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Nutrition is the relationship between food and health. The individual chemicals in food
are called nutrients. There are six main classes of nutrients- carbohydrates, fats,
proteins, vitamins, minerals and water. Most foods in the first three classes need
digestion before the body can use them.
Carbohydrates include sugars and starch- and give us energy. Carbohydrate-rich foods
include bread, pasta, cereals, potatoes, rice and peas.
The simplest carbohydrates are simple sugars or monosaccharide's, such as glucose.
Glucose is the main fuel used be cells and is the form in which carbohydrate is carried
in the blood. Simple sugars can be built up in to more complex carbohydrates such as
Sucrose is a double sugar, consisting of a glucose and a fructose molecule joined
Fats provide more than twice the energy per gram as carbohydrates. Foods rich in
fats include, cream, butter, margarine, egg yolk and cheese.
Fat molecules are made of three fatty acids joined to a glycerol. Fats that are liquid
at room temperature are oils.
Proteins provide building materials for growth. Protein-rich foods include, meat, egg
white, fish, cheese, milk and seeds/nuts.
Because proteins are constituents (components) of all cells, they are important for
increasing the number of cells, and thus for growth and repair.
A protein molecule consists of a long chain of up to a thousand or more smaller
units called amino acids. There are 20 different kinds of amino acids commonly found
in proteins, and in each protein they are arranged in a specific order or sequence. It is
the sequence and type of amino acids that makes each protein different.
Vitamins and Minerals
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Vitamins and minerals are needed in much smaller amounts than carbohydrates, fats
and proteins and do not provide energy. Vitamins are organic substances (contain
carbon atoms joined to hydrogen), found only in living things. Minerals are inorganic;
examples are calcium, potassium, phosphate and numerous other ions and salts.
Vitamins and some minerals play an important part in helping enzymes to work.…read more