An athlete may answer the question of why they eat by saying they eat for energy, strength, and stamina, all in all to perform their best. No matter what your professional designation in life, we all need to look to this answer, and realize it applies to all of us.
It has to do with performing your best. In the case of an athlete this may be realized at the physical level of being able to jump higher, run faster, or bike longer. However, in the case of athletes, and everyone else, it may be applied in a mental sense, to think clearer, react faster, or focus longer. And still for certain people it may mean a spiritual sense of being able to, stay in a state of meditation longer, generate a stronger life force, or better cultivate compassion toward others. All of these aspects need proper nutrition in order to be preformed to the best of our abilities.
So what is proper nutrition, what is food? The Oxford English dictionary describes food as, “any nutritious substance that people or animals eat or drink in order to maintain life and growth.” Thus the substances found in food like products that do not help us to “maintain life and growth”, are therefore NOT food.