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Nutrition

Water

Water is the most important nutrient of all and essential for life. Animals can lose almost all their fat and half their protein and still survive, but if they lose 15% of their water, it will mean death.

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Carbohydrates

Simple carbohydrates and starches in foods are used by the body as a source of glucose. As such, they have several major functions.

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Proteins

To make a protein, amino acids are linked together in a long chain. The chain is then bundled into to a three-dimensional structure, like a tangled ball of yarn. Although there are hundreds of different amino acids, only 21 are used in animal proteins.

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Fats

Dietary fats are required.

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Minerals

More than 18 mineral elements are believed to be essential for mammals. By definition, macrominerals are required by the animal in the diet in larger amounts and microminerals or trace elements in much smaller amounts. All the macrominerals, except sulphur, are described in the text.

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Antioxidants

The threat of free radicals Cells are continually under attack from compounds called 'free radicals'. Generated as a 'by-product' of the body's own metabolism or as a result of external factors like pollution, free radicals can kill cells by damaging the membrane, the enzymes and the DNA contained within.

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Vitamins

Vitamins can be divided into two main groups depending on whether they are soluble in fat or water. In addition, there is a group of vitamin-like substances that are similar to vitamins without fitting exactly into the categories.

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