FOOD GROUPS - Proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals (2023)

Food groups are categorized based on the nutritional properties they provide. The foods that animals eat can be classified according to the amount of nutrients and the types of nutrients they provide for sustenance and survival. Eating portions of foods from different groups is highly recommended to lead a healthy lifestyle. This gives you a complete set of nutrients for better health.

There are seven main classes of nutrients and these are them

  • carbohydrates
  • Phases
  • Slices
  • Protein
  • minerals
  • Vitamins
  • water

These classes of nutrients can be broken down into macronutrients, or nutrients that are needed in large amounts, and micronutrients, or nutrients that are needed in small amounts. Macronutrients include carbohydrates, protein, fat, fiber and water, while micronutrients include vitamins and minerals.

Macronutrients provide the body with energy. Water and fiber are free. Energy is measured in kilocalories or joules. Kilocalories are written as C to distinguish them from calories in grams. For every gram of carbohydrate, your body puts in seventeen kilojoules, or four kilocalories. Fats provide your body with thirty-seven kilojoules, or nine kilocalories per gram. Vitamins, fiber, minerals and water do not provide the body with energy but are needed for other purposes.

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Carbohydrate molecules are made up of carbon, oxygen and hydrogen atoms. Monosaccharides like glucose, fructose, and galactose are types of carbohydrates. An example of a complex carbohydrate is starch. Fats are made up of the same types of atoms as carbohydrates. They are made from triglycerides, or fatty acid monomers, attached to glycerol.

Protein molecules are made up of nitrogen plus carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen atoms. These nitrogenous monomers are essential amino acids that the body needs. They fulfill important functions in metabolism. They serve the body as energy and fuel. Antioxidants and phytochemicals are other essential micronutrients for the body.

Most of the foods you eat are made up of multiple nutrient classes. Some nutrients are needed by the body all the time, while others are needed from time to time. People's health deteriorates due to nutrient imbalance. There can be too much of a nutrient or a lack of it.


Carbohydrates are classified according to the number of monomer units they contain or the number of sugar units they contain. They can be monosaccharides, disaccharides or polysaccharides. Monosaccharides have one sugar moiety, disaccharides have two sugar moieties, and polysaccharides have three or more sugar moieties. Carbohydrates make up most foods like bread, pasta, rice, and other grain-based products.

Monosaccharides and disaccharides are simpler carbohydrates, while polysaccharides are complex carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates take longer to digest because they take longer to break down into simpler sugar units. Only the simplest sugar units can be absorbed into the blood. Blood sugar spikes are caused by overeating of the simplest carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates are absorbed into the blood very quickly, causing blood sugar levels to rise abnormally. This leads to heart and vascular diseases. You should be aware that there are many foods that are made up of simple sugars. One of them is sugar-based juice.


Many structures in the animal body are made of protein. Your hair, skin and muscles are made of protein. Each protein molecule is made up of thousands of amino acids. These amino acids are made up of nitrogen and, in some cases, sulfur. Your body needs these amino acids to make new proteins or to maintain existing proteins and to replace damaged proteins or to maintain protein mass. Amino acids that the body does not need are excreted in the urine.

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All animals require certain proteins that cannot be made by their own bodies. These are called essential proteins. Proteins that an animal can produce internally are called non-essential proteins. These are proteins that an animal can make from its own nitrogen-based components. There are about twenty types of amino acids found in the human body, and about ten of them are essential. Since they are essential to life and cannot be manufactured by your own body, they are required in your diet.

Your diet should be high in protein, especially protein that is essential. A high-protein diet is necessary as your child develops and matures, when you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or when you are injured.

Complete protein sources are those that contain all of the essential amino acids, while an incomplete protein source is missing one or more essential amino acids. One or more incomplete protein sources can be combined to produce a complete protein source. For example, rice and beans can be combined to form a complete protein source. Other sources of protein include tofu, meat, eggs, soy and soy products, legumes, grains, and dairy products like cheese and milk. There are some amino acids that can be converted into glucose and used for energy. This process is called gluconeogenesis. The amino acids left over after conversion are discarded by the body.


