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Food is Energy for Your Body

The human body needs energy to function. It gets that energy from food. Here’show that works. First, your body breaks down food into tiny particles thatyour cells can use. This process is called digestion. The body digestsfood as it travels from your mouth through the esophagus, stomach, and intestines. Useful parts of the food stay in your body as small particles. The parts of food that you cannot digest exit your body as waste.

One type of particle that your body produces by breaking down food is called glucose. Glucose is a form of sugar. Your body breaks down sweet and starchy foods, such as bread, candy, table sugar, and potatoes, into glucose, the form of sugar found in blood.

Once your body has broken down food into glucose, your cells use that glucose to make energy through a process called cellular respiration. Your body can use that energy to stay warm, run, jump, hop, and do just about anything.

When you eat a healthy diet, your body gets all the nutritional elements it needs, such as vitamins and minerals. Eating healthy also means eating the right amount of food. When the body takes in too much food, it cannot use up all the energy it produces. That energy stays with you, stored in your body as layers of fat. As you can imagine, it’s hard to get rid of that fat. It would be so much easier if you just took in less food, used up more energy, and didn’t have the fat stored in the first place. Think of it this way: Eat less, move more, have less fat to store.

Health for Life
A healthy lifestyle starts early, so it’s important for young people to adopt good eating and fitness habits that they can keep for life. Changing your health habits is as easy as changing your mind. If you decide that you want to become more fit, you can do so. Use the tips in these pages to improve your fitness, or pass them on to a friend or family member whose health you care about.

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