Absorption
Uptake. For example, intestinal absorption is the uptake of food (or other substances) from the digestive tract.

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Acetyl coenzyme A
An important metabolic intermediate, derived from various pathways, such as glycolysis, fatty acid oxidation, and degradation of some amino acids. It also represents a key intermediate in lipid biosynthesis. Commonly referred to as acetyl CoA.

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Acid indigestion
Excessive secretion of hydrochloric acid by the stomach cells. Medically known as hyperchlorhydria. Sometimes used interchangeably with heartburn.

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Acid reflux
A common condition and an abnormal one in which acid in the stomach rises up into the esophagus. This occurs because the valve separating the contents of the stomach from the esophagus does not function properly. Technically referred to as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

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Acid-base balance
Acid-base balance refers to the mechanisms the body uses to keep its fluids close to neutral pH (that is, neither basic nor acidic) so that the body can function normally.

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Acidosis
Too much acid in the body, a distinctly abnormal condition resulting from the accumulation of acid or from the depletion of alkaline reserves. In acidosis, the pH of the blood is abnormally low. Acidosis is associated with diabetic ketoacidosis, lung disease, and severe kidney disease

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Acute-phase protein
Proteins that increase in concentration during inflammation of a specific tissue. Perhaps the best-known acute-phase protein is C-reactive protein (CRP).

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Adaptive immunity
Immunity acquired through interactions with pathogens or passed from mother to child or donor to recipient.

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Additives
Additives are substances added to food, to preserve or enhance flavors or appearance.

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Adenosine triphosphate
The currency of the body, a nucleotide compound that is of critical importance for the storage of energy within cells and the synthesis of RNA. Abbreviated ATP.

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Amino Acid
One of the 20 building blocks of protein. The sequence of amino acids in a protein and, hence, the function of that protein are determined by the genetic code in the DNA.

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Antioxidants
Antioxidants are synthetic or naturally occurring substances found in some foods and drinks. They are added to foods to prevent oxidation, – for example Vitamin C in fruit juice prevents oxidation. They also may have protective effects on our body by counteracting the negative effects of free radicals (reactive atoms that may lead to cancer and other age-related diseases).

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B cell
A type of white blood cell and, specifically, a type of lymphocyte.

Many B cells mature into what are called plasma cells that produce antibodies (proteins) necessary to fight off infections while other B cells mature into memory B cells.

All of the plasma cells descended from a single B cell produce the same antibody which is directed against the antigen that stimulated it to mature. The same principle holds with memory B cells. Thus, all of the plasma cells and memory cells “remember” the stimulus that led to their formation.

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Basal metabolic rate (BMR)
A measure of the rate of metabolism. For example, someone with an overly active thyroid will have an elevated basal metabolic rate.

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Basophil
A type of white blood cell (leukocyte) with coarse, bluish-black granules of uniform size within the cytoplasm. Basophils are so named because their cytoplasmic granules stain with basic dyes. Basophils normally constitute 0.5 to 3 percent of the peripheral blood leukocytes, and contain histamine and serotonin. Also known as a basophilic leukocyte.

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Beta carotene
A vitamin that acts as an antioxidant, protecting cells against oxidation damage. Beta carotene is converted by the body to vitamin A. Food sources of beta carotene include vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach and other leafy green vegetables; and fruit such as cantaloupes and apricots. Excessive carotene in the diet can color the skin yellow, a condition called carotenemia

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Bile
Bile is a yellow-green fluid that is made by the liver, stored in the gallbladder and passes through the common bile duct into the duodenum where it helps digest fat. The principal components of bile are cholesterol, bile salts, and the pigment bilirubin.

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Biotin
A water-soluble B-complex vitamin involved in carbon dioxide transfer and therefore essential to the metabolism of carbohydrate and fat. A balanced diet usually contains enough biotin. Foods with high biotin levels include nuts, cereals, green leafy vegetables and milk.