A fat molecule consists of several fatty acids linked to glycerol. These fatty acids are made up of long chains of hydrogen and carbon atoms and occur as triglycerides. Triglycerides are three fatty acids attached to a glycerol.

Fats are either saturated or unsaturated. Saturated fats are those types of fats that have all of their carbon atoms bonded to hydrogen atoms with the fatty acid chains. Unsaturated fats, on the other hand, are characterized by carbon atoms with double bonds and often few hydrogen atoms. In addition, these unsaturated fats can be classified into monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. Monounsaturated fats are made up of one double bond. Polyunsaturated fats are made up of multiple double bonds. Trans fats are a type of unsaturated fat with an isomeric trans fatty acid and are usually obtained through the hydrogenation process.

There are several studies showing that unsaturated fats are better for human nutrition. In particular, monounsaturated fats are the best type of fat. Saturated fats from animal sources are the closest type of fat that is acceptable to humans, while trans fats are the type of fat that should be avoided entirely. Saturated fat and trans fat are the types of fat that are solid at room temperature. Examples of these fats are butter and lard. Unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature. Examples of unsaturated fats are olive oil and linseed oil. Trans fats are not typically found in nature but are useful in food processing.

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essential fatty acids

Most fatty acids are non-essential, meaning your body can make them on its own when needed. However, there are some fatty acids that are essential and must be included in your diet. A balance of omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids is necessary for optimal health. These long-chain omega polyunsaturated fatty acids are substrates for eicosanoids, also known as prostaglandins. They play an important role in the functioning of the human body. In a way, they can be called hormones.

The omega-3 eicosapentaenoic acid or EPA is made by the human body along with the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid or LNA. It can also be obtained from seafood, which are building blocks for prostaglandin series 3, or low-inflammatory PGE3. The omega-6 dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid or DGLA is a building block for the pro-inflammatory PGE1 or series 1 prostaglandin. Arachidonic acid or AA is used as a building block for these pro-inflammatory series 2 prostaglandins, also known as PGE 2. Both DGLA and AA are made in the human body from omega-6 linolenic acid or LA. It can also be acquired through some types of food.

With a healthy balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, the necessary prostaglandins are produced. By balancing omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, you're on the road to excellent cardiovascular health. Problems in highly industrialized societies are the excessive consumption of large amounts of vegetable oil. This reduces the amount of essential fatty acids or an imbalance between omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids.

The production of the prostaglandins PGE1 and PGE2 depends largely on how the omega-6 fatty acids DGLA and AA are converted. Omega-3 EPA prevents AA from being released from membranes, resulting in an imbalance of pro-inflammatory PGE2 produced by AA to anti-inflammatory PGE1 produced by DGLA.

The conversion or desaturation of DGLA to AA is accomplished by the enzyme delta-5 desaturase. This delta-5 desaturase is controlled by hormones called insulin and glucagon. Insulin regulates the increase while glucagon regulates the decrease. The amount of carbohydrates consumed along with the amount of amino acids in your system affects the processes of insulin, glucagon and other hormones. This means that the ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 will have serious effects on a person's health. Specifically, it will affect the immune system, inflammation, and mitosis, or cell division.

In order to get essential fatty acids, vegetables, seeds, nuts and sea oils must be consumed. The best sources of these essential fatty acids are flaxseed oils, fish, soy and soy derivatives, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and walnuts.

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Dietary fiber is a carbohydrate that humans and many animals do not fully absorb. Like carbohydrates, when metabolized, fiber produces four calories, or kilocalories, of energy per gram. In reality, this may be less than the estimate because not all of it is absorbed by the body.

