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Nutrient Classifications

How many types of nutrients are there?

There are more than 40 different kinds of nutrients in food and they can generally be classified into the following 7 major groups:
  • Carbohydrates
  • Proteins
  • Fats
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Dietary fibre
  • Water

Why are they essential to our body?

Each of the 7 major groups of nutrients performs different and unique functions in our body, which are all essential in a balanced diet because they work together and contribute to our good health. The main functions of these nutrients can be summarized below:


Carbohydrates are a major source of energy of our body, and they come mainly from grains, such as rice and noodles. Besides, other foods such as fruit, root vegetables, dry beans and dairy products also contain carbohydrates.


Meat, fish, seafood, eggs, dairy products, dry beans and bean products are good sources of protein. Its major functions include building, repairing and maintaining healthy body tissues.


Fats can be found in foods such as meat, dairy products, nuts, seeds and edible oils. Fats serve as a kind of energy source. They prevent heat loss in extreme cold weather and protect organs against shock. They are responsible for making up part of our body cells and transporting fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin A, D, E and K.


There are many kinds of vitamins from various food groups and they participate in different body metabolism such as maintaining healthy skin and hair, building bones and releasing and utilizing energy from foods. Vitamins can be classified into water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins.


Minerals are a group of essential nutrients which regulate many body functions such as fluid balance, muscle contraction and transmission of nerve impulses. Some minerals are structural component of the body, such as calcium in bones and teeth.

Dietary fibre

Dietary fibre is the indigestible part found in plant. It helps stablise blood sugar, promote gastrointestinal health and prevent constipation. Dietary fibre can be classified into soluble and insoluble fibre.


Water is the most abundant substance in human body and is also an essential nutrient to maintain our health. The major functions of water include regulation of body temperature, production of body fluids, transportation of nutrients and removal of waste products.

Each nutrient performs different functions in our body, they all work together and contribute to our good health by having a balanced diet.