chapter  15
34 Pages

Diet Composition and the Control of Food Intake in Humans

We live in a society that is virtually obsessed with the influence of food on health, energy intake, and body weight regulation. While much of life in preindustrial societies has been concernedwith locating, obtaining, or cultivating adequate quantities of appropriate foods, many people living in industrialized societies spend considerable time and effort in attempting to avoid excess food intake. For many individuals this has become an active process. The food industry in any Western society is worth billions of dollars per annum. In addition, consumers spend several billion dollars on products they hope will help them avoid excess food intake or remedy the consequences of overconsumption. Feeding and food are central to our health and well-being. Food characterizes cultural grouping and identifies social and religious occasions. The composition of the diet we eat is now considered a primary cause ofmorbidity andmortality [e.g., obesity, coronary heart disease (1)]. Our growing knowledge of the effect of the diet on health offers a potential means of preventing certain illnesses or alleviating the effects of others through nutritional support. The market economy has recognized the potential in this area and now ‘‘func-

tional foods’’ and ‘‘nutraceuticals’’ are available with the promise of increased consumer longevity, health, and well-being.