Module 4: The Principal Bulk Nutrients & Associated Foods

Up to this point in your course, you have been learning about some of the traditional concepts of health and disease, underpinned by scientific understanding, and the important cornerstone that nutrition plays in supporting optimal health. For the next three modules, we will now explore the content of food, including the macro- (or bulk) and micro-nutrients, and their role in supporting health. It’s time to get practical!

If we visit a supermarket and look at the main categories of food on display; meats, dairy products, vegetables, fruits, bakery goods, cereals etc., we can be sure that each of these principal groups is mainly composed of the following five components in various proportions: water, carbohydrate, fat, protein and fibre. These are termed the bulk (or macro) nutrients.

The proportions of the different bulk nutrients varies widely, such as lettuce, which may have a water content of over 90% and a substantial fibre content in the remainder; dried goods, like dried peas with almost no water content; butter, which is almost all fat; or granulated sugar, which is almost all carbohydrate.

For the purposes of this module we will view water in food as a diluent of other nutrients. So if a food has a high water content, the content of all other nutrients in that food is reduced simply by the diluting effect of the water.