Difference Between Macronutrients and Micronutrients

Main Difference

A nutrient is defined as a substance that provides nourishment essential for the maintenance of life for growth. Being a human we perform various functions, our well-structured system requires the nutrients (foods) in the right proportion so we can carry on with all this. Based on their requirement and need in the body, these nutrients are divided into two types, Macronutrients and Micronutrients. As both the word clearly hints about their demand in the human body, macro refers to something large or big therefore macronutrients are the nutrients required in the large quantity, on the other hand micro refers to something small, accordingly micronutrients are the nutrients required in smaller quantity. Generally three main macronutrients are required by humans in abundance on daily basis are carbohydrates (sugar), lipids (fats), and proteins, on the other hand, Vitamins and minerals are the two major types of micronutrients.

What are Macronutrients?

Macronutrients are the type of nutrients (food) required in large amounts in the diet on daily basis throughout the life.Generally three main macronutrients are required by humans in abundance on daily basis are carbohydrates (sugar), lipids (fats), and proteins. Macronutrients are energy-giving foods that provide energy in the form of calories.

Here is the recommended intake of the above mentioned major macronutrients:

  • USDA recommends that 45-65% of the total daily caloric intake should be of carbohydrates.
  • USDA recommends 10% – 35% of the total calories in the human diet should be taken from the Proteins
  • USDA recommends 20% – 35% of the total calories should come from Lipids.

Here are the major sources of the above mentioned macro nutrients:

  • Carbohydrates are mainly present in starchy foods, like grain and potatoes, as well as fruits, milk, and yogurt.
  • All meats such as poultry, fish, are the major sources of proteins. Cheese, milk, nuts, legumes are the other prominent sources of proteins.
  • Foods like meat, nuts, milk products like butters and margarines and oils like coconut oil are rich sources of lipids.

What is Micronutrients?

Micronutrient is the chemical element or substance required in trace amounts for the normal growth and synthesis of different functions occurring in human body. Intake of micronoutrients is quite low of as compare to the macronutrients but that doesn’t means they are not that important. Their deficiencies can even caught human in different diseases like rickets (lack of vitamin D), scurvy (lack of vitamin C), and osteoporosis (lack of calcium). Micro-nutrients plays an essential role in preventing various diseases.

Here are the important micronutrients present in the daily life foods:

  • Calcium – milk, yogurt, spinach, and sardines
  • Vitamin B12 – beef, fish, cheese, and eggs
  • Zinc – beef, cashews, garbanzo beans, and turkey
  • Potassium – bananas, spinach, potatoes, and apricots
  • Vitamin C – oranges, peppers, broccoli, and bananas

Macronutrients vs. Micronutrients

Macro refers to something large or big therefore macronutrients are the nutrients required in the large quantity, on the other hand micro refers to something small, accordingly micronutrients are the nutrients required in smaller quantity.

Main macronutrients required by humans in abundance on daily basis are carbohydrates (sugar), lipids (fats), and proteins, on the other hand, Vitamins and minerals are the two major types of micronutrients.

Deficiencies of micronutrients can even caught human in different diseases like rickets (lack of vitamin D), scurvy (lack of vitamin C), and osteoporosis (lack of calcium), on the othe hand Protein-Energy Malnutrition (PEM) is a common disease due to macronutrient deficiency that occurs when children consume insufficient amounts of protein and energy (carbohydrates and fat).

Aimie Carlson

Aimie Carlson is an English language enthusiast who loves writing and has a master degree in English literature. Follow her on Twitter at @AimieCarlson

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