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Nature of Foods: Macronutrients and Micronutrients

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gluten free foods and nutrientsFood is our nourishment.  We appreciate food for its appetizing qualities like taste, appeal and aroma.  “That looks delicious!” Or we search for food when we’re hungry, “What’s in the fridge?”

Beyond appetite and hunger, this section is about understanding food as our source of necessary nutrients, “Is this food good for me?”  Knowing what makes up food and how food functions in our body, gives us confidence to choose food wisely.

Food nutrients fall into two basic categories:

1. Macronutrients

2. Micronutrients

Additionally, in both categories there are foods called “functional” that have beneficial effects on health.  According to the American Dietetics Association, functional foods have physiologically active components from both plant (phytochemicals) and animal (zoochemical) sources, that provide a health benefit beyond the traditional nutrients they contain.


“Macro” means large quantity.  Macronutrients are nutrients we need in large amounts in our diet.  They are the carbohydrates, fats, and proteins in plant and animal structures that we need to obtain energy and the building materials for making our own unique body structures.


These energy packed nutrients provide fuel for the body and bulk for proper elimination. The main categories are sugars, starches, and fiber.  Sugar and starches supply energy to the body in the form of


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