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To make food really work for you and to understand why it often works against you, in this streamlined, super-efficient fast food world of ours, you need to be aware of what kinds of foods exist and which groups they belong to, so you can accurately predict the enzymatic action they invoke.

You have learned that there are three major food groups: proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. There is also a special subcategory: legumes.

Legumes are special because they are half protein and half carbohydrate.

It is the proper balance of these three food groups that maintains a healthy, slim, and well-functioning body. All foods contain one or more of these nutrients. Most foods contain all of them, some protein, some carbohydrate, and some fat. Proteins are more prevalent than you might suspect. Even a watermelon, for example, very obviously a carbohydrate, contains 25 percent protein. The classification of foods is determined by breaking them down to their nutrient components and determining the major component.

If a food is at least 51 percent amino acids, it is classified as a protein. If it is at least 51 percent glucose, it is considered a carbohydrate, and if it is at least 51 percent lipids, it qualifies as a fat.

Virtually all experts agree that the largest percentage of your calories should come from carbohydrates. If you work out a calorie breakdown, it should look like this: 50 percent carbohydrates, 30 percent fats, and 20 percent proteins.