List of macronutrients
This list is a categorization of the most common food components based on their macronutrients. Macronutrients can refer to the chemical substances that humans consume in the largest quantities (See Nutrient)
Macronutrients that provide energyEdit
There are three principal classes of macronutrients: carbohydrate, protein, and fat. Macronutrients are defined as a class of chemical compounds which humans consume in relatively large quantities compared to vitamins and minerals, and which provide humans with energy. Fat has a food energy content of 38 kilojoules per gram (9 kilocalories per gram) and proteins and carbohydrates 17 kJ/g (4 kcal/g).
Water makes up a large proportion of the total mass ingested as part of a normal diet, but it does not provide any nutritional value. Ethanol provides calories, but there is no requirement as an essential nutrient.
- Amylose (a major component of starch)
Essential and non-essential amino acids
- Butyric acid (C4)
- Caproic acid (C6)
- Caprylic acid (C8)
- Capric acid (C10)
- Lauric acid (C12)
- Myristic acid (C14)
- Pentadecanoic acid (C15)
- Palmitic acid (C16)
- Margaric acid (C17)
- Stearic acid (C18)
- Arachidic acid (C20)
- Behenic acid (C22)
- Lignoceric acid (C24)
- Cerotic acid (C26)
- Linoleic acid (LA) - an essential fatty acid
- α-Linolenic acid (ALA) - an essential fatty acid
- Stearidonic acid (SDA)
- Arachidonic acid (ETA)
- Timnodonic acid (EPA)
- Clupanodonic acid (DPA)
- Cervonic acid (DHA)
These two essential fatty acids are the starting point for other important omega-acids (e.g. DHA, EPA)
Macronutrients that do not provide energyEdit
Water is the most important substance for life on Earth. It provides the medium in which all metabolic processes proceed. As such it is necessary for the absorption of macronutrients, but it provides no nutritional value in and of itself. Water often contains naturally occurring micronutrients such as calcium and salts, and others can be introduced to the water supply such as chlorine and fluoride for various purposes such as sanitation or dental health.
Dietary fiber from fruits, vegetables and grain foods. Insoluble dietary fiber is not absorbed in the human digestive tract, but is important in maintaining the bulk of a bowel movement to avoid constipation. Soluble fiber can be metabolized by bacteria residing in the large intestine. Soluble fiber is marketed as serving a prebiotic function with claims for promoting "healthy" intestinal bacteria. Bacterial metabolism of soluble fiber also produces short-chain fatty acids like butyric acid, which may be absorbed into intestinal cells as a source of food energy.
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