Nutrients

Have you heard ever heard the term “You are what you eat?” There may be more fact to that statement than you realize. The nutrients found in our foods make up similar compounds in our body.

The Main nutrients found in our food come is six classes:

  • Carbohydrates
  • Lipids (or Fats)
  • Proteins
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Water



The human body is able to make some nutrients but it can to make them all. Humans need food to supply the nutrients needed to sustain life. Nutrients are needed to support growth, maintenance, and repair body’s tissues. From the food supplied, the human body is able to produce some of the nutrients it needs. Some nutrients cannot be produced by the human body and must be supplied by food. The nutrients that foods must supply are called “essential nutrients”.

The six nutrients found in foods are energy yielding nutrients or nutrients that do not yield energy. The only nutrients that produce energy are Carbohydrates, Lipids and Protein. Vitamins, minerals and water do NOT produce energy but are important in the production of energy. The energy released from carbohydrates, fats and protein are measured in calories. Therefore only Carbohydrates, Lipids and Protein supply the body with calories. Vitamins, Minerals, and Water do not supply calories to the diet.

The amount of energy (or calories) a food provides depends on how much carbohydrates, fat and protein it contains. When completely broken down in the body carbohydrates and protein yield about 4 calories and fat yields about 9 calories per gram. Alcohol also contributes calories (energy) to the diet but it is not considered a nutrient. Alcohol contributes about 7 calories per gram. Alcohol does not sustain life and is not considered a nutrient. In fact, alcohol interferes with the growth, maintenance and repair of the body.

In summary, food provides nutrients. The nutrients found in food are necessary to support, growth, maintenance and repair of body tissues. Carbohydrates, fats and protein are the only nutrients that can supplies calories (or energy) for the body. Vitamins, mineral and water are also necessary to facilitate a variety of activities in the body.

The human body is made up of compounds similar to compounds found in foods. About 60 percent of the human body is water. The amount of fat in a human body depends on the person. Men usually have less fat than women. The average young man has about 13 to 21 percent of fat while the average young women has 23 to 31 percent fat. The remaining composition of the human body is made up of carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, minerals and other minor constituents.