Nutritional value

Nutritional value or nutritive value as part of food quality is the measure of a well-balanced ratio of the essential nutrients carbohydrates, fat, protein, minerals, and vitamins in items of food or diet in relation to the nutrient requirements of their consumer. Several nutritional rating systems and nutrition facts label have been invented to be able to rank food in terms of its nutritional value, but absolute scales are open for debate and tend to ignore particular consumer needs.[1][2][3]

On a biological scale, nutritive value of food may vary for different health conditions (leading to dietary recommendations and particular diet foods), seasonal differences[4], age[5] and sexual differences[6], and interspecies or greater taxonomic differences[7]. An absolute scale with fixed ratings even for humans only is questionable because of the complexity of the ingredient interplay involved[8][9][10] and will lead to unintended consequences when applied generally.[11][12]

In colloquial speech, "nutritional value" is often taken to mean the caloric value of a food item only, a restriction that can lead to confusion when comparing the values of different diets.


  1. ^ "20 Nutrition Facts That Should Be Common Sense (But Aren't)". Healthline.
  2. ^ "Nutritive value – Biology-Online Dictionary | Biology-Online Dictionary".
  3. ^ "Nutrient requirements – British Nutrition Foundation". Archived from the original on 2019-07-26. Retrieved 2019-07-26.
  4. ^ Macdiarmid, Jennie I. (August 26, 2014). "Seasonality and dietary requirements: will eating seasonal food contribute to health and environmental sustainability?". The Proceedings of the Nutrition Society. 73 (3): 368–375. doi:10.1017/S0029665113003753. PMID 25027288.
  5. ^ "What is the relationship between child nutrition and school outcomes?". ResearchGate.
  6. ^ Alur, Pradeep (July 26, 2019). "Sex Differences in Nutrition, Growth, and Metabolism in Preterm Infants". Frontiers in Pediatrics. 7: 22. doi:10.3389/fped.2019.00022. PMC 6374621. PMID 30792973.
  7. ^ "Nutrient Requirements of Animals". The National Academies Press.
  8. ^ "GUIDELINES FOR USE OF NUTRITION CLAIMS". Retrieved 2019-07-26.
  9. ^ "Guide for Older Adults on Using the Nutrition Facts Label". U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 2018-07-31. Retrieved 2019-07-26.
  10. ^ "Nutrition claims – Food Safety". Food Safety – European Commission. 2016-10-17. Retrieved 2019-07-26.
  11. ^ Berge, La; F., Ann (2008-02-23). "How the Ideology of Low Fat Conquered America". Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences. 63 (2): 139–177. doi:10.1093/jhmas/jrn001. ISSN 0022-5045. PMID 18296750.
  12. ^ "Nutrients or Junks? – Food Security and Food Justice". Food Security and Food Justice – A blog by University of Sheffield students studying on the MA for Food Security and Food Justice. 2017-01-26. Retrieved 2019-07-26.