List of macronutrients

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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 energy

There are three principal classes of macronutrients: carbohydrate, protein, and fat.[1] 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).[2]

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 for ethanol as an essential nutrient.



Essential and non-essential amino acids


Saturated (i.e., stable)[3] fatty acids

Monounsaturated (i.e., semi-stable) fatty acids

Polyunsaturated (i.e., unstable) fatty acids

Essential fatty acids


Macronutrients that do not provide energy


Water is essential for life. It provides the medium in which all metabolic processes proceed. It is necessary for the absorption of macronutrients and micronutrients, but it provides no nutritional energy.


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.[5] Soluble fiber can be metabolized by bacteria residing in the large intestine.[6][7][8] Soluble fiber is marketed as serving a prebiotic function with claims for promoting "healthy" intestinal bacteria.[9] 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.[6][7][8]

See also


  1. Prentice, Andrew M (October 2005). "Macronutrients as sources of food energy". Public Health Nutrition. 8 (7a): 932–939. doi:10.1079/PHN2005779. PMID 16277812.
  2. "Chapter 3: Calculation Of The Energy Content Of Foods – Energy Conversion Factors". Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Archived from the original on 24 May 2010. Retrieved 30 March 2017.
  3. "Nutrition in Preventative Medicine". Health Science Center, University of Texas. Archived from the original on 18 November 2021. Retrieved 29 December 2021.
  4. "Composition of Foods Raw, Processed, Prepared USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 26 Documentation and User Guide" (PDF). USDA. August 2013. p. 14. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2014-09-25. Retrieved 2022-08-08.
  5. "High-Fiber Diet - Colon & Rectal Surgery Associates". Archived from the original on 2020-09-26. Retrieved 2020-08-16.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Vital M, Howe AC, Tiedje JM (April 2014). "Revealing the bacterial butyrate synthesis pathways by analyzing (meta)genomic data". mBio. 5 (2): e00889. doi:10.1128/mBio.00889-14. PMC 3994512. PMID 24757212.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Lupton JR (February 2004). "Microbial degradation products influence colon cancer risk: the butyrate controversy". The Journal of Nutrition. 134 (2): 479–82. doi:10.1093/jn/134.2.479. PMID 14747692.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Cummings JH, Macfarlane GT, Englyst HN (February 2001). "Prebiotic digestion and fermentation". The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 73 (2 Suppl): 415S–420S. doi:10.1093/ajcn/73.2.415s. PMID 11157351.
  9. Brownawell AM, Caers W, Gibson GR, Kendall CW, Lewis KD, Ringel Y, Slavin JL (May 2012). "Prebiotics and the health benefits of fiber: current regulatory status, future research, and goals". The Journal of Nutrition. 142 (5): 962–74. doi:10.3945/jn.112.158147. PMID 22457389.