The Origin of Nutrition:
The desire to probe the mysteries of nourishment is an old one and the search has continued ever since the times immemorial. In the first century B.C., it was a common belief in Egypt that the cause of many diseases is excessive eating. The Greek philosopher Hippocrates (460 – 359 B.C) observed and stated, “Growing bodies have the most innate heat, they require the most food other wise their bodies are wasted. In old people the heat is feeble and they require little fuel”.
The science of nutrition has been developed by using the combined knowledge of the physical and biological sciences. A great number of important discoveries and developments in this field have enabled health care professionals to understand the nutrient needs of people and the means of supplying them. It is difficult to set in a chronological order of events that show the development of nutrition. Many aspects developed simultaneously or overlapped each other.
Some progresses were stimulated by national emergencies. Others depended on technical development of the supporting sciences. Nutrition research in India, as Beri – Beri inquiry was started in 1918, under the guidance of Sir Mc Carrison at Coonoor in South India. It has blossomed into an important national institution, at Hyderabad called National Institute of Nutrition. It is currently engaged in carrying out basic as well as applied research work in nutrition. This national institute comes under the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
In the twentieth century a lot of knowledge has been gained about nutrition. The calorimetric studies carried out at the beginning of this century clearly established a relationship between energy and nutrition. Later experiments were able to correlate the nutritional functions of proteins and it was found that food proteins or their amino acids are the antecedents and precursors of many of the body’s catalysts which are necessary for the chemical reactions involved in digestion and nutrition.
The health of the individual influenced by utilization of nutrients is called nutritional status of an individual. Through medical check-up dietary and medical history and laboratory investigations give an account on nutritional status. The purpose of nutrition is to support the health by means of food one eats.