Nutrition encompasses the scientific understanding of how nutrients and other components in food interact to influence the maintenance, growth, reproduction, health, and disease prevention in organisms. This field considers various factors such as food intake, absorption, assimilation, biosynthesis, catabolism, and excretion. An organism's diet, determined by factors like food availability, processing methods, and taste preferences, plays a pivotal role in its overall health.

A well-balanced diet involves not only choosing nutritious foods but also employing appropriate food preparation and storage techniques to preserve nutrients and minimize the risk of foodborne illnesses caused by oxidation, heat exposure, or leaching. Registered dietitian nutritionists (RDs or RDNs) are qualified healthcare professionals equipped to offer safe, evidence-based dietary guidance. Their services include assessing dietary habits, evaluating nutritional status, and devising personalized treatment plans. Additionally, RDs/RDNs deliver preventive and therapeutic nutritional programs in various settings such as workplaces, schools, and similar institutions.

Certified Clinical Nutritionists or CCNs, are trained health professionals who also offer dietary advice on the role of nutrition in chronic disease, including possible prevention or remediation by addressing nutritional deficiencies before resorting to drugs. Government regulation especially in terms of licensing, is currently less universal for the CCN than that of RD or RDN. A poor diet may have an injurious impact on health, causing deficiency diseases such as blindness, anemia, scurvy, preterm birth, stillbirth and cretinism; health-threatening conditions like obesity and metabolic syndrome; and such common chronic systemic diseases as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis A poor diet can cause the wasting of kwashiorkor in acute cases, and the stunting of marasmus in chronic cases of malnutrition. Clinical nutrition is nutrition of patients in health care.

Clinical in this sense refers to the management of patients, including not only outpatients at clinics, but also (and mainly) inpatients in hospitals. It incorporates primarily the scientific fields of nutrition and dietetics. It aims to keep a healthy energy balance in patients, as well as providing sufficient amounts other nutrients such as protein, vitamins, minerals.

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