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Blood glucose
Also known as blood sugar. The main sugar that the body makes from the food in the diet. Glucose is carried through the bloodstream to provide energy to all cells in the body. Cells cannot use glucose without the help of insulin.

Glucose is a simple sugar (a monosaccharide). The body produces it from protein, fat and, in largest part, carbohydrate. Ingested glucose is absorbed directly into the blood from the intestine and results in a rapid increase in blood glucose.

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Blood pressure
The blood pressure is the pressure of the blood within the arteries. It is produced primarily by the contraction of the heart muscle. It’s measurement is recorded by two numbers. The first (systolic pressure) is measured after the heart contracts and is highest. The second (diastolic pressure) is measured before the heart contracts and lowest. A blood pressure cuff is used to measure the pressure. Elevation of blood pressure is called “hypertension”.

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Body Mass Index (BMI)
Body Mass Index is used to calculate if someone is a healthy weight for their height. It is calculated by dividing weight (in pounds) by the square of the height (in inches) times 703. A healthy BMI is considered to be between 18.5-24.9.

BMI CALC

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Bowel
A colloquial term for the small and large intestine.

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Caffeine
Caffeine is naturally found in many common foods and beverages, including coffee, tea, cola drinks and chocolate. It is a stimulant and has been proven to increase physical performance in exercise.

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Calcitriol
The active form of vitamin D. Calcitriol is formed in the kidneys or made in the laboratory. It is used as a drug to increase calcium levels in the body in order to treat skeletal and tissue-related calcium deficiencies caused by kidney or thyroid disorders.

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Calcium
Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body and is needed for strong bones and teeth. It is also vital for many other processes including blood clotting, muscle contractions and transferring information via the nervous system. Calcium is found in dairy products (like milk and cheese) and also in some dark green vegetables as well as fortified soya products.

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Calorie
A calorie is a unit measure of energy. When used on food labels, it is actually referring to kilocalorie(s)(kcal). Calories are used to define the amount of energy in the food we eat that is used by the body. Calories are found in fats, carbohydrates, proteins and alcohol.
To calculate calories to kilojoules you need to multiply by 4.2

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Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are a food group that include complex carbohydrates, such as starchy foods like bread and pasta, and simple carbohydrates, including sugar and sugary foods. Carbohydrates provide 4 Kcal per gram

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Carcinogenic
Having a cancer-causing potential.

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Celiac disease
A disorder resulting from an immune reaction to gluten, a protein found in wheat and related grains, and present in many foods. Celiac disease causes impaired absorption and digestion of nutrients through the small intestine. Symptoms include frequent diarrhea , weight loss , iron deficiency anemia, osteoporosis . A skin condition dermatitis herpetiformis can be associated with celiac disease. The most accurate test for celiac disease is a biopsy of the small bowel usually performed by an endoscopy (tube passed into the intestine through the mouth). Treatment is to avoid gluten in the diet.

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Cellulase
Cellulase refers to a group of enzymes which, acting together, hydrolyze cellulose. Cellulose is a linear polysaccharide of glucose residues connected by β-1,4 linkages.

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Cellulose
Cellulose is a polysaccharide found in plant cell walls that is indigestible to humans.

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Chemokine
One of a large group of proteins that act as chemical messengers and were first found attracting white blood cells to areas of inflammation. Chemokines are involved in several forms of acute and chronic inflammation, infectious diseases, and cancer.

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Chitosan
Chitosan is a prebiotic capable of acting as a lectin decoy in the body. It is typically obtained by hydrolyzing shellfish and crustacean shells. The chitosan found in GlutenShield® is vegetarian-sourced and the only ultra low molecular weight product of its kind in the world.

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Cholesterol
Cholesterol is a waxy component of fat. It is an essential part of cell membranes in the body, a component of some hormones and also needed to synthesize vitamin D. However a high level of cholesterol in the blood— hypercholesterolemia—is a major risk factor for coronary heart disease.

