Caffeine is a naturally occurring stimulant found in the leaves, seeds, or fruit of over sixty plants around the world. Caffeine exists in the coffee bean in Arabia, the tea leaf in China, the kola nut in West Africa, and the cocoa bean in Mexico.


Calcium is one of the most important elements in the diet because it is a structural component of bones, teeth, and soft tissues and is essential in many of the body's metabolic processes. It accounts for 1 to 2 percent of adult body weight, 99 percent of which is stored in bones and teeth.


Technically, a calorie is the amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of 1 kilogram (kg) of water 1 degree Celsius. One calorie is 1/1000 of a kilocalorie (a kcalorie or Calorie).


Cancer is a disease characterized by the uncontrolled growth and spread of abnormal cells. Around the world, over 10 million cancer cases occur annually.


Carbohydrates are one of three macronutrients that provide the body with energy (protein and fats being the other two). The chemical compounds in carbohydrates are found in both simple and complex forms, and in order for the body to use carbohydrates for energy, food must undergo digestion, absorption, and glycolysis.

Cardiovascular Disease

The cardiovascular system comprises the heart, veins, arteries, and capillaries, which carry blood back and forth from the heart to the lungs (pulmonary circulation) and from the heart to the rest of the body (systemic circulation). The heart works on electrical impulses and produces them constantly, unless stress, fear, or danger is involved, in which case the impulses will increase dramatically.

Careers in Dietetics

The science and profession of nutrition and dietetics is based on the application of foods and nutrition to promote health and treat disease. Most dietitians and nutritionists work in clinical, community, public health, or food service settings.

Caribbean Islanders, Diet of

Travel advertisements for the Caribbean Islands portray long stretches of sun-drenched beaches and swaying palm trees, with people dancing to jazz, calypso, reggae, or meringue music. Indeed, the beauty, warmth, and lush landscapes had Christopher Columbus in awe in 1492 when he came upon these tropical islands, stretching approximately 2,600 miles between Florida and Venezuela.


Carotenoids are a group of red and yellow fat-soluble compounds that pigment different types of plants, such as flowers, citrus fruits, tomatoes, and carrots, as well as animals, such as salmon, flamingos, and goldfish. The ingestion of carotenoids is essential to human health, not only because some convert into Vitamin A, but also because they have antioxidant effects, which may combat such diverse problems as cancer and macular degeneration.

Central Americans and Mexicans, Diets of

The diets of peoples in Mexico and Central America (Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Belize, and Costa Rica) have several commonalities, though within the region great differences in methods of preparation and in local recipes exist. The basis of the traditional diet in this part of the world is corn (maize) and beans, with the addition of meat, animal products, local fruits, and vegetables.

Central Europeans and Russians, Diets of

A health gap separates Central and Eastern Europe from the United States, Canada, Japan, and the Western part of Europe. This East-West gap in health started during the 1960s.

Childhood Obesity

There have always been overweight children. Historically, chubby babies and toddlers were more likely to survive infections and contagious diseases, and overweight children and family members were often signs of affluence and financial security in a community.

College Students, Diets of

When students first enter college, their diets often deteriorate and they often gain weight. There are many factors responsible for these changes.

Commodity Foods

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) administers several programs that distribute commodity foods, which are foods that the federal government has the legal authority to purchase and distribute in order to support farm prices. The first commodity distribution program began during the Great Depression of the 1930s, when it was known as the Needy Family Program.

Comprehensive School Health Program

The Comprehensive School Health Program (CSHP) is a national program in the United States that makes efforts in schools to improve the health of children. Since schools profoundly influence the health of young people, the CSHP is very important.

Convenience Foods

Convenience foods are foods that have had preparation steps incorporated into their processing, or have been completely prepared during processing. This decreases preparation steps and time for the consumer.

Corn- or Maize-Based Diets

Maize, the American Indian word for corn, literally means "that which sustains life." After wheat and rice, it is the most important cereal grain in the world, providing nutrients for humans and animals. It also serves as a basic raw material for the production of starch, oil, protein, alcoholic beverages, food sweeteners, and fuel.


Most people, at some time, have a strong desire for some particular food, such as ice cream or pizza. Such a desire for a particular food, even when one is not hungry, is called a craving.

Cultural Competence

Despite notable progress in the overall health of Americans, there are continuing disparities in health status among African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, and Pacific Islanders, compared to the U.S. population as a whole.


Dehydration is the excessive loss of water from the body. Water can be lost through urine, sweat, feces, respiration, and through the skin.