How does food give me energy?


Food is important for keeping us alive. Our bodies need nutrients from the foods we eat to keep our bodies working and healthy. And some of those nutrients give our bodies energy to keep working. Those nutrients are called ‘carbohydrates’. But what are they and how do they give us the energy we need?

Carbohydrates are a group of nutrients that are found in some of the foods we eat. They are made up of three chemical elements: carbon (C), hydrogen (H) and oxygen (O).

There are three kinds of carbohydrates foods – sugars, starches and fibres:

  • Sugars make foods taste sweet. They are found in foods like fruits and milk.
  • Starches make you feel full-up. They are found in root vegetables and cereals.
  • Fibres help you to make poo. They move undigested food through your body.

When we eat foods that have carbohydrates in them, our bodies digest, or break down, those carbohydrates so they can be absorbed by our blood.

One of the most important sugars that comes from carbohydrates is glucose. Our bodies need glucose it helps to keep us alive.

Glucose is used in a special chemical reaction called ‘respiration‘. When the cells in our bodies respire, they take glucose from the food we have eaten and oxygen from the air we have breathed in and use it to make energy.

You can find out more about how carbohydrates work here and which foods are good sources of carbohydrates here.



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