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Clostridium
A group of anaerobic bacteria (bacteria that thrive in the absence of oxygen). There are 100+ species of Clostridium. They include, for examples, Clostridium difficile, Clostridium perfringens (also called Clostridium welchii), and Clostridium botulinum.

Clostridium difficile is one of the most common causes of infection of the large bowel (the colon) in the US affecting millions of people yearly. Patients taking antibiotics are at risk of becoming infected with C. difficile. Antibiotics disrupt the normal bacteria of the bowel, allowing C. difficile bacteria to become established in the colon. Many persons infected with C.difficile have no symptoms. These people become carriers of the bacteria and can infect others. In other people, a toxin produced by C. difficile causes diarrhea, abdominal pain, severe inflammation of the colon (colitis), fever, an elevated white blood count, vomiting and dehydration. In severely affected patients, the inner lining of the colon becomes severely inflamed (a condition called pseudomembranous colitis). Rarely, the walls of the colon wear away and holes develop (colon perforation), which can lead to a life-threatening infection of the abdomen.

Clostridium perfringens, also known as Clostridium welchii), this is the most common agent of gas gangrene and also causes food poisoning as well as a fulminant form of bowel disease called necrotizing colitis.

Clostridium botulinum is the culprit responsible for the food poisoning and other problems associated with botulism.

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Cobalamin
Also called vitamin B12. A vitamin important for the normal formation of red blood cells and for the health of the nerve tissues. Undetected and untreated vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to anemia and permanent nerve and brain damage.

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Colitis
Inflammation of the large intestine (the colon). There are many forms of colitis, including ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, infectious, pseudomembranous, and spastic.

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Colon
The long, coiled, tubelike organ that removes water from digested food. The remaining material, solid waste called stool, moves through the colon to the rectum and leaves the body through the anus. Also known as large bowel and large intestine.

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Crohn’s disease
A chronic inflammatory disease, primarily involving the small and large intestine, but which can affect other parts of the digestive system as well. It is named for Burrill Crohn, the American gastroenterologist who first described the disease in 1932.

Crohn disease is usually diagnosed in persons in their teens or twenties, but can come to the fore at any point in life. It can be a chronic, recurrent condition or can cause minimal symptoms with or even without medical treatment.

In mild forms, Crohn disease causes small scattered shallow crater- like areas (erosions) called aphthous ulcers in the inner surface of the bowel. In more serious cases, deeper and larger ulcers can develop, causing scarring and stiffness and possibly narrowing of the bowel, sometimes leading to obstruction. Deep ulcers can puncture holes in the bowel wall, leading to infection in the abdominal cavity (peritonitis) and in adjacent organs.

Crohn disease comes in many forms. Involvement of the large intestine (colon) only is called Crohn colitis or granulomatous colitis, while involvement of the small intestine alone is called Crohn enteritis. The most common part of the small intestine to be affected by Crohn disease is the last portion, called the ileum. Active disease in this area is termed Crohn ileitis. When both the small intestine and the large intestine are involved, the condition is called Crohn enterocolitis (or ileocolitis). Other descriptive terms may be used as well.

Abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and weight loss are common symptoms. Crohn disease can be associated with reddish tender skin nodules, and inflammation of the joints, spine, eyes, and liver. Diagnosis is commonly made by x-ray or colonoscopy. Treatment includes medications that are anti-inflammatories, immune suppressors or antibiotics. Surgery can be necessary in severe cases.

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Cytotoxic T-lymphocyte
A T cell that is antigen-specific and is able to search out and kill specific types of virus-infected cells. When cytotoxic T-lymphocytes (CTLs) find cells carrying the viral peptide they are looking for, they induce these cells to secrete proteins that attract nearby macrophages (a type of white blood cells). These macrophages then surround and destroy the infected cells. CTLs are important in the body’s response to viruses and cancer.

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Daily Value
DV, a term on food labels based on the RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) designed to help consumers use food label information to plan a healthy diet.

