The Food Groups

Balanced Diet

Remember - a balanced diet means a lot more than just 'no fats and sweets.'

In fact, some fat HAS to be in your diet in order for you to actually survive! And you will get most of your energy from carbohydrates which include both starchy and sugary foods.

A balanced diet contains a mix of the main food groups in the correct amounts to maintain health. It should not exclude any food group, nor should it be made up of one at the expense of the other

Food Groups

You should be aware of these food groups and what they're used for: 

  • 1. Carbohydrates - split into sweet and starchy - energy
  • 2. Protein - growth and repair
  • 3. Fat - energy and storage of energy
  • 4. Vitamins - needed in small amounts for chemical reactions
  • 5. Minerals - needed in small amounts for chemical reactions
  • 6. Fibre - a.k.a. roughage - exercises the bowel and prevents constipation
  • 7. Water - sometimes included 

You also need to know at least one example of a food that's rich in each nutrient.

  • 1. Sweet carbohydrates - fruit, sugary foods; Starchy carbohydrates - potatoes, pasta, etc.
  • 2. Protein - meat, fish, eggs
  • 3. Fat - butter, chocolate
  • 4. Vitamins - fruit, e.g. vitamin C in orange juice
  • 5. Minerals - e.g. iron in spinach
  • 6. Fibre - wholegrain foods e.g. brown rice

The vitamins you eat are all important to your health. These are the vitamins you need to know the functions of:

A: healthy eyesight, keeps mucous membranes free from infection

B: release of energy from carbohydrate foods, nerve functions

D: healthy teeth and bones, absorption of calcium and phosphorus

K: aids the clotting of blood

C: maintenance of the immune system, absorption of iron, maintenance of skin and linings of the digestive system

Similarly, you need to know the functions of these minerals:

Iron: helps the body to manufacture haemoglobin, which is responsible for transporting oxygen around the body

Calcium: for healthy teeth and bones

Phosphorus: aids release of energy from food

Zinc: for enzyme action and wound healing

If we don't get enough vitamins and minerals, we can suffer from deficiency diseases:

A: inability to adjust to dim light, dry skin and mucous membrane

B: anaemia, mouth sores, nerve cell degeneration

C: bleeding gums, poor healing of cuts and wounds, weakening of blood vessels

D: weak teeth and bones, which may deform through excess body weight


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