How Food Works

The Basics of Food

Think about some of the things you have eaten today -- maybe cereal, bread, milk, juice, ham, cheese, an apple, potatoes... All of these foods (and pretty much any other food that you can think of) contain seven basic components:

  • Carbohydrates (simple and complex)
  • Proteins
  • Fats
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Fiber
  • Water

Your body's goal is to digest food and use it to keep your body alive. In the following sections, we will look at each of these basic components to understand what they really do and why they are so important to your body.


(Note that there might be a few non-food things mixed in with what you eat, especially if you are eating lots of processed foods. Things like artificial colors and chemical preservatives are the most common. Those are additives, not part of the natural foods.)