The fiber in your diet consists primarily of cellulose. This is a large carbohydrate polymer that cannot be digested by humans due to a lack of enzymes. There are two categories of fibers. Insoluble fiber and soluble fiber are these two types. Whole grains, fruits, prunes, figs, and vegetables are excellent sources of fiber. Your body needs fiber to promote digestive health and minimize the risk of developing colon cancer. In addition, fiber also relieves cases of constipation and diarrhea. Fiber increases intestinal volume, while insoluble fiber promotes peristalsis. Peristalsis is the rhythmic muscle contraction that occurs in the intestinal tract to allow food to pass. Some of the soluble fibers are made with high viscosity. This means it slows the movement of food in the gut, thus reducing the insulin spikes attributed to diabetics.


Minerals are chemical elements necessary for living things. Carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen exist in organic molecules. The word mineral is archaic as it attempts to describe the less abundant elements required by the human body. These items are heavier than the four basic items. These elements include metals, which are most commonly found as ions in the body. Several nutritionists advise getting these minerals naturally from food. They must be obtained from complex compounds or natural inorganic sources such as calcium carbonate, which can be obtained from ground oyster shells. Otherwise, these minerals must be supplied artificially in the form of dietary supplements such as iodine or iodized salt.

The macromineral

There are some elements that are essential and should be consumed in greater quantity. These minerals are known as bulk minerals. They can be structural and serve many vital functions as electrolytes in the body. Here are some items that have a recommended dietary intake, or RDA, above two hundred milligrams.

  • Calcium – This is a common electrolyte that also has structural purposes related to muscle health, digestive health, bone health, neutralizing acidity, removing toxins, and aiding in circulation.
  • Chlorine - this is made up of chloride ions. It is also a common electrolyte.
  • Magnesium: Needed to process ATP, or adenosine triphosphate, the body's energy. It can also be used for related reactions such as bone formation, resulting in strong peristalsis, increased body alkalinity, and increased body flexibility.
  • Phosphorus: necessary for bones and essential for energy processing
  • Sodium – This is a common electrolyte not typically found in supplements. It is needed in large quantities. Anyway, this is very common in food. You can find it in the form of sodium chloride or table salt.
  • Sulfur - essential for amino acids and many proteins in the body, such as skin, hair, liver, nails and pancreas


Several elements are required in trace amounts because they play a catalytic role in enzymes. These are some of the necessary trace minerals in as little as two hundred milligrams a day.

  • Cobalt: necessary for the biosynthesis of the vitamin B12 family of coenzymes
  • Copper - You need it for many redox enzymes, including cytochrome and oxidase
  • Chromium - this is needed to metabolize sugar
  • Iodine - this is necessary for the biosynthesis of the element thyroxine. This is needed in a much larger quantity compared to the others on this list. Iodine is generally counted among the macro minerals
  • Iron – this is needed for several enzymes, particularly hemoglobin and other proteins
  • Manganese - this is necessary for the processing of oxygen
  • Molybdenum - this is needed for xanthine and other oxidases
  • Nickel - this is needed in urease
  • Selenium - this is needed for peroxidase or antioxidant proteins
  • Vanadium: There is no current RDA for vanadium, although it has been identified in lower organisms. It has no specific biochemical function, but has already been demonstrated in humans.
  • Zinc: Needed for enzymes such as carboxypeptidase, liver alcohol dehydrogenase, and carbonic anhydrase


In addition to the mineral mentioned above, there are twelve vitamins that are considered essential nutrients. They are necessary to maintain good health. The only vitamin that is not essential is vitamin D, as it can be synthesized in the skin under UV-B radiation. There are several vitamin-like compounds that are recommended to be included in your diet. An example is carnitine. This is necessary to survive and live a healthy life. It's not a vitamin-like compound that's absolutely necessary, as the body can make it from other substances.

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Thousands of phytochemicals have recently been discovered in some foods and have desirable and beneficial antioxidant properties for humans. They are usually found in fresh vegetables. Some other essential nutrients not identified as vitamins are some of the amino acids, essential fatty acids, choline and the minerals discussed in the previous part.

A vitamin deficiency can lead to diseases such as goiter, osteoporosis, scurvy, a weakened immune system, disorders of cellular metabolism, some types of cancer, signs of premature aging, mental problems, eating disorders and much more. If you have a lot of vitamins, it can also be dangerous for your health. The same logic applies to minerals as well. If you have too many or too few minerals, that would also be a risk to your health.