The Daily Value serves as a basis for declaring on the label the percent of the DV for each nutrient that a serving of the food provides. For example, the Daily Value for fat, based on a 2,000-calorie diet, is 65 grams (g). A food that has 13 g of fat per serving would state on the label that the “percent Daily Value” for fat is 20 percent.

The DV also provides a basis for thresholds that define descriptive words for nutrient content, called descriptors, such as “high fiber” and “low fat.” For example, the descriptor “high fiber” can be used if a serving of food provides 20 percent or more of the Daily Value for fiber– that is, 5 g or more.

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Dendritic cell
A special type of cell that is a key regulator of the immune system, acting as a professional antigen-presenting cell (APC) capable of activating naïve T cells and stimulating the growth and differentiation of B cells

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Digestion
Digestion is the mechanical and chemical process of breaking down food into its smaller molecules, which can then be absorbed into the blood stream. – Watch our video!

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Dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPPIV)
DPPIV is a protease class enzyme that has been shown to be particularly effective at breaking gluten down. It is found in the body, though often not in high enough quantities to handle the amount of gluten ingested. In supplement form, it can aid with the proper digestion of gluten.

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Emulsifier
Emulsifiers are used to stop emulsions from separating, e.g. lecithin in mayonnaise stops it from separating out into oil and water.

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Emulsion
An emulsion is when droplets of one liquid are suspended evenly within another liquid, without separating into their separate parts, e.g. mayonnaise.

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Enriched
Enriched foods have had nutrients added into them during the manufacturing process. This is often done to replace nutrients that may have been lost in processing.

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Fat
Fats are compounds that are insoluble in water. They can be liquid (e.g. vegetable oils) or solid (e.g. lard) at room temperature and can be derived from both vegetable and animal sources. A gram of fat provides 9 calories meaning that foods high in fat are energy dense.

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Fermentation
Fermentation is when microorganisms, particularly yeasts, convert carbohydrates (e.g. sugar) producing alcohol and carbon dioxide. This process is used in many food and drink processes such as brewing, baking and making yoghurts.

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Fiber
Fiber is the indigestible part of plants. It helps to keep your gut healthy and prevent constipation. Fiber is defined as soluble or insoluble. Soluble fiber is fermented in the colon and insoluble fibre moves through the gut undigested aiding defecation.

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Galactose
A sugar found in milk. Galactose is a disaccharide that is made up of two sugars, galactose and glucose, that are bound together.

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Gliadin 
Gliadin is the portion of gluten responsible for the elasticity of baked products. It is also the portion of the gluten protein that is more often pathogenic and one of the suspected triggers of celiac disease. Gliadin is extremely resistant to proteolytic digestion and has been documented to cause issues in celiac and non-celiac individuals.

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Glucose
The simple sugar that is the chief source of energy. Glucose is found in the blood and is the main sugar that the body manufactures. The body makes glucose from all three elements of food: protein, fats, and carbohydrates but the largest amount of glucose derives from carbohydrates. Glucose serves as the major source of energy for living cells. However, cells cannot use glucose without the help of insulin.

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Gluten
Gluten is the main protein found in wheat, barely, and rye. It is what gives bread and other baked goods their fluffy, chewy, elastic texture. It is also a bad actor that humans do not digest very well. It is technically a compound of two smaller proteins, glutenin and gliadin. Both parts can cause immune reaction and inflammation in the gut. It is broken down by the enzyme DPPIV.

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Glycocalyx
The glycocalyx is a glycoprotein-polysaccharide covering that surrounds the cell membranes of some bacteria, epithelia and other cells. Most animal epithelial cells have a fuzz-like coat on the external surface of their plasma membranes.

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Hemicellulase
Hemicellulase is a collective term for a group of enzymes that break down hemicellulose. Hemicellulose is a collective term for various components of cell walls in plants (glucans, galactans, mannans, pentosans, xylans) with the exception of cellulose.

