Macro Nutrients/Micronutrients: What in the World is the Difference? 

With all the rave about calculating proper nutrients these days, it’s likely you’ve heard the words macro and micro nutrients. If you heard this in conversation with a friend or follow my on Instagram or Facebook even, you may be wondering what in the world we’re talking about. I’m here to fill you with knowledge nuggets that will get you back in the conversation!

Macronutrients – Macronutrients are classified as your protein, carbs and fat grams. These are the nutrients we need to get up and through our day and our workouts. They are also the nutrients that most people will adjust and adhere to based on their fitness goals. For example, if you’ve ever heard of the Zone diet, those macros are 40% carbs, 40% protein, 30% fat. This means that 40% of the calories you eat should be carbs, 40% of the calories should be protein and 30% of the calories should be fat. Ever heard someone on the Keto diet say they must stay under 20 grams of carbs? That’s them calculating their macronutrients. 

The calorie count of each macronutrient is as follows: 

  • Carbs contain approximately 4 calories per gram
  • Fats contain approximately 9 calories per gram
  • Proteins contain approximately 4 calories per gram

The differences between the macros are: 

  • Carbs are mostly made from some type of sugar
  • Fats are made from animals and plants
  • Protein – the God of all macros, are made up of amino acids and are derived from animals and plants as well

Micronutrients – Micronutrients are sometimes a little tougher to track. They are the nutrients that exist within the macronutrients. These nutrients are what keeps us healthy and keeps our bodies running efficiently. Basically, they are the vitamins, antioxidants and minerals that are in all our food sources. Micronutrients also help sustain energy levels and help us better digest the food we are eating. For example, if you mostly eat processed foods or sell yourself short on fruits and veggies, you may notice that you’re having digestive issues. This is because you’re still eating carbs, protein and fat; however, you’re not getting the micronutrients you need to keep your system healthy. 

Below are a few examples of micronutrients and in what food sources you can find them:

Vitamins Minerals
  • RETINOIDS  – found in eggs, shrimp, fish, fortified milk, butter, cheddar cheese
  • CAROTENE  – found in sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, turnip greens
  • THIAMIN – found in pork chops, brown rice, ham, soymilk, watermelons
  • NIACIN – found in meat, poultry, fish, fortified and whole grains, mushrooms, potatoes, peanut butter
  • BIOTIN – found in whole grains, organ meats, egg yolks, soybeans, fish
  • FOLIC ACID – found in fortified grains and cereals, asparagus, okra, spinach, turnip greens, broccoli, legumes like black-eyed peas and chickpeas, orange juice, tomato juice
  • CALCIUM – found in yogurt, cheese, milk, tofu, sardines, salmon, fortified juices, leafy green vegetables, 
  • CHLORIDE  – found in processed foods
  • CHROMIUM – found in meat, poultry, fish, eggs, potatoes, some cereals, nuts, cheese
  • FLUORIDE – found in some water, toothpaste with fluoride, marine fish, teas
  • IRON – found in red meat, poultry, eggs, fruits, green vegetables, fortified bread, and grain products
  • POTASSIUM – found in meat, milk, fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes

So, what does all this mean? For the most part, if you follow a macronutrient plan and you are hitting your fiber goals, you are most likely already hitting your desired micronutrient goals.

If you don’t, then you may want to consider keeping track for a few weeks of both your macro and micronutrients to ensure proper nutrition and optimal weight loss results in an app tracker.

If you desire more education to keep you at the top of your fitness game, I would love to help you! Simply click here and lets get started on customizing your macros today!