Glossary of Terms
- Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Ranges (AMDR)
- Range of intake for a particular energy source that is associated with
reduced risk of chronic disease while providing intakes of essential
nutrients. If an individual consumes in excess of the AMDR, there is a
potential of increasing the risk of chronic diseases and/or insufficient
intakes of essential nutrients.
- Added Sugars
- Sugars and syrups that are added to foods during processing or
preparation. Added sugars do not include naturally occurring sugars such as
those that occur in milk and fruits.
- Adequate Intakes (AI)
- A recommended average daily nutrient intake level based on observed or
experimentally determined approximations or estimates of mean nutrient intake
by a group (or groups) of apparently healthy people. The AI is used when the
Estimated Average Requirement cannot be determined.
- Basic Food Groups
- In the USDA food intake patterns, the basic food groups are grains; fruits;
vegetables; milk, yogurt, and cheese; and meat, poultry, fish, dried peas and
beans, eggs, and nuts. In the DASH Eating Plan, nuts, seeds, and dry beans are
a separate food group from meat, poultry, fish, and eggs.
- Body Mass Index (BMI)
- BMI is a practical measure for approximating total body fat and is a
measure of weight in relation to height. It is calculated as weight in
kilograms divided by the square of the height in meters.
- Cardiovascular Disease
- Refers to diseases of the heart and diseases of the blood vessel system
(arteries, capillaries, veins) within a personís entire body, such as the
brain, legs, and lungs.
- A sterol present in all animal tissues. Free cholesterol is a component of
cell membranes and serves as a precursor for steroid hormones, including
estrogen, testosterone, aldosterone, and bile acids. Humans are able to
synthesize sufficient cholesterol to meet biologic requirements, and there is
no evidence for a dietary requirement for cholesterol.
- Dietary cholesterol
- Consumed from foods of animal origin, including
meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and dairy products. Plant foods, such as grains,
fruits and vegetables, and oils from these sources contain no dietary
- Serum cholesterol
- Travels in the blood in distinct particles
containing both lipids and proteins. Three major classes of lipoproteins are
found in the serum of a fasting individual: low-density lipoprotein (LDL),
high-density lipoprotein (HDL), and very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL).
Another lipoprotein class, intermediate-density lipoprotein (IDL), resides
between VLDL and LDL; in clinical practice, IDL is included in the LDL
- Chronic Diseases
- Chronic Diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetesare the
leading causes of death and disability in the United States. These diseases
account for 7 of every 10 deaths and affect the quality of life of 90 million
Americans. Although chronic diseases are among the most common and costly health
problems, they are also among the most preventable. Adopting healthy behaviors
such as eating nutritious foods, being physically active, and avoiding tobacco
use can prevent or control the devastating effects of these diseases.
- Coronary Heart Disease
- A narrowing of the small blood vessels that supply blood and oxygen to the
heart (coronary arteries).
- Daily Food Intake Pattern
- Identifies the types and amounts of foods that are recommended to be eaten
each day and that meet specific nutritional goals. (Federal Register
Notice, vol. 68, no. 176, p. 53536, Thursday, September 11, 2003)
- Danger Zone
- The temperature that allows bacteria to multiply rapidly and produce
toxins, between 40įF and 140įF. To keep food out of this danger zone, keep
cold food cold and hot food hot. Keep food cold in the refrigerator, in
coolers, or on ice in the service line. Keep hot food in the oven, in heated
chafing dishes, or in preheated steam tables, warming trays, and/or slow
cookers. Never leave perishable foods, such as meat, poultry, eggs, and
casseroles, in the danger zone longer than 2 hours or longer than 1 hour in
temperatures above 90įF.
- Dietary Fiber
- Nonstarch polysaccharides and lignin that are not digested by enzymes in
the small intestine. Dietary fiber typically refers to nondigestable
carbohydrates from plant foods.
- Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs)
- A set of nutrient-based reference values that expand upon and replace the
former Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) in the United States and the
Recommended Nutrient Intakes (RNIs) in Canada. They are actually a set of four
reference values: Estimated Average Requirements (EARs), RDAs, AIs, and
Tolerable Upper Intake Levels (ULs).