What are 5 basic food groups? ›

As the MyPlate icon shows, the five food groups are Fruits, Vegetables, Grains, Protein Foods, and Dairy. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans emphasizes the importance of an overall healthy eating pattern with all five groups as key building blocks, plus oils.

What are the main 7 food groups? ›

There are more than 40 different kinds of nutrients in food and they can generally be classified into the following 7 major groups:
  • Carbohydrates.
  • Proteins.
  • Fats.
  • Vitamins.
  • Minerals.
  • Dietary fibre.
  • Water.
Dec 4, 2017

What are the 5 main food groups and their function? ›

Food group fun
  • 1 Carbohydrates. Carbohydrates give you energy, calcium and B vitamins. ...
  • 2 Protein. Think of proteins as building blocks for the body – they help it grow and repair itself. ...
  • 3 Dairy products. ...
  • 4 Fruit and vegetables. ...
  • 5 Fats and sugars.

What are the 5 food groups and an example of each? ›

The 5 Food Groups: Sample Choices
  • Dark green vegetables: bok choy, broccoli, collard greens, kale, spinach.
  • Red and orange vegetables: acorn squash, butternut squash, carrots, pumpkin, red peppers, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, tomato juice.
  • Starchy vegetables: corn, green peas, potatoes.
Aug 6, 2020

What are the 6 basic food groups and give examples? ›

There are six categories in the Food Pyramid: the bread, cereal, rice, and pasta group (grains), the fruit group, the vegetable group, the meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs, and nuts group (protein), the milk, yogurt, and cheese group (dairy), and the fats, oils, and sweets group.

Are there 6 or 7 classes of food? ›

There are six classes of food namely:
  • Carbohydrates.
  • Fat and oil.
  • Protein.
  • Vitamins.
  • Mineral.
  • Water.
Aug 1, 2020

What are the 8 main food groups? ›

Understanding the different food groups — and how much of each should make up your diet — can help you form a healthy eating pattern over time.
On this page:
  • Vegetables.
  • Fruits.
  • Grains.
  • Protein Foods.
  • Dairy.
  • Oils & Solid Fats.
  • Added Sugars.
  • Beverages.
4 days ago

What are the 4 most important food groups? ›

There are 4 main food groups to eat from every day to get the nutrients you need for your physical and mental health. These are vegetables and fruit, grain foods, milk and milk products, and protein foods.

What are the 5 food groups and ingredient options for a balanced nutritional meal? ›

School-age children need to eat foods from all five healthy food groups – vegetables, fruit, grain foods, dairy and protein. Healthy foods have nutrients that are important for growth, development and learning. Limit salty, fatty and sugary foods, low-fibre foods, and drinks with caffeine or a lot of sugar.

What are 5 balanced diets? ›

The 5 food groups are:
  • vegetables and legumes (beans)
  • fruit.
  • grains and cereals.
  • lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, legumes (beans), tofu, nuts, seeds.
  • milk, cheese, yoghurt or alternatives.

What are the five basic food groups quizlet? ›

Grains, fruits, vegetables, protein, and dairy are the five major food groups represented on MyPlate.

What are the 6 classes of food and their functions? ›

The six essential nutrients include carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins, minerals and water.
  • Carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are the main energy source for the brain. ...
  • Protein. Protein is the major structural component of cells and is responsible for the building and repair of body tissues. ...
  • Fat. ...
  • Vitamins. ...
  • Minerals. ...
  • Water.

What are the 4 food groups and what are their functions? ›

A balanced diet is made up of foods from the five food groups: starchy carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables, protein, dairy and healthy fats. Each provides the range of vitamins and minerals our bodies need to function efficiently.

What are the 9 food groups? ›

The following nine food groups reflect foods with generally similar nutritional characteristics: (1) cereals, (2) starchy roots, (3) legumes, (4) vegetables and fruits, (5) sugars, preserves, and syrups, (6) meat, fish, and eggs, (7) milk and milk products, (8) fats and oils, and (9) beverages.

