Metabolism (meh-TAB-o-liszm) All of the processes that occur in the body that turn the food you eat into energy your body can use.
Monounsaturated fat (mono-un-SATCH-er-ay-ted) Fats that are in foods are combinations of monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and saturated fatty acids. Monounsaturated fat is found in canola oil, olives and olive oil, nuts, seeds, and avocados. Eating food that has more monounsaturated fat instead of saturated fat may help lower cholesterol and reduce heart disease risk. However, monounsaturated fat has the same number of calories as other types of fat, and may still contribute to weight gain if eaten in excess.
Nutrition (new-TRISH-un) (1) The process of the body using food to sustain life. (2) The study of food and diet.
Obesity (oh-BEE-si-tee)Obesity is excess body fat. Because body fat is usually not measured, a ratio of body weight to height [see body mass index, or BMI, chart] is often used instead. It is defined as BMI. An adult who has a BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese.
Overweight It is defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 25 to 29.9. Body weight comes from fat, muscle, bone, and body water. It is important to remember that although BMI correlates with the amount of body fat, BMI does not directly measure body fat. As a result, some people, such as athletes, may have a BMI that identifies them as overweight even though they do not have excess body fat.
Pancreas (PAN-kree-as) A gland that makes enzymes that help the body break down and use nutrients in food. It also produces the hormone insulin [see definition] and releases it into the bloodstream to help the body control blood sugar levels.
Physical activityAny form of exercise or movement. Physical activity may include planned activities such as walking, running, strength training, basketball, or other sports. Physical activity may also include daily activities such as household chores, yard work, walking the dog, etc. It is recommended that adults get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity for general health benefits. Adults who wish to lose weight may need 60 minutes of physical activity on most days and adults who wish to maintain lost weight may require 60 to 90 minutes of physical activity. Children should get at least 60 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity most days of the week. Moderate-intensity physical activity is any activity that requires about as much energy as walking 2 miles in 30 minutes.
Polyunsaturated fat (poly-un-SATCH-er-ay-ted) A highly unsaturated fat that is liquid at room temperature. Fats that are in foods are combinations of monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and saturated fatty acids. Polyunsaturated fats are found in greatest amounts in corn, soybean, and safflower oils, and many types of nuts. They have the same number of calories as other types of fat, and may still contribute to weight gain if eaten in excess.
Protein (PRO-teen) One of the three nutrients that provides calories to the body. Protein is an essential nutrient that helps build many parts of the body, including muscle, bone, skin, and blood. Protein provides 4 calories per gram and is found in foods like meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy products, beans, nuts, and tofu.
Saturated fat (SATCH-er-ay-ted) A fat that is solid at room temperature. Fats that are in foods are combinations of monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and saturated fatty acids. Saturated fat is found in high-fat dairy products (like cheese, whole milk, cream, butter, and regular ice cream), ready-to-eat meats, the skin and fat of chicken and turkey, lard, palm oil, and coconut oil. They have the same number of calories as other types of fat, and may contribute to weight gain if eaten in excess. Eating a diet high in saturated fat also raises blood cholesterol and risk of heart disease.
Trans fatty acids A fat that is produced when liquid fat (oil) is turned into solid fat through a chemical process called hydrogenation [see definition]. Eating a large amount of trans fatty acids also raises blood cholesterol and risk of heart disease.
Type 1 diabetes (dye-ah-BEET-eez) Previously known as “insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus,” or “juvenile diabetes.” Type 1 diabetes is a life-long condition in which the pancreas stops making insulin. Without insulin, the body is not able to use glucose (blood sugar) for energy. To treat the disease, a person must inject insulin, follow a specific eating plan, exercise daily, and test blood sugar several times a day. Type 1 diabetes usually, but not always, begins before the age of 30.
Type 2 diabetes (dye-ah-BEET-eez) Previously known as “noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus” or “adult-onset diabetes.” Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes mellitus. About 90 to 95 percent of people who have diabetes have type 2 diabetes. People with type 2 diabetes produce insulin, but either do not make enough insulin or their bodies do not efficiently use the insulin they make. Most of the people who have this type of diabetes are overweight. Therefore, people with type 2 diabetes may be able to control their condition by losing weight through diet and exercise. They may also need to inject insulin or take medicine along with continuing to follow a healthy program of diet and exercise. Although type 2 diabetes commonly occurs in adults, an increasing number of children and adolescents who are overweight are also developing type 2 diabetes.
Unsaturated fat (un-SATCH-er-ay-ted) A fat that is liquid at room temperature. Vegetable oils are unsaturated fats. Unsaturated fats include polyunsaturated fats, and monounsaturated fats. They include most nuts, olives, avocados, and fatty fish, like salmon [see definitions].
Very low-calorie diet Also called “VLCD.” A very low-calorie diet (VLCD) is a doctor-supervised diet that typically uses commercially prepared formulas to promote rapid weight loss in patients who are moderately to extremely obese. People on a VLCD consume about 800 calories per day or less.
Waist circumference A measurement of the waist. Fat around the waist increases the risk of obesity-related health problems. Women with a waist measurement of more than 35 inches or men with a waist measurement of more than 40 inches have a higher risk of developing obesity-related health problems, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
Weight control Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight by eating nutritious foods and being physically active.
Weight-cycle Losing and gaining weight over and over again. Commonly called “yo-yo” dieting.
Weight-control Information Network
1 WIN Way
The Weight-control Information Network (WIN) is a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) of the National Institutes of Health, which is the Federal Government’s lead agency responsible for biomedical research on nutrition and obesity. Authorized by Congress (Public Law 103–43), WIN provides the general public, health professionals, the media, and Congress with up-to-date, science-based health information on weight control, obesity, physical activity, and related nutritional issues.
This e-text is not copyrighted. WIN encourages users of this e-pub to duplicate and distribute as many copies as desired.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
NIH Publication No. 02-4976
Updated September 2007