- Discretionary Calorie Allowance
- The balance of calories remaining in a personís energy allowance after
accounting for the number of calories needed to meet recommended nutrient
intakes through consumption of foods in low-fat or no added sugar forms. The
discretionary calorie allowance may be used in selecting forms of foods that
are not the most nutrient-dense (e.g., whole milk rather than fat-free milk)
or may be additions to foods (e.g., salad dressing, sugar, butter).
- Energy Allowance
- A personís energy allowance is the calorie intake at which weight
- Estimated Average Requirements
- EAR is the average daily nutrient intake level estimated to meet the
requirement of half the healthy individuals in a particular life stage and
- Estimated Energy Requirement
- The EER represents the average dietary energy intake that will maintain
energy balance in a healthy person of a given gender, age, weight, height, and
physical activity level.
- The Food and Drug Administration Modernization Act, enacted Nov. 21, 1997,
amended the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act relating to the regulation of
food, drugs, devices, and biological products. With the passage of FDAMA,
Congress enhanced FDAís mission in ways that recognized the Agency would be
operating in a 21st century characterized by increasing technological, trade,
and public health complexities.
- A national public education campaign to promote food safety to consumers
and educate them on how to handle and prepare food safely. In this campaign,
pathogens are represented by a cartoon-like bacteria character named
- Foodborne Disease
- Caused by consuming contaminated foods or beverages. Many different
disease-causing microbes, or pathogens, can contaminate foods, so there are
many different foodborne infections. In addition, poisonous chemicals, or
other harmful substances, can cause foodborne diseases if they are present in
food. The most commonly recognized foodborne infections are those caused by the
bacteria Campylobacter, Salmonella, and E. coli O157:H7, and by a
group of viruses called calicivirus, also known as the Norwalk and Norwalk-like
- Heme Iron
- One of two forms of iron occurring in foods. Heme iron is bound within the
iron-carrying proteins (hemoglobin and myoglobin) found in meat, poultry, and
fish. While it contributes a smaller portion of iron to typical American diets
than non-heme iron, a larger proportion of heme iron is absorbed.
- High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)
- A corn sweetener derived from the wet milling of corn. Cornstarch is
converted to a syrup that is nearly all dextrose. HFCS is found in numerous
foods and beverages on the grocery store shelves.
- A chemical reaction that adds hydrogen atoms to an unsaturated fat, thus
saturating it and making it solid at room temperature.
- Leisure-Time Physical Activity
- Physical activity that is performed during exercise, recreation, or any
additional time other than that associated with oneís regular job duties,
occupation, or transportation.
- A serious infection caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium
Listeria monocytogenes, which has recently been recognized as an
important public health problem in the United States. The disease affects
primarily pregnant women, their fetuses, newborns, and adults with weakened
immune systems. Listeria is killed by pasteurization and cooking; however, in
certain ready-to-eat foods, such as hot dogs and deli meats, contamination may
occur after cooking/manufacture but before packaging. Listeria
monocytogenes can survive at refrigerated temperatures.
- The dietary macronutrient groups are carbohydrates, proteins, and
- Vitamins and minerals that are required in the human diet in very small
- Moderate Physical Activity
- Any activity that burns 3.5 to 7 kcal/min or the equivalent of 3 to 6
metabolic equivalents (METs) and results in achieving 60 to 73 percent of peak
heart rate. An estimate of a personís peak heart rate can be obtained by
subtracting the personís age from 220. Examples of moderate physical activity
include walking briskly, mowing the lawn, dancing, swimming, or bicycling on
level terrain. A person should feel some exertion but should be able to carry
on a conversation comfortably during the activity.
- Monounsaturated Fatty Acids
- Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) have one double bond. Plant sources
that are rich in MUFAs include vegetable oils (e.g., canola oil, olive oil,
high oleic safflower and sunflower oils) that are liquid at room temperature
- Nutrient-Dense Foods
- Nutrient-dense foods are those that provide substantial amounts of
vitamins and minerals and relatively fewer calories.
