What is Food: Definition and 287 Discussions

Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for an organism. Food is usually of plant, animal or fungal origin, and contains essential nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, or minerals. The substance is ingested by an organism and assimilated by the organism's cells to provide energy, maintain life, or stimulate growth. Different species of animals have different feeding behaviours that satisfy the needs of their unique metabolisms, often evolved to fill a specific ecological niche within specific geographical contexts.
Omnivorous humans are highly adaptable and have adapted to obtain food in many different ecosystems. Historically, humans secured food through two main methods: hunting and gathering and agriculture. As agricultural technologies increased, humans settled into agriculture lifestyles with diets shaped by the agriculture opportunities in their geography. Geographic and cultural differences has led to creation of numerous cuisines and culinary arts, including a wide array of ingredients, herbs, spices, techniques, and dishes. As cultures have mixed through forces like international trade and globalization, ingredients have become more widely available beyond their geographic and cultural origins, creating a cosmopolitan exchange of different food traditions and practices.
Today, the majority of the food energy required by the ever-increasing population of the world is supplied by the industrial food industry, which produces food with intensive agriculture and distributes it through complex food processing and food distribution systems. This system of conventional agriculture relies heavily on fossil fuels, which means that the food and agricultural system is one of the major contributors to climate change, accountable for as much as 37% of total greenhouse gas emissions. Addressing the carbon intensity of the food system and food waste are important mitigation measures in the global response to climate change.
The food system has significant impacts on a wide range of other social and political issues including: sustainability, biological diversity, economics, population growth, water supply, and access to food. The right to food is a human right derived from the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), recognizing the "right to an adequate standard of living, including adequate food", as well as the "fundamental right to be free from hunger". Because of these fundamental rights, food security is often a priority international policy activity; for example Sustainable Development Goal 2 "Zero hunger" is meant to eliminate hunger by 2030. Food safety and food security are monitored by international agencies like the International Association for Food Protection, World Resources Institute, World Food Programme, Food and Agriculture Organization, and International Food Information Council, and are often subject to national regulation by institutions, like the Food and Drug Administration in the United States.

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  1. S

    Why does overcooking food usually harden it?

    That, and why does the overcooked / hardened food become bonded or firmly stuck to the cookware?
  2. theycallmevirgo

    Fumes from heating a plastic Sterilite container?

    Howdy folks. I have a couple spares of these https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01NAL6MND/?tag=pfamazon01-20 and I was thinking about repurposing one as a food dehydrator. Do I need to worry about fumes? IIRC the max temp is 150F. Will one of these help...
  3. shivajikobardan

    JavaScript Snake size not increasing after eating food

    Relevant code: if (food.x === snake[0].x && food.y === snake[0].y) { // increase the size of the snake snake.push({ x: snake[snake.length - 1].x, y: snake[snake.length - 1].y }); where snake is an array of objects. Each object is x and y coordinates of snake position...
  4. shivajikobardan

    JavaScript Why is my snake not increasing after eating food?

    Here's the full code. snakeArr.unshift({ x: snakeArr[0].x + inputDir.x, y: snakeArr[0].y + inputDir.y }) This is the code to increase the size of snake once it collides with food. The code above it and below it, sound play when food is eaten and changing food location when food is eaten are...
  5. R

    Theories on how the food supply evolved along with life?

    Along with the endless complexities of life and the evolution of life, it occurs to me that at all points there had to be enough available nutrition for existent life forms - and that food supply itself had to go through a process of evolution. It seems self-evident that the environment of early...
  6. hilbert2

    Medical Natural compounds for radiation protection

    The "sleep hormone" melatonin, sold at health supplement stores, has been found to prevent radiation sickness from ionizing radiation: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30073934/ There are also some other references for this findable with a Google search. But you don't want to be on melatonin...
  7. T

    Eating based on the food pyramid vs Mediterranean and no meat

    Hello all again. You might have heard or remember the food pyramid they would teach about in grade school, there is a Wikipedia article on it. I would prefer the latest updated version of that if its healthier then the Mediterranean food. I thought about switching to eating healthy using the...
  8. mark!