What are the 7 elements of nutrition? ›

There are seven main classes of nutrients that the body needs. These are carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, fibre and water. It is important that everyone consumes these seven nutrients on a daily basis to help them build their bodies and maintain their health.

What are the 10 types of food? ›

What are the 10 types of food?
  • Vegetables.
  • Fruits.
  • Grains, legumes, nuts and seeds.
  • Meat and poultry.
  • Fish and seafood.
  • Dairy foods.
  • Eggs.

What is 11 food group system? ›

The foods in each of the 11- groups are given below. Milk, cheese and ice-cream. Meat, poultry and fish. Eggs.
11- food group plan.
S.NoThe 11 - Food GroupNutrients Contributed
9.FruitsAscorbic acid and Cellulose.
10.Fats and oilsEssential fatty acids and Vitamin E
11.Sugar and Jaggery.Carbohydrates.
8 more rows
Feb 3, 2012

What are the 12 groups of food? ›

Table 1 describes the composition of these 12 nutrient-specific food groups: (1) grains; (2) milk and milk products; (3) fruit and fruit products; (4) eggs; (5) meat and poultry; (6) fish= shellfish; (7) vegetables; (8) fats=oils; (9) legumes= nuts=seeds; (10) sugar and sugar products; (11) non-alco- holic beverages; ...

What are the main food categories? ›

The 5 main groups
  • fruit and vegetables.
  • potatoes, bread, rice, pasta and other starchy carbohydrates.
  • beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins.
  • dairy and alternatives.
  • oils and spreads.
Nov 17, 2022

Why do we eat 6 classes? ›

Food provides the nutrients that are digested and absorbed by the body. These nutrients are converted to energy inside the cell and that energy is used up by the cell to perform the different biochemical processes. ​

What were the original 4 food groups? ›

Popularly known as the “Basic Four,” the guide recommended a minimum number of foods from each of four food groups—milk, meat, fruits and vegetables, and grain prod- ucts (Page and Phipard, 1956). This food guide, with its focus on getting enough nutrients, was widely used for the next two decades.

What are the four 4 components of a healthy diet? ›

The four main food groups in a balanced diet are:
  • Fruits and Vegetables.
  • Meats and Proteins.
  • Dairy.
  • Grains.
Jun 16, 2020

What are the 6 essential nutrients in a balanced diet? ›

There are six basic nutrients: carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, and water. All of these are classified as essential. Your body requires essential nutrients to function properly.

What is a balanced diet chart? ›

A balanced diet chart is a representation of a healthy diet chart that comprises of all the required nutrients. It includes all the food groups and ensures that we are getting everything that our body needs through our diet. It is a guideline that gives us the right food choices for optimal health.

What are the 4 types of diets? ›

Different Types of Diets
  • Intermittent Fasting.
  • Mediterranean Diet.
  • The Ketogenic Diet.
  • If It Fits Your Macros.
  • Veganism.
  • Carnivore Diet.
  • Paleo Diet.
  • Dessert with Breakfast Diet.

What is a proper diet chart? ›

Poha (1 cup) + Raita (1/2 cup) Mid-Meal (11:00-11:30AM) Fruit Salad (1 cup) + Tender Coconut Water (1 glass) Lunch (2:00-2:30PM) 1 cup white chana + palak paneer + 1 cup rice + 1 chapatti + salad.

What are the 7 food groups and what are they used for? ›

These are carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, fibre and water. It is important that everyone consumes these seven nutrients on a daily basis to help them build their bodies and maintain their health.

What are the 10 food groups? ›

The ten food groups “counted” in the Minimum Dietary Diversity for Women of Reproductive Age indicator are:
  • Grains, white roots and tubers, and plantains.
  • Pulses (beans, peas and lentils)
  • Nuts and seeds.
  • Dairy.
  • Meat, poultry and fish.
  • Eggs.
  • Dark green leafy vegetables.
  • Other vitamin A-rich fruits and vegetables.
Apr 7, 2016


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