What is the Importance of the 3 Basic Food Groups?

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The three basic groups of foods are carbohydrates, proteins and fats. These are also called macronutrients or "go, grow and glow" foods. Each of these three types of food serves an important function in promoting or supporting overall health.

Carbohydrates, proteins and fats are three basic food groups.
Carbohydrates, proteins and fats are three basic food groups.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are direct energy foods ("go" foods). Grain-based foods like bread and pasta are a common source of carbohydrates, as are fruits and starchy vegetables like potatoes and dried beans. The body converts these foods directly into sugar for fueling its many functions.

Pasta is a common form of carbohydrate.
Pasta is a common form of carbohydrate.

Proteins

Protein is building food ("grow" food) that the body uses to maintain muscles and tissues. Some proteins are complete -- they have all of the amino acids your body needs. Other proteins are incomplete and must be combined to create complete proteins. Therefore, it is important to eat food from a variety of protein sources.

Protein maintains muscle.
Protein maintains muscle.

Fats

Fats are the third macronutrient, and make up part of the "glow foods." Glow foods also include fruits and vegetables. Fats are crucial to good health, but it is important to choose good fats -- monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats -- rather than bad fats -- saturated or trans-fats.

Salmon is a good source of healthy fat.
Salmon is a good source of healthy fat.

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