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Home > Patient & Family Resources > Health Library > 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.
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 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
Current as ofMarch 28, 2018
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal MedicineKathleen Romito, MD - Family MedicineRhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator
Current as of:
March 28, 2018
Medical Review:Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Rhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator
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