    Sex determination based on food availability

    [Mentor Note -- Merged accidental double-thread-start] In which animals is sex determination based on either food availability. Females of the Common reed frog have shown to exhibit a sex change, which is thought to occur due to low male density in the environment, so that's not quite what I...
  9. kyphysics

    Fast Food Discussion: Mexican Pizza at Taco Bell

    This thread shall be a place where we can talk about anything fast-food related. Does anyone here actually dislike fast food? I know it's not healthy, but it's sure darn good. ...The Mexican pizza is back at Taco Bell. I like certain items at Taco Bell, but this is not one of them. I...
  10. K

    Is the Styrofoam used for food today modified?

    I have been avoiding food contained in Styrofoam for many years because I always don't feel good about it. My impression about Styrofoam used in old times was that when they were compressed or deformed with a slight force by hand it would break partially into granules which was undoubtedly a...
  11. Astronuc

    Meningococcal purpura fulminan disease (type of food poisoning)

    A teen ate leftover rice and noodles. Hours later, doctors amputated his legs and fingers https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2022/02/22/leftover-food-disease-amputated-legs-fingers/6890754001/ The article later mentions bacterium . . ...
  12. K

    How bad to eat bugs in food?

    One day I cooked and found a tiny bug in the hot pot, I really did not know how it fell into it and I know that it was simply a matter of luck to find it, then I start to realize that I may have eaten many bugs over the years unknowingly. Bottom line, how bad would they be?
  13. B

    Extracting carbohydrates from food dissolved in hydrochloric acid

    I know that food is dissolved in hydrochloric acid in the stomach, and carbohydrates are eventually extracted for use in cellular respiration which if I understand correctly is essentially a complex combustion reaction, using oxygen and releasing CO2. Outside the stomach, I can partially...
  14. kyphysics

    Can "Secret" Food Recipe Formulas Not Be Reverse Engineered?

    You always hear about how famous big food companies have recipes locked away in vaults. They never want to give away the secret sauce so competitors can copy them. However, with all we can do with modern technology, why can't we send a Chick-Fil-A sandwich over the a lab and have them...
  15. Astronuc

    How much food does a whale consume in a day?

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/technology/whales-removed-an-abundance-of-carbon-from-earth-then-humans-killed-3-million-of-them/ar-AAQhjRA And whales produce a lot of poop, which feeds life forms at the bottom of the food chain.
  16. BWV

    Don't waste your money on organic food

    Because you know, science. Nitrogen is nitrogen whether it comes from a factory or a bovine posterior, and ‘natural’ insectides can be every bit as toxic as ‘artificial’ ones not to mention reducing crop yields but people have weird purity taboos around food and organic is kosher/halal for...
  17. T

    Questions about food dyes: red 40, yellow 5, yellow 6 and Blue 1

    Hi, are all these preservatives? are they dangerous for the human body even though it can't kill you instantly but might slowly over time? are they ok to consume OR ok to consume in certain doses/small doses to where my life span won't be shortened? Is yellow 5 bad for the human penis or causes...
  18. jim mcnamara

    Food labels and nutrition references

    US References: https://ods.od.nih.gov/HealthInformation/Dietary_Reference_Intakes.aspx DRI provides basic nutritional intake guidelines. There are extensive tables broken out by nutrient, by age and by gender. Terminology: USDA Food data central (FDC) https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/ The EU...
  19. T

    Truth and facts about eating candy, ice cream as well as junk food

    Hi again. I was wondering, does eating candy, Ice cream and junk food shorten ones life span? If yes then how much does it need to be to be able to do that to the human body? What effects does it have on the human body? can it give you diabetes and other body conditions like that? How much of...
  20. S

    Misc. Frying food - Dry breadings vs liquid breadings

    Most recipes I see on the internet for fried chicken advocate a dry breading. By contrast, most recipes for fried fish use a liquid breading, although they sometimes specify a preliminary coating with flour before the fish is dipped in the liquid breading. Are there reasons for this pattern -...
  21. jim mcnamara

    Medical Supplements or food -> drug interactions

    Since supplement sales in North America are multi-billion dollar enterprises and many people take one or more supplements, this is a useful way to find out if there is a problem with a supplement interacting with a food or a drug. Supplements are sometimes prescribed, like Coenzyme Q10 for...
  22. Evo

    Food Shortages & Price Increases Ahead?

