Nutrients have been classified into six different classes. Each nutrient group is essential to the survival of the human body, so it is important that a person is able to obtain each type by eating a variety of foods. Typically each class of nutrient is responsible for multiple functions, and each class can be found in several different types of food sources. These six nutrient classes are divided up again into macronutrients and micronutrients depending on how much of each the body needs.
Macronutrients include carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins. The body requires a large amount of all three of these nutrients in order to properly function. Carbohydrates are sugars that the body needs in order to supply energy throughout itself. Lipids are another source of energy that enters the body in the form of fats. This is a more long-term energy storage nutrient that is used when the body does not have enough carbohydrates. Proteins help the body by producing amino acids, which help the body’s cells. Another nutrient that the body needs more than any other is water. Our bodies are composed of a high water concentration, so we need to constantly replenish the supply and stay hydrated.
Micronutrients include vitamins and minerals. The human body does not need as much of these nutrients compared to the other described above. Vitamins come in a variety of forms that are all needed by the body for all sorts of activities, from metabolic things to fighting diseases. If a person does not get enough of his or her essential vitamins, it can lead to a person being very unhealthy and potentially lead to diseases. Minerals are also needed by the body in order to properly function. These help the body with all sorts of things, such as helping to strengthen bones and prevent osteoporosis.
A person needs to have a proper diet that includes all six of these classes of nutrients. A shortage in any one of the groups can lead to a decline in health or other serious problems. Eating a variety of different foods and possibly taking some sort of multivitamin can be beneficial and help you ingest all of the nutrients you need.
Benitz, Bill. Lecture: Human Biology. December 4, 2009