Nutrients are the chemical substances present in the food that are capable of performing certain vital functions in the body. Nutrients can be broadly classified as macro and micro nutrients, based on the quantity of consumption. The macronutrients are those that are consumed in larger quantities and are required in huge amounts by the body, whereas, the micronutrients are those that are consumed in small quantity and are only required very little by the body. Carbohydrates, proteins and fats are known as the macronutrients. The vitamins and minerals constitute the micronutrients. The role of macronutrients is briefly discussed here:


Carbohydrates are the nutrients that provide heat and energy. It is the ingredient that helps in making the food tasty. When taken in adequate quantities, it is used for building up of the muscles. Excessive consumption of carbohydrates results in the conversion of excess glucose to storage fat. Hence in conditions of inadequate fat intake, the carbohydrates perform the duty of fats.

The foods that are rich in carbohydrates are sugar, jaggery, potato, cereals, rajmah, wheat, rice and some dry fruits. The inadequate intake of carbohydrates results in the deficiency diseases such as kwashiorkor and marasmus.


Proteins are the major constituent of each and every cell that our body is composed of. Proteins are very important in the process of tissue building and repair. Proteins are also considered a source of energy. It also gives resistance against diseases and produces enzyme, hormones and antibodies.

The rich food sources of protein are meat, pulses, milk, fish and egg. The deficiency of proteins leads to kwashiorkor and marasmus.


Fats are required to maintain the body temperature. It provides energy to the muscles and to the body, and also to make the fat soluble nutrients available to the body. Though fats are considered as an important nutrient, if consumed in larger amounts itself results in many of the health disorders.

Foods rich in fats are ghee, butter, oil, cod liver oil, peanuts, coconut, cashew nut, almond, and soybean. Deficiency of fats in the foods consumed leads to dryness and roughness of skin and reduction of weight.

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