    Even though they are destroying millions of chickens, cows and pigs, this is also going to cause shortages and price increases of all other foods as people have to find alternatives and start hoarding. https://www.yahoo.com/news/food-supply-chain-breaking-tyson-213539680.html In a related...
  23. T

    All the types of food and/or drinks that the body needs?

    Hi, Questions in the title. I figure it might be like the food pyramid that I learned in grade school however I am not sure and of course to save time by avoiding all the BS out there, I came to ask here as I have done in previous threads. by foods and drinks, I mean for example: protein, fiber...
  24. T

    The fresher the food and drinks you consume, the better your health?

    Hi again all, question is in the title of this thread. I also want to note that I am talking about healthy food and drinks only. Does eating fresher food increase ones life span OR have you live longer? I thought of this question recently and didn't google it at all as I thought that would be a...
  25. Harini Krishna

    Food temperature question -- eating cold meals

    Hi, Can i know how having cold meals daily effects out health in long term? Thank you
  26. BWV

    Medical Food as Software and the end of livestock

    This is a futurist site, curious about how far away this really is Huge benefits to food security, CO2 emissions, public health etc https://www.nextbigfuture.com/2019/09/ten-times-cheaper-but-better-food-is-going-to-radically-change-your-world.html
  27. I

    If bacteria didn't have any food, would it die?

    Hi! Is there any research or experiments that show what happens to bacteria that in normal conditions end up without any food to consume? Do they continue to exist? And if yes, in which form? Many thanks for any thoughts
  28. T

    Are additives and preservatives in food bad for the human body?

    Hi I would like to know the facts about this
  29. J

    MHB Form some model to predict a food items probability of you know being sold

    Hi so I'm really new to stats, like I know mean, median, mode, and t-testsish and that is it. However, this topic really resonates with me because I know it can have real world applications. So these are my questions. First off here is my real world problem. At my workplace, we sell food that...
  30. Boltzman Oscillation

    Question: What happens to absorbed light?

    Suppose I have two apples, one is white and the other is black. Both apples are exactly the same except for their colors. The black apple is darker than the white apple because it absorbs more energy than the white apple, correct? Would that mean that the black apple would have a higher energy...
  31. T

    Keeping food hot in food delivery bag

    Hello physics forums I'm looking to make a food delivery bag and to keep the food as hot as possible as long as possible. I want to use the cheapest materials I can find. My knowledge is limited and so far my plan is to sandwich some cardboard between aluminum foil. I was then going to line the...
  32. jim mcnamara

    News Cancer risk and organic food

    This thread is about cancer risk and organic food consumption - reporting on it mostly. USA today: (drive by journalism?) https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2018/10/23/eating-organic-food-may-prevent-cancer-french-study-suggests/1737791002/ Commentary from JAMA (a critique)...
  33. J

    Canning/Heat-preserving food

    Preserving food at home involves putting produce in glass jars and heating them to kill pathogens like bacteria, fungus, yeast, etc... The USDA recommends AGAINST using an oven to preserve food. They only support the boiling water method, which involves submerging the jars in a pot of boiling...
  34. R

    This teacher has doubts that microwaved food is safe

    What do you think? Why would he think microwaved food would be dangerous? He doesn't really explain why...Most of the time that I heard microwaved food was dangerous was from crackpots that also thinks we will all get fried by 5g wifi... this is a teacher though kind of concerning Starts at...
  35. Edemardil

    How Many Food Calories with Efficiency %

    I figured out (a) but I am having trouble with (b): (a) What is the efficiency of an out of condition professor who 2.10e5 J of useful work while metabolizing 500 kcal of food energy? (b) How many food calories would a well-conditioned athlete metabolize in doing the same work with an efficiency...
  36. T

    Is GMO Food Safe? Answers to Your Questions

    Hi again, not sure where to post this but for about a year or 2 now I have been buying all non gmo food/drinks with the usda seal on it or with the butterfly symbol on the food products because for whatever reason, I had decided to invest in non gmo food for safety, because I might have thought...
  37. T

    Medical Ultra-processed Food = Greater Cancer Risk

    Just out in the British Medical journal. http://www.bmj.com/content/360/bmj.k322 or permalink doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k322 And here is a link to the NOVA classification of "Ultra-processed" food...
  38. S

    What is the most cost-effective method for making food grade zinc carbonate?

