The Merriam Webster Online Dictionary gives two definitions of nutrition. The first definition is “the sum of the processes by which an animal or plant takes in and utilizes food.”

The other definition, “the act or process of nourishing or being nourished,” is more inclusive. This definition suggests that food symbolizes many different things, including belonging, love, satisfaction, contentment, enjoyment, and much more.

Nutrition involves more than simply eating a good diet—it is about nourishment on every level. It involves relationships with family, friends, the greater society, and the world.

Choices about nourishment are very much linked to other human beings and other life forms on this planet, so healthy (and unhealthy) decisions have great impact.


Does the word “diet” refer to a weight-loss regimen, or is it simply a name for a person’s usual food and drink?

You would not be alone if you thought of diet as a prescribed regimen. For example, consider the use of the term diet in marketing food products—it usually describes foods low in calories, such as diet soda.

Both meanings are correct. However, this site uses the term “diet” to mean the daily food and drink a person consumes.