- In the grains food group, the amount of a food counted as equal to a
one-ounce slice of bread; in the meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs, and
nuts food group, the amount of food counted as equal to one ounce of cooked
meat, poultry, or fish.
- n-6 PUFAs
- Linoleic acid, one of the n-6 fatty acids, is required but cannot be
synthesized by humans and, therefore, is considered essential in the diet.
Primary sources are liquid vegetable oils, including soybean oil, corn oil,
and safflower oil.
- n-3 PUFAs
- α-linolenic acid is an n-3 fatty acid that is required because it is
not synthesized by humans and, therefore, is considered essential in the diet.
It is obtained from plant sources, including soybean oil, canola oil, walnuts,
and flaxseed. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are
long chain n-3 fatty acids that are contained in fish and shellfish.
- Any microorganism that can cause or is capable of causing disease.
- Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids
- Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) have two or more double bonds and may
be of two types, based on the position of the first double bond.
- Portion Size
- The amount of a food consumed in one eating occasion.
- Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA)
- The dietary intake level that is sufficient to meet the nutrient
requirement of nearly all (97 to 98 percent) healthy individuals in a
particular life stage and gender group.
- Resistance Exercise
- Anaerobic training, including weight training, weight machine use, and
resistance band workouts. Resistance training will increase strength,
muscular endurance, and muscle size, while running and jogging will not.
- Saturated Fatty Acids
- Saturated fatty acids have no double bonds. They primarily come from
animal products such as meat and dairy products. In general, animal fats are
solid at room temperature.
- Sedentary Behaviors
- In scientific literature, sedentary is often defined in terms of little or
no physical activity during leisure time. A sedentary lifestyle is a lifestyle
characterized by little or no physical activity.
- Serving Size
- A standardized amount of a food, such as a cup or an ounce, used in
providing dietary guidance or in making comparisons among similar foods.
- Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL)
- The highest average daily nutrient intake level likely to pose no risk of
adverse health affects for nearly all individuals in a particular life stage
and gender group. As intake increases above the UL, the potential risk of
adverse health affects increases.
- Trans fatty acids
- Trans fatty acids, or trans fats, are unsaturated fatty
acids that contain at least one non-conjugated double bond in the trans
configuration. Sources of trans fatty acids include
hydrogenated/partially hydrogenated vegetable oils that are used to make
shortening and commercially prepared baked goods, snack foods, fried foods,
and margarine. Trans fatty acids also are present in foods that come
from ruminant animals (e.g., cattle and sheep). Such foods include dairy
products, beef, and lamb.
- There are several categories of vegetarians, all of whom avoid meat and/or
animal products. The vegan or total vegetarian diet includes only foods from
plants: fruits, vegetables, legumes (dried beans and peas), grains, seeds, and
nuts. The lactovegetarian diet includes plant foods plus cheese and other
dairy products. The ovo-lactovegetarian (or lacto-ovovege-tarian) diet also
includes eggs. Semi-vegetarians do not eat red meat but include chicken and
fish with plant foods, dairy products, and eggs.
- Vigorous Physical Activity
- Any activity that burns more than 7 kcal/min or the equivalent of 6 or more
metabolic equivalents (METs) and results in achieving 74 to 88 percent of peak
heart rate. An estimate of a personís peak heart rate can be obtained by
subtracting the personís age from 220. Examples of vigorous physical activity
include jogging, mowing the lawn with a nonmotorized push mower, chopping wood,
participating in high-impact aerobic dancing, swimming continuous laps, or
bicycling uphill. Vigorous-intensity physical activity may be intense enough to
represent a substantial challenge to an individual and results in a significant
increase in heart and breathing rate.
- Weight-Bearing Exercise
- Any activity one performs that works bones and muscles against gravity,
including walking, running, hiking, dancing, gymnastics, and soccer.
- Whole Grains
- Foods made from the entire grain seed, usually called the kernel, which
consists of the bran, germ, and endosperm. If the kernel has been cracked,
crushed, or flaked, it must retain nearly the same relative proportions of
bran, germ, and endosperm as the original grain in order to be called whole