What are the nutrients in the food we eat Select a lesson
Fats, proteins, carbohydrates, water, minerals and vitamins

food nutrients for children
Learn about food and nutrition for kidssources and uses of carbohydratessources and uses of vitamins in foodssources and uses of proteins in foodSources of fats in foodsources of minerals in foodswater as a food nutrient


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what is good food made up of



Carbohydrates in food


Carbohydrates essentially give the body cells the energy they need everyday. There are three categories of carbohydrates. The illustration below shows the three categories.

Monosaccharide, Disaccharide and Polysaccharide
What is a monosaccharideMonosaccharides
Carbohydrates in this group are in simple form, and include single sugars that are easily absorbed into the blood stream. 'Saccharide' simply means sugar. They come from foods like honey, fruit juices and some vegetables and are a source of quick, instant energy.

what are disaccharidesDisaccharides
Carbohydrates in this group are naturally occurring sugars. They are chemically composed of two sugars linked together and need certain enzymes to break them up to release the sugars. Maltose, sucrose and lactose are in this group and in foods such as milk or table sugar.

what are PolysaccharidesPolysaccharides
These are more complex carbohydrates. They are made up of many simple sugars linked together. Starch and cellulose are examples of polysaccharides found in carbohydrates. They are found in grains such as rice and wheat, corn, and tubers such as potatoes, yams, cassava, starchy vegetables and legumes. The starches in these foods do not easily dissolve in water. They are released and easier to be absorbed when they are cooked. These foods also need to go though digestion to release the energy molecules in them.

Some types of polysaccharides are not easily broken down during digestion. They are very helpful too, by providing the digestive system with roughage. Lettuce, whole grains and bran are high in roughage, high in fibre, and are great in helping with food digestion.

It is important to choose healthy sources of carbohydrates than unhealthy sources. For example, whole grains, quinoa, beans and unprocessed sources are better, as they are slow to digest and may reduce a person’s chances of weight gain, diabetes and heart diseases.


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