All nutrients at a glance

Nutrients include carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals. The nutrition table shows how much of each nutrient a food contains.

05.03.2021 Lara Brunner

Nutrients are an essential part of food. The main nutrients are carbohydrates, proteins and fats and they provide our bodies with energy. Vitamins and minerals play an essential role in the human metabolism.

All nutrients at a glance

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for our bodies. They are made up of sugar molecules, which are broken down by the small intestine. Carbohydrates should account for around 45 to 55 per cent of our daily calorie intake.

Key facts about carbohydrates

Fats

Fatty acids can be divided into three main groups: saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Omega-3 and omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids are essential as the body cannot produce them on its own. That means we have to obtain them from the food we eat. Fats should account for around 20 to 35 per cent of our daily calorie intake.

Key facts about fats

Proteins

Proteins come in several different configurations. They are nitrogen-containing organic compounds made up of chains of amino acids that vary in length. Your body needs protein to build and maintain muscle, among other things. Protein should account for around 20 to 25 per cent of our daily calorie intake.

Key facts about proteins

Vitamins

Vitamins are essential for a properly functioning metabolism. The body is unable to produce most vitamins by itself, so it needs to absorb them through food. We need 13 vitamins in particular.

Key facts about vitamins

Minerals

Minerals can be divided into macro- and trace elements. The human body is not capable of producing minerals by itself. They are essential for maintaining vital functions, however, and thus need to be absorbed via our food.

Key facts about minerals

Is water a nutrient?

Technically speaking, water isn’t a nutrient. However, it is essential for a properly functioning metabolism. It dissolves and transports minerals, enzymes and hormones. It provides tissues and the skin with moisture and regulates body temperature. The body needs water in order to eliminate broken-down substances. Furthermore, it regulates cellular metabolism and supports many biochemical reactions.

Tap water contains varying amount of minerals, depending on the location. General speaking, mineral water contains 500 to 2,000 mg of minerals. It is bottled in its natural state at the source. If mineral salts are added, it has to be labelled as artificial mineral water.

What does the nutrition table say?

The nutrition table provided on the packaging of all food products gives the calories per portion and the nutrients such as carbohydrates (sugar) fat, salt, protein, etc. The nutrition table also shows the calories as a percentage of the daily requirement. This is just a guideline, because caloric requirements are very individual. They not only depend on physical activity, but also on biological factors such as gender, age, size, and genetics.

Do you have questions about your diet?

Our health consultation advisors will show you how to achieve a balanced and nutritious diet.

Topics

Nutrients

Read more

Carbohydrates – an energy source for the body
Carbohydrates provide us with energy. Learn more about the different types and how much carbohydrate the body needs.
March 1, 2021

What is fat?
The body obtains energy from both saturated and unsaturated fatty acids. However, we should be eating more of the unsaturated kinds. Why?
March 1, 2021

Protein: what you need to know
Your body needs protein to build and maintain muscle. How much should we be consuming every day? Let’s find out.
March 1, 2021

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