What Are Macronutrients?
By definition, macronutrients are “energy providing chemicals” or “substances required in relatively large amounts by living organisms.” (1) The calories we consume from the foods in our our diets are categorized into different macronutrients depending on how they’re metabolized and the purposes they serve once digested.
In the human diet there are three primary macronutrients that are founds in all types of foods: fats, proteins and carbohydrates. (2) We cannot live without all three of these macronutrients even for a short period of time, as they’re needed for everything from growth and development to sustaining circulation and providing the brain with enough energy for cognitive functioning.
Macronutrients vs. Micronutrients
We use measurements of macronutrients in different foods to describe how many calories they provide (think “big” when you hear macro), while we use measurements of micronutrients to describe levels of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, etc., found in a given food (think small, since these are found in trace amounts compared to overall calories).