyophilization. A method of drying in which the material is frozen and subjected to high vacuum. The ice sublimes off as water vapour without melting. Materials dried in this way are damaged little, if at all.

Freeze-dried food is very porous, since it occupies the same volume as the original and so rehydrates rapidly. There is less loss of flavour and texture than with most other methods of drying. Controlled heat may be applied to the process without melting the frozen material; this is accelerated freeze drying.

A Dictionary of Food and Nutrition, Oxford University Press, © A.E. Bender and D.A. Bender 1995

 

Fructose

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 (HFCS) and inulin (Soluble but undigested polymer of fructose found particularly in Jerusalem artichoke, and, to a lesser extent, other root vegetables. Included with non-starch polysaccharides (dietary fibre). Also called dahlin and alant starch.

www.ific.org

 

Fruit

Fruit is the usually edible reproductive body of a seed plant, especially one having a sweet pulp associated with the seed.

www.ific.org

 

Flummery

Old English pudding made by boiling down the water from soaked oatmeal until it becomes thick and gelatinous. Similar to frumenty. Dutch flummery is made with gelatine or isinglass and egg yolk; Spanish flummery with cream, rice flour, and cinnamon.

A dictionary of Food and Nutrition, Oxford University Press, A.E. Bender and D.A. Bender 1995

 

Frying

Cooking foods with oil at temperatures well above the boiling point of water. Deep frying, in which a food is completely immersed in oil, reaches a temperature around 185 °C. Nutrient losses are less than in roasting, about 10-20% thiamin, 10-15% riboflavin and nicotinic acid from meat; about 20% thiamin from fish.

A dictionary of Food and Nutrition, Oxford University Press, A.E. Bender and D.A. Bender 1995

 

Fudge

Caramel, in which crystallization of the sugar (graining) is deliberately induced by the addition of fondant (saturated syrup containing sugar crystals).

A dictionary of Food and Nutrition, Oxford University Press, A.E. Bender and D.A. Bender 1995

 

Functional foods

Fungi

Subdivision of Thallophyta, plants without differentiation into root, stem, and leaf; they cannot photosynthesize, and all are parasites or saprophytes. Microfungi are moulds, as opposed to larger fungi, which are mushrooms and toadstools. Yeasts are sometimes classed with fungi.

Species of moulds such as Penicillium , Aspergillus , etc., are important causes of food spoilage in the presence of oxygen and relatively high humidity. Those that produce toxins (mycotoxins) are especially problematical. On the other hand species of Penicillium such as P. cambertii and P. roquefortii are desirable and essential in the ripening of certain cheeses.

A number of larger fungi (mushrooms) are cultivated, and other wild species are harvested for their delicate flavour. The mycelium of smaller fungi (including Graphium, Fusarium, and Rhizopus species) are grown commercially on waste carbohydrate as a rich source of protein for food manufacture. See mycoprotein.

The Macmillan Encyclopaedia, Oxford University Press, Market House Books 2001

 



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