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Difference between Macronutrients and Micronutrients

Nutrients are chemicals substances that are required by living organism for their growth and body functions. Without nutrients, plants and animals cannot complete their life cycle. Nutrients can be divided into two categories: macronutrients and micronutrients. Let us see how macronutrients differ from micronutrients!

Macronutrients:

Macronutrients are the chemical substances which are required in large quantities by the humans and other living organisms for their growth and other body functions. Most of the energy required for the metabolic system of a living organism is provided by the macronutrients. Macronutrients are measured in grams; some of the major macronutrients include carbohydrates, fat and proteins. They perform different functions such as:

  • Carbohydrates: They are an important source of fuel for our body.
  • Proteins: They provide enzymes, hormones and antibodies and help maintain an acid-base balance.
  • Fat: Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats help maintain healthy brain and heart functions and enable the body to absorb nutrients.

Micronutrients:

Micronutrients are the nutrients which are required in small amounts by the humans and other living organisms for their growth and other body functions or metabolic processes. They help maintain the overall health of human beings and help our body function properly, i.e. they are responsible for healthy growth and development.

Micronutrients are measured in milligrams and micrograms. They include a variety of vitamins and minerals each of which has a specific purpose and function. Since our body cannot synthesize a significant amount of micronutrients on its own, we are required to obtain them from the foods that we eat. There are around 40 essential vitamins and minerals and other biochemical that are required for metabolic and developmental processes in our body.

Some of the micronutrients with their functions are as follows:

  • Vitamin A: It helps maintain good vision.
  • Iodine: It is required for proper thyroid development.
  • Iron: It contributes to metabolism and energy balance.
  • Manganese: It is needed for antioxidant and enzyme function.

Based on the above information, some of the key differences between macronutrients and micronutrients are as follows:

Macronutrients Micronutrients
They are required in large amounts, hence known as macronutrients. They are required in small amounts, hence known as micronutrients.
They are measured in grams. They are measured in milligrams and micrograms.
They include carbohydrates, fats and proteins. They include vitamins and mineral.
Some of the rich sources of macronutrients are cereals, fish, yams, nuts, potatoes, oil, seeds etc. Some of the rich sources of micronutrients include fruits, vegetables, eggs, green leafy vegetables etc.
Macronutrients generally provide the energy needed for the metabolic system. Micronutrients help various metabolic and developmental functions of