Nutrition is defined as the process of providing your body with the food necessary for life and growth. In order to understand nutrition, you must realize that all food put into your mouth is either expelled as waste or converted into just four substances: glucose, amino acids, fatty acids and glycerol.

That’s it.

No matter what you eat, within a few hours, these substances are all that’s left. Then, these four substances are absorbed into the blood stream and, through several complex processes, burned for energy within the body’s cells (amino acids are first used to make protein molecules, such as enzymes and antibodies, and then only the excess is burned).

If there’s more glucose, amino acids, fatty or glycerol than what the cells need, the excess is stored as fat for later use — if, if there’s less, fat (and muscle) is utilized to provide the balance of your energy needs.

The point here is that, relative to energy needs, the body doesn’t care where the energy comes from. 1000 calories is 1000 calories whether they come from candy or carrots, white or whole wheat bread, low-fat or high-fat ice cream, steak or potatoes, corn oil or olive oil. The nutrition of these products varies but a calorie of energy from one food is no different than the calorie of energy from another food.

However, despite this reality, most Americans (66% in a recent survey) get this wrong and believe the specific kind of food eaten is the most important factor for losing weight. Therefore, good nutrition for many people is more about losing weight than “providing your body with the food necessary for life and growth” – the more valid goal for eating well.

So deciding what to eat should be based on providing good nutrition for your body rather than losing weight. Weight loss is based on how much you eat, not on what you eat.

But, what foods or combination of foods provide good nutrition?

As you’re probably aware, there is an overwhelming amount of advice in this area and, sadly, much of it is contradictory. As a result, many Americans are so confused they don’t know what to eat in order to provide their body with good nutrition.

As a contributor to the Better Kids Institute, I plan to clear up this confusion with the article I contribute to this site.

If you want additional information about nutrition, beyond what’s provided on this site, here is an additional resource you may want to access: Secrets of Feeding a Healthy Family