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    Major Nutrients in Food

    Major Nutrients in Food

    Topic Overview

    The major nutrients?protein, carbohydrate, and fat?provide the body with energy. This energy keeps your heart beating, your brain active, and your muscles working. The energy is measured in calories.

    Nutrients in foods
    Nutrient Function Some sources
    Protein has 4 calories per gram Provides energy; builds and repairs body cells; part of various enzymes, hormones, and antibodies Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, beans, milk and milk products, grains, seeds and nuts
    Carbohydrate has 4 calories per gram Provides energy needed by the brain, nervous system, and red blood cells Breads, cereal grains, pasta, rice, fruit, starchy vegetables, milk, sugar
    Fat has 9 calories per gram Provides energy; carries other fat-soluble nutrients (vitamins); part of cell membranes, membranes around nerves, hormones, bile (for fat digestion)

    Meat and poultry, some fish, milk and milk products that are not fat-free, nuts and seeds, oils, butter, margarine, salad dressing, some candy, some desserts

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    Credits

    By Healthwise Staff
    Primary Medical Reviewer Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
    Specialist Medical Reviewer Rhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator
    Last Revised October 21, 2011

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