In nutrition, the diet is the sum of food
consumed by a person or other organism. Dietary habits are the habitual
decisions an individual or culture makes when choosing what foods to eat.
Although humans are omnivores, each culture holds some food preferences and
some food taboos. Individual dietary choices may be more or less healthy.
Proper nutrition requires the proper ingestion and equally important, the
absorption of vitamins, minerals, and fuel in the form of carbohydrates,
proteins, and fats. Dietary habits and choices play a significant role in
health and mortality, and can also define cultures and play a role in
Many individuals choose to limit what foods
they eat for reasons of health, morality, environmental impact, or other
factors. Additionally, many people choose to forgo food from animal sources
to varying degrees; see vegetarianism, veganism, fruitarianism, living foods
diet, and raw foodism.
Properly planned vegetarian and vegan diets have been found to completely
satisfy nutritional needs in every stage of life, and significantly reduce
risks of major diseases.
A particular diet may be chosen to seek
weight gain, weight loss, sports training, cardio-vascular health, avoidance
of cancers, food allergies and for other reasons. Changing a subject's
dietary intake, or "going on a diet", can change the energy balance and
increase or decrease the amount of fat stored by the body. Some foods are
specifically recommended, or even altered, for conformity to the
requirements of a particular diet. These diets are often recommended in
conjunction with exercise.