Classes Of Food, Their Nutritional Functions & Examples

Food is a vital part of our human existence. Without food, our bodies cannot be nourished and energized enough for our daily activities. Also, there wouldn’t be any mental or physical development without food. In this article, we will be discussing the six food classes and their distinct nutritional functions. We will also consider a few examples or sources of these classes of food. But first, let us dissect what food is.

What is Food?

Any substance that gives a living thing energy or nutritional support is food. Food is often made from plants or animals and provides vital elements, including carbs, lipids, proteins, and vitamins and minerals. Man has been sustained by food since the beginning of time. Food has been around since the dawn of time. All plants and animals need nutrients to survive and grow. An organism consumes the substance, which is then absorbed by the organism’s cells to supply energy, support life, or promote growth.

The 6 Classes Of Food

  1. Carbohydrates
  2. Proteins
  3. Fats and oil
  4. Mineral salts
  5. Vitamins
  6. Water


The most crucial nutrient for athletes is carbohydrates. They make you feel full after eating and supply energy for physical exercise. Simple, complex, sugar, starch, fiber, and sugar alcohols are the six different forms of carbohydrates. Sugar and glucose are examples of simple carbohydrates. A form of carbohydrate that lacks sugar is known as sugar alcohol. They contain compounds like xylitol and maltitol. Two different sorts of molecules, amylose and amylopectin make up the form of carbohydrate known as starch. While fiber is not an energy-giving carbohydrate, it might help you feel fuller for longer after eating it.

Examples/Sources of Carbohydrates

The healthiest sources of carbohydrates are unprocessed or minimally processed whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and legumes since they are high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. Conversely, unhealthy sources of carbohydrates include white bread, pastries, sodas, and other highly processed or refined foods. These foods include a lot of simple carbs that are easy to digest and can increase weight, prevent weight loss, and worsen diabetes and heart disease.


The building blocks of all life are proteins. They are necessary for development and upkeep and affect everything from muscle contraction to cellular function. The six primary categories are animal, plant, dairy, soy, grain, and legume proteins. Each has unique qualities and advantages of its own. Because animal proteins are frequently heavy in cholesterol and saturated fat, it’s crucial to include other nutritious foods in your diet to balance them.

Examples/Sources of Proteins

Seeds, nuts, and legumes are sources of plant proteins. These proteins are an excellent choice for weight loss diets or for people aiming to maintain a healthy BMI because they are high in fiber and low in calories. In addition, all the amino acids required for human nutrition are also in plant proteins. Milk, cheese, yogurt, and eggs are examples of dairy proteins. These proteins are rich in protein and calcium, which can aid in developing healthy bones and muscles. In addition, a good source of vitamin D and vitamin B12 is dairy products.

Fats and Oil

Foods that include fats can be derived from either plant or animal sources. They assist the body in absorbing other nutrients and serve as a source of energy. Saturated, unsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats are the different types of fats. Because they can raise the risk for heart disease and other chronic ailments, saturated fats are the most detrimental to the body. However, because they don’t increase blood cholesterol levels as much as saturated fats, polyunsaturated fats can benefit the heart.

Examples/Sources of Fats and Oil

Saturated fats can be found in beef, lamb, pork, dairy products like butter and cream, coconut and palm oil, and cheeses. Unsaturated fat needs to take the place of saturated fat. Increase your consumption of fish, avocados, nuts, seeds, and plant-based oils and spreads like soy spread and flaxseed oil.


Natural substances known as minerals are present in the soil. They are either absorbed by plants, which we then eat, or they are eaten by animals, which we often eat. As a result, minerals are available from both vegetable and animal sources. Minerals provide a variety of functions, from structural to regulatory, including sodium and potassium in fluid balance and muscular contractions, calcium in bones and teeth, and other minerals like potassium and sodium. In addition, minerals do not degrade as quickly as vitamins because they are “elemental” substances that cannot be easily destroyed by heat, light, or air.

Examples/Sources of Minerals

Meat, cereals, seafood, milk and dairy products, fruit and vegetables, nuts, and many other foods contain minerals, including calcium and iron, among many others.


Vitamins are essential for preventing illness and staying healthy. These micronutrients are necessary for the body to improve its capabilities. The body needs 13 essential vitamins to function correctly, including vitamins A, C, B6, and D. Vitamins are necessary for healthy bones, skin, and vision. Vitamins are powerful cancer prevention agents that reduce the risk of lung and prostate cancer. In addition, vitamins C supports the immune system and helps the body heal. Vitamins are unique natural compounds present in our food that support practically every physiological framework, including the immune system, the brain, and other frameworks.

Examples/Sources of Vitamins

To increase your intake of vitamins, eat as many fresh and unprocessed foods as possible. Instead of buying produce that had to travel halfway around the world, choose local produce that was grown close to you. Vegetables should be cooked as lightly as possible while retaining their crispness. Avoid using slow cookers and lengthy cooking processes. Instead, vegetables should be steamed, pressure-cooked, or microwaved to preserve vitamins.


One of the most important macronutrients is water, along with fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. We can go without food for up to 8 weeks but only a few days without water. Losing 12 percent of one’s body weight due to water loss is frequently fatal. Our bodies contain roughly 65 percent water, which aids in absorption, digestion, excretion, and nutrient circulation. Additionally, water is essential for regulating and distributing our body temperature. Water also lubricates the moving joints and eyes of our bodies. It also helps flush out impurities, hydrate the body, feed vitamins to cells, and prevent blockage. You can grow exhausted from insufficient water, making focus and task execution more challenging.

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