Is there any difference in pronunciation of the last two words?
The syllabic stress.
Eats - okhel
Food - okhel
Would it be safe to assume that, if we were learning vowel pointing, these two words would have different vowels? Perhaps a tsere in the verb and a segol in the noun?
Correct, אוֹכֵל is the verb, and אוֹכֶל the noun. Although nowadays there is no difference in pronunciation between tsere and segol.
Nowadays most people don't know the correct using of Nikud, the differences between Kamatz and Patakh or between Tsere and segol. Even teachers can't tell the differences, and neither do I.
Òchel, vs Ochél
stress is very important in Hebrew
Good thing I'm stressed all the time
I suppose some people eat synthetic ingredients which aren't technically food.
Do we have to use an object here, can't we just say אני אוכל ?
Then it would just be "I eat". The sentence is "I eat food."
What's wrong with "I am eating a meal?"
The word ארוחה(meal) is not present in the sentence. Food (אוכל) is
Feeling dumb... Toda raba!
Just checking that the verb has the stress on the last syllable, while the noun has it on the first syllable.
There are a lot of little details like this where I am not sure what I am hearing!
Why isn't it אני אוכל מאכל?
A מאכל is a type of food. אוכל (with stress on the first syllable) is food in general.
That would mean i am eating FROM the food...not exactly makes sense
Not quite. Airelibre already answered JHollander's question correctly. There is really no need for answering an already answered question, incorrectly. From the food would be מהאוכל.
Can you say אני אוכל את אוכל too?
No. את is a definite direct object marker and it is used only when the direct object is definite, as the name says. You could say אני אוכל את האוכל, but that means "I eat THE food".