    I'm looking for the least expensive method for making food grade zinc carbonate (for a molecular gastronomy recipe I'm developing). I know it can be done with the soluble forms of zinc (sulfate, chloride and possibly acetate) by combining them with sodium carbonate (which I have), but the...
  39. BWV

    Organic food is a 'deceitful, expensive scam'

    "Plant pathologist Steven Savage of the CropLife Foundation analyzed the data from the https://www.agcensus.usda.gov/Publications/2012/Online_Resources/Organics/index.php, which reported various measures of productivity from most of the certified organic farms in the nation, and compared them to...
  40. S

    Most unusual food you have ever eaten

    Hi everyone! I remember a while back that the General Discussion had a Food thread, and I admit that among my guilty pleasures are watching cooking shows or travel shows with food as a theme (whether on TV or on Youtube). This reminds me of a question I wanted to ask all of you -- what is the...
  41. wolram

    How can we reduce food waste at home and beyond?

    It is amazing that we throw away 38 million tonns of food each day, This thread is for tips on reducing food waste, how to use left overs etc. https://www.epa.gov/recycle/reducing-wasted-food-home#ways. If you feel guilty about throwing away food, and you should, contribute to this thread...
  42. F

    Perfect food with no need for excretion?

    Perfect Food : Is it possible to design our daily food/meals in such a way that it has all the nutrients (100% absorb-able) but no waste parts, thus removing the necessity for the body to excrete anything at all? (This will reduce the food quantity making it cheaper; I understand that fiber...
  43. Y

    How to Spend Little to No Money on Food?

    One of my goals is to spend as little as possible on food without being malnourished or hungry. It's not that I can't afford to spend a couple hundred a month on food, I'd just rather use that money for something else or save it. So I know I can buy ramen noodles dirt cheap, probably less than...
  44. A

    If maths was a food, which food would it be?

    I think it would be a pizza because you can divide it into fractions and halfs and is interesting and different as maths is.
  45. H

    I Why does red food coloring look green when it dries?

    While experimenting with an idea for a demonstration in surface tension, I ran across something interesting. I placed a drop of red food coloring on a glass slide, and let it dry. Once dry, the residue was a light green in color, but when held up to let light pass through it, it looked red...
  46. T

    Freezing and thawing food industry items -- how to do it the fastest....

    Hi, I need to find out about the length of time it takes to change from one state of matter to another. This is a food industry problem. For example, how long does it take to freeze a leg of lamb? Does the time it takes depend and anything in particular? Going the other way we can speed up...
  47. MacLaddy

    Material selection for food grade application

    Hello folks, Got a project I've been tasked with completing. We have a small meat locker, approximately 4' x 6', and I need to design and build an above-head rack system to hang hams and other meats on. (approximately 50 to 60 lbs each) Can anyone offer a good starting point for a food grade...
  48. mktsgm

    Book on the history of food habits

    I am looking for a good book in English about the human history of food since ancient times. Perhaps at least 10000 years since. I would like to cover geological differences in the biological needs. (Like how Eskimos manage macronutrients from fish). The book should throw light on meal times...
  49. M

    Non-caloric essential nutrients big vs small animals

    It is true that big animals contain more calories than small animals. However, are the figures for the content of essential nutrients that are not calories different? Such nutrients may be limiting factors and require foraging strategies that would be suboptimal from a simple calory point of...
  50. Anindya Mondal

    Why we don't use visible light to cook food?

    As we know that microwaves have less energy than visible light , then do we use microwave oven in cooking food instead of visible light?