The Simple Dictionary of Health Jargon (Part 1) • HEALTH & FITNESS

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Health Jargon

Most people want to enjoy an active balanced lifestyle but often don't know how, if you find yourself confused by all the health terms around then follow this easy dictionary of common terms that you might hear regularly when on the way to your ideal goal.

Amino Acids - Necessary as part of body development, nine of the essential amino acids can not be produced by our bodies, so must be consumed in food intake. Vegans cannot receive all the necessary amino acids through vegetables alone.

Calorie - A single calorie is the measure of heat needed to warm 1 kilgoram of water by 1 degree centigrade. In diet terms thats the energy that your body metabolises when you eat something. So something of a high calorie count would be harder to burn off than a low calorie count.

Calorific - The amount of calories in any food or drink. If the label states it's 'calorie free' the product contains 5 calories or less.

Carbohydrates - The main source of the body's energy which is built up compounds Carbon, Oxygen and Hydrogen which can be broken down into starches and sugars. Simple carbohydrates have sugars such as glucose and fructose which provide instantly accessible forms of energy to the body. Unlike starches they only contain one or two sugar molecules. When a carbohydrate provides fiber it is called a complex carbohydrate.

Clean Eating (or 'Eating Clean') - A healthy diet that contains natural sources without processing or chemicals such as colourings, flavours or preservatives. Instead relies on fresh ingredients that hasn't had 'stuff' added to it.

Diet - Food/eating habits that occur, a diet can change if an allowed plan is followed to control eating habits or to provide weight loss.

Electrolytes - Mineral salts that can be found in sports or energy drinks, however these are unnatural forms of the minerals such as calcium, potassium, sodium and magnesium because although they contain the minerals they also contain added sugars and preserves.

Empty Calories - Calories from added sugars solid fats that provide no health benefits from vitamins and minerals needed by the body but add to the total of calories in the food or drink which can cause weight gain. Alcohol is full of empty calories, so cutting out alcohol is a great health choice. (For more info see the link at the bottom)

Enriched - Processed foods that are used enhance or replace any minerals that are lost during exercise and performance through added nutrients. These can be replaced with natural and organic products for a healthier alternative.

Fad Diets - A diet that is often highly controversial and seen as 'fashionable' from the promotion of celebrities. They may be seen as effective as a short term weight loss but as a long term solution it can be damaging to health.

Fat-Free - A product that has less than 0.5 grams of fat in it's serve sizing.

Fructose - A sugar found in honey and fruit. A little bit of fructose can often help your body process glucose, however because it provides energy that doesn't cause a high blood sugar rise, over consumption can cause the liver struggle to process the sugar fast enough and instead create fat molecules that enter the blood stream. In more intense cases it can cause heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Food Journal - A helpful tool to some that documents the intake of food and drink that can be labelled with times of day as a way of tracking when the intake occurred. If a personalised diet plan is needed then this can be a useful record.

Glucose - A needed sugar that can be found in most carbohydrates that provides our blood cells with energy after it has been carried by them in the bloodstream. When it enters the blood stream our bodies release insulin to help regulate it. It can be stored for later use or used immediately however over consumption of glucose can lead to hyperglycemia, a condition where too much is carried in the blood stream. This can also be called high blood sugar. If too little glucose is carried in the blood it can lead to hypoglycemia, a condition that has low blood sugar. Sugar rushes are caused from intense hits of sugar contents from things such as chocolate bars or eating lots late at night, this can lead to problems such a diabetes if it happens on a regular occurrence.

High Calorie-Low Volume - A common result of weight gain. These are foods that do not fulfill the appetite despite contain large numbers of calories. 'Fast Foods' that are fried can make you feel full for a short period of time and make you feel hungry within a hours bracket, yet they contain nearly double your needed calorie intake in most cases. A Low Calorie-High Volume diet is far more effective when trying to lose weight because it can sustain the feeling of being full for a long time without containing many calories. A good way to incorporate this into your eating habits is a light vegetable soup.

Hydrogenated - When a fat is chemically changed from it's original liquid (oil) form to become a solid. Margarines are common for this, and too much hydrogenated fats result in weight gain.

Lactose - A milk sugar that forms the predominant carbohydrate in milk. Alternatives are available for the 75% of people that are unable to process lactose.

Lifestyle Change - Often mistaken as a diet, a lifestyle change must include an increase in exercise and habits for a healthier lifestyle and must be regular over a long period of time rather than a short term commitment.

Light - A healthy alternative to a regular product and should be chosen whenever possible. It contains either half the fat or a third of the calories. Sometimes it can be both.

Low Calorie - A product in it's given size serving contain less than 40 calories.

Low Fat - A product in it's given size serving contains less than 3g of fat. This option should be selected whenever possible.

Metabolism - All the biochemical processes that take place to break down food and allow us to utilize the needed energy. Your metabolic rate is how fast you can break down food or to some 'burn calories' when exercising or being active.

Nutrients - Essential substances such as vitamins and minerals that our body needs for growth, repair and development.

Proteins - Organic substances vital for our bodies to build. Bone, muscle and skin development use the amino acids in proteins to construct all living cells. 4 calories is provided in a single gram of protein. Those how follow a raw food diet (not cooking vegetables and grains etc.) can lead to a protein efficiency. Before and after exercising a natural source of protein can improve performance and effects.

Reduced - When a product has 25% less than the regular product. These should be consumed wherever possible for those looking to increase weight loss. A reduced calorie product or fat product is the most common 'reduced' product.

Super Food - A great way to promote weight loss and pack your diet with essential vitamins and minerals to fight off diseases, super foods are the most nutritious way to get in good health. They are so beneficial to your diet and are full of flavour with natural antioxidants to keep you slim and smiling. Fresh fruit and veg such as: blueberries, tomatoes, black beans, kale, broccoli or everyday basics such as oats and salmon. The great thing about super foods is that they are cheap to buy and versatile is hundreds of recipes that take minutes to make! (For more health help with super foods check out the links below).

Whole Grain - A great source of fiber from a grain that has kept it's outer covering to retain the essential vitamins and minerals.

There are more in depth definitions but this my little guide to the words we here so often that we actually need to know about. Most of these words should be on our food labels as a good thing, however everything must be done in moderation. If you want to expand your understanding of 'Empty Calories' here's a great link: If you want the best list of 'Superfoods' then this is the ultimate guide: and a great food sites that contains extra info:,,20306775_6,00.html

All of my definitions are a combination of my own knowledge and research, if you want to expand your own knowledge look up some articles, I used as a basis for what I find are the most common words we are surrounded by and simplified the definitions, with notes from various articles. All credit goes to the sources I used not to myself.
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