Major Nutrients in Food
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
|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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