Food groups and their nutritional values

The food groups and what you need to know about…


  • Fats belong to a group of compounds known as Lipids.
  • There are 9kcal per gram

Types of fats:


These are monounsaturated fatty acids, they’re found in a variety of foods and oils. They improve total blood cholesterol levels and may benefit insulin levels and blood sugar control, which can be especially helpful if you have type 2 diabetes.
Foods include Olive oil, fish, nuts and avocado.

Saturated fat

Mainly from animal sources, red meat, poultry and full-fat dairy products. It raises total blood cholesterol levels and low-density lipoprotein, but be wary it could also increase your risk of type 2 diabetes.

Polyunsaturated omega-3

Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in oily and fatty fish, they appear to decrease the risk of coronary artery disease. Plant sources of omega-3 fatty acid but data unclear as to whether these have the same health effects as omega-3 fatty acid from fish

Trans-fatty acids

These are the worst types of fat for you, they occur naturally in some foods in small amounts but most trans fats made from oils through a food processing method which increases LDL cholesterol and increases your risk of cardiovascular disease.
The worst trans fat foods include: breakfast pastries, fried foods, salty snacks, desserts, bread and pasta.


  • Carbohydrates are a source of energy for the body, they’re the primary (if not only) source of energy for the nervous system and brain.
  • There are 4kcal per gram.

GI stands for glycemic index, this measures glucose levels in foods, there are two types-

Low GI

-These foods are slower digesting, and so they’re best to have in the morning.
-Foods include banana, brown rice, porridge, pasta, baked beans, apple, yogurt, and red lentils.
-Eating the above can keep blood sugar levels steady and can help your body metabolise fat more efficiently.

High GI

-These foods are good to have after exercise.
-Foods include sports drinks, baked potato, cornflakes, coco-pops, honey, white bread, and Weetabix.
-Eating the above helps to gain instant energy because the sugar goes quickly into your body – that’s why runners snack on jellybeans.


  • Protein is ingested from animal meat and/or plant soured, they are then broken down into amino acids in your body. All protein in the human body exists in a functional form (muscle, tissue etc.)
  • 4kcal per gram
  • Foods include: Meat (for how to cook red meats click here), poultry, eggs, seafood, nuts, seeds and beans.

Vitamins and minerals

  • Vitamins don’t provide any energy and therefore contain zero calories. They are organic.
  • Plants incorporate minerals from the soil into their own tissues. For this reason, fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts and seeds are often excellent sources of minerals. Green leafy vegetables are the best source of many minerals.
  • Minerals are inorganic substances like sodium, potassium, chlorine, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, iodine, iron, cobalt, copper. Minerals are the most basic form into which organic matter can be broken. Minerals play an important role in the health of your body in terms of healthy bones, teeth, hair, nails, nerve and muscle activity and regulation of body fluids.

All information sourced from Canterbury Christ Church University research.

For more information on health click here, and for the basics of cooking click here.