Fundamentals of Nutrition/Clinical Nutrition

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In recent years, the understanding of nutrition and its impact on health has grown considerably and has gained more recognition. Scientists have established several diseases caused by severe nutrient deficiencies usually as a result of malnutrition but more recently there has been an association between several long-term mild nutritional deficiencies with some chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, cancers, metabolic disorders, etc. Whether these mild deficiencies in these situations are caused by the progression of the disease itself or the nutrient deficiencies allow for the progression of the disease is uncertain but probably both as we will see later on. However, the growth of the nutritional field and its connection to health and disease prompts several groups of people to make unsubstantiated claims about nutrients and diseases that have neither been tested nor scientifically validated. In the next chapters we explore the relationship between nutrients and different diseases.

However, it is essential to acknowledge that the information should not be taken as being completely accurate. This is because the literature is controversial and should be expected in an applied field like nutrition. One of the main reasons for this is the large number of different variables and the complexity of interactions that involves these variables on human health. Ideally, when all the variables are considered, then results should be reproducible. Nutrients, interact and influence physiological processes but also interact with each other and different groups of people may manifest the same condition and yet metabolize nutrients differently making straight forward conclusions out of studies difficult. Needless to say, the text in this section should be supported by journal articles and textbooks that will be included at the end.