What are energy foods? See the benefits in the diet

Energy foods are those that, in the process of digestion, quickly become a source of energy for the body’s functions. Basically, it is the carbohydrates : breads, cakes, macaroni, biscuits, and the fats : chestnuts, almonds, nuts and butter.

These foods are part of the food pyramid.

Food groups such as carbohydrates, sweets, meats and eggs are divided into 4 major categories: energy drinks, builders, regulators and extra energy drinks.

Carbohydrates are at the base of the pyramid, that is, as energy items.

The fats food group is at the top of the pyramid. This means that they should be consumed more sparingly.

Fats are also considered to be energy foods, but they are a special type, called extra energy foods.


What are energy foods and what does they do?

Energy foods are foods that have the function of providing energy for the body to maintain its activities. They participate in the supply of energy to the body and are mainly represented by carbohydrates, which participate in energy storage, energy production and cell structure.

They participate in all the body’s functions, from going to the gym to keeping the heart beating.

In general, energy drinks represent (or should represent) the highest percentage of calorie intake.

But the number can vary from case to case, taking into account the individual characteristics of the organism and also the lifestyle.

For example, if a person performs daily physical exercises, consequently he will have a higher energy expenditure than a person who does not practice this type of activity.

Balance is important because if consumption is greater than necessary, all the energy ingested can accumulate in the body, turning into fat.

Read more: Foods rich in carbohydrates: what to eat and what to avoid?

What are extra energy foods?

They are foods that have a lot of calories, such as oils, fats and sugars. Despite being a good energy source, consumption should be moderate, between 2 to 3 servings daily.

This is because excessive intake of these foods can be a risk factor for diseases such as obesity and heart disease.

But balance is essential, as some foods in this group are also essential for the body. The “good fats” called are responsible, for example, the transport of vitamins of the B complex in the body.

Fats are part of the body’s proper functioning and must be balanced in the diet. Among the foods are oils and oils, butters, sugars and lard.

Read more: What is trans fat? Why is excess so harmful to health?

Examples: what are the types of energy foods?

The group of energy foods is represented by products rich in carbohydrates. They are part of the base of the food pyramid. The extra energy drinks (fats and sugars) are at the top – which means they should be consumed less often.

Check the list of examples:


Carbohydrates, such as breads, cakes, cereals and rice, play an important role, as they are part of the food base. About 1g of carbohydrate provides about 4kcal and its absorption is more accelerated.

When carbohydrates are consumed, after the metabolization process, they become an energy source.

For this reason, they must be consumed consciously.

If possible, the ideal is to choose the whole carbohydrates, as they have more fibers, slowing the absorption speed and also improving the functioning of the intestine.

For example:

  • Cereals: rice, corn, oats, pasta, bread, cookies;
  • Tubers and roots: potatoes, manioc;
  • Legumes: beans, lentils, soybeans;
  • Sweets: honey, molasses, sugars.


Fats are also considered to be energetic foods, but just like carbohydrates need to be taken care of when eating. If consumed in excess, they can cause health problems.

In 1g of fat there is 9kcal. And it is present mainly in foods such as butter, avocado, chestnuts, almonds, nuts and the natural fat present in meat and also in the milk of animals.

However, if consumption is moderate, fat can be used well in the body, as it plays an important role in the transport of nutrients through the blood, in the production of sex hormones and also in functions related to the brain.

Another care that is essential to take with these foods is that the absorption of fats tends to take longer, and if consumed in excess, it can cause weight gain.

Among the healthiest options to include in the diet are:

  • Olive oil;
  • Chestnuts, almonds and walnuts;
  • Butter;
  • Avocado;
  • Linseed;
  • Coconut oil.

Read more: What is saturated fat? Know its health effects

Benefits of including natural and healthy energy foods in the diet

Among the various options of energetic foods, the best way for you to consume them healthily, is by choosing natural and rich in nutrients, such as vitamins and fibers, which helps the intestinal system to work better.

Legumes, good fats (like olive oil) and fruits (like avocado) are good options.

Then, whole foods like breads and oats are also good options. They take longer to digest and therefore can be a more prolonged source of energy.

Finally, there are oilseeds, which are high energy density foods and also contain nutrients that help to reduce blood pressure, fight cholesterol and also triglycerides.

Read more: Does cutting carbohydrate lose weight? Understand the effects on the body

In one way or another, energy foods will always be present in our meals. But it is important to be aware of those that have few nutrients and high calorie content.

They will even fulfill their mission, which is to provide energy, but overconsumption of these foods can be a big villain in your diet and health.

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