What Are Macronutrients and Micronutrients?

What are macronutrients and micronutrients? Why do you need them? And how much do you need? We cover all that (and more) in this article.

What Are Macronutrients and Micronutrients?

You’ve probably heard the saying, “Not all foods are created equal.” 

It seems logical enough: fresh apples are different from cinnamon rolls. Obviously.

But give it more thought, and you might struggle to explain exactly how they differ. 

And no, it’s not just about the taste (soft, fluffy, gooey cinnamon rolls vs … apples, can’t say it’s a fair fight 🤷‍♀️). 

Or the calories.

200 calories’ worth of fresh apples still isn’t equivalent to 200 calories’ worth of cinnamon rolls. 

So, why? Well, as the title of this article suggests, it comes down to 2 things: macronutrients and micronutrients.

What are macronutrients and micronutrients?

Unlike plants that can photosynthesize, your body cannot make the nutrients — i.e., substances that promote optimal functioning and health — it needs by itself. 

This means you must get them through the foods you eat. 

There are 2 broad categories of nutrients, macronutrients and micronutrients:

  1. Macronutrients: Carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Your body converts these into energy, so you need them in large amounts (hence, the “macro” prefix).
  2. Micronutrients: Various vitamins and minerals. As the name suggests, your body needs smaller amounts of these to support bodily functions.  

Why are micronutrients essential?

Macronutrients = energy. So, it isn’t hard to see why you need them. 

But what about micronutrients?