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Hydrolysis
Hydrolysis is a reaction involving the breaking of a bond in a molecule using water.

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Homogenization
This process is used to make liquids of different substances into a consistent blend. It is achieved by forcing the liquid at high pressure through small holes, this forces the particles to become smaller and uniform in size. A common example is milk. Milk is homogenized so that the fat particles are evenly distributed within the water making it smooth with no separation.

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Immune response
Any reaction by the immune system. For example, poison ivy can cause an immune response in the skin characterized by inflammation with tiny blisters, and itching. Also, a flu shot is designed to produce an immune response by stimulating the production of antibodies against the flu virus.

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Irradiation
This process is used as a preservation technique as it kills bacteria that could cause food poisoning. It is also used to delay ripening of some foods. It works by exposing food to electron beams, x-rays or gamma-rays.

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Iron
Iron is a mineral which forms an important part of hemoglobin, helping to transport oxygen round the body in our blood. Iron also has an important role in the immune system.

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Lactase
Enzyme that breaks down the milk sugar lactose into glucose and galactose. Persons with a deficiency of lactase (alactasia) in the gut can develop abdominal cramping and diarrhea after ingesting milk products.

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Lactose
The sugar found in milk. Lactose is a large sugar molecule that is made up of two smaller sugar molecules, glucose and galactose. In order for lactose to be absorbed from the intestine and into the body, it must first be split into glucose and galactose. The glucose and galactose are then absorbed by the cells lining the small intestine. The enzyme that splits lactose into glucose and galactose is called lactase, and it is located on the surface of the cells lining the small intestine.

Lactose intolerance is a common medical condition that results in diarrhea, abdominal pain, and gas (flatulence) and is caused by reduced or absent activity of enzyme lactase. When there is a deficiency of lactase, the lactose in the intestine cannot be split for digestion.

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Lectin
A class of proteins that have binding affinity to specific carbohydrates. Lectins are made by both animals and plants and are able to bind to the outside of a cell and cause biochemical changes in it. Plant lectins have been implicated in chronic inflammation and the pathogenesis of several disease states.

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Malnutrition
Malnutrition is the condition of an unbalanced diet, which may be lacking in nutrients, too high in nutrients or nutrients are provided in the wrong proportions.

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Metabolism
The chemical reactions that happen in living cells to sustain life. This includes digestion and transporting substances between cells. The speed of metabolism will determine how much food is needed.

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Obesity
A chronic disease characterized by excessively high body fat in relation to lean body tissue, leading to adverse affects on health. Obesity is classified as having a BMI >29.5.

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Overweight
Being overweight is classified as having a BMI >24.9, with more body fat than is optimally healthy.

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Pasteurization
Pasteurization involves heating a food or drink to a high temperature (less than boiling) for several minutes. This does not kill all the microbes but, as long as the food or drink is stored appropriately, it slows down spoilage. This process is mainly used for milk and fruit juice.

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pH
pH is a measure of how acidic/basic a solution is. The range goes from 0 – 14, with 7 being neutral. pHs of less than 7 indicate acidity, whereas a pH of greater than 7 indicates a base. pH is really a measure of the relative amount of free hydrogen and hydroxyl ions in the solution.

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Phosphorus
An essential element in the diet and a major component of bone.

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Phytochemicals
These are chemicals naturally occurring in plants, but are not classified as nutrients. They may have protective properties against cancers, heart disease and other chronic health conditions.

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Prebiotics
A general term to refer to chemicals that induce the growth or activity of microorganisms (e.g., bacteria and fungi) that contribute to the well-being of their host. The most common example is in the gastrointestinal tract, where prebiotics can alter the composition of organisms in the gut microbiome.

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Protein
Proteins are made up of chains of amino acids. Proteins are important both structurally and functionally in every cell of our body. Protein in the diet can be provided by both animal and plant sources. Protein provides 4 Kcal per gram.

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Refined Grains 
Refers to the fine grinding of grains and removal of unwanted components that may not be desirable for processing or the finished product. An example is white flour, where the grain is ground and the husk and germ are removed.

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Salt
Sodium and chloride form salt (NaCl). Salt is used in many foods for flavor, as a preservative and for processing e.g. controlling yeast fermentation in bread. Too much salt can lead to hypertension (high blood pressure).

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Saturated Fat
Saturated fats contain fatty acids that have no double bonds as the carbon chains are fully saturated with hydrogen atoms. This means they are solid at room temperature. Saturated fats are often from animal sources such as lard, but also some vegetable sources such as palm oil and coconut oil. Consuming too much saturated fat can lead to high levels of cholesterol in the blood, which, in turn, can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.

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Sodium (Na)
Sodium is needed for cellular fluid balance and muscle retractions in the body. Sodium and chloride form salt (NaCl).

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Starch
A complex carbohydrate made up of many glucose units that the body digests to use for energy. About a third of our diet should be made of starchy carbohydrates which are found in foods such as bread, potatoes and pasta.

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Substrate
In biochemistry, an enzyme substrate is the material upon which an enzyme acts.

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Sugar
Sugars are simple carbohydrates that our bodies break down and use for energy quicker than complex carbohydrates. Sugars can be defined as either monosaccharides (one unit), examples include glucose, fructose and galactose or disaccharides (two units) examples include sucrose, which we know as white table sugar, lactose (the sugar in milk) and maltose.

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Sugar Substitue 
Sugar substitutes are additives used for sweetening foods and drink. They can either be artificial or natural and are usually many times sweeter than sugar, often with fewer or no calories.

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Trans fats
Trans fatty acids are naturally occurring in tiny amounts in foods from ruminant animals such as milk and lamb. They also occur through processing when unsaturated oils are partially hydrogenated, moving the location of the double bond. This makes the oils more solid and better for processing. There is a concern around trans fats as they have been proven to have negative health effects, increasing the levels of bad cholesterol (LDL).

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Triglycerides
The scientific name for the common form of fat, found in both vegetable and animal fats. Most body fat is stored in the form of triglycerides, when there are unused calories.

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Ultra Heat Treatment (UHT)
Ultra-heat treatment involves heating food or drink to a very high temperature (>135oC) for only 1-2 seconds. This destroys micro-organisms meaning that the product can last for months without refrigeration. It is often used for long life milk, which does not have to be kept refrigerated.

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Unsaturated Fat
Unsaturated fats have one or more double bonds, meaning they are liquid at room temperature. They are often from vegetable sources such as sunflower and olive oil. Monounsaturated fats have one double bond and can be found in various foods, e.g. avocados. Polyunsaturated fats contain more than one double bond and can be found in both vegetable sources and fish. Unsaturated fats have been proven to have positive effects on our heart health and help reduce cholesterol in the blood.

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Vegetarian
There is no single definition for vegetarian but it refers to a diet that excludes some or all foods from animal sources.
Semi-vegetarians: do not eat red meat, but will often eat fish and poultry.
Lacto-ovo vegetarians: do not eat meat, but will eat dairy products and eggs.
Lacto vegetarians: do not eat meat, only dairy products
Vegans: strict vegetarians, with no foods from animal sources at all – they may also avoid clothing and other non-food products derived from animals.

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Vitamins
A group of nutrients that our bodies need in small amounts to maintain many processes. Vitamins can be defined as either water soluble or fat soluble. Most vitamins cannot be made by the body and therefore have to be obtained through the diet.

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Whole Grain
Applies to grains in which the whole grain, including the endosperm, bran and germ are not removed during processing.

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Xylanase
Xylanase is the name given to a class of enzymes which degrade the linear polysaccharide beta-1,4-xylan into xylose, thus breaking down hemicellulose which is a major component of the cell wall of plants.

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*Most terms adapted from the MedTerms™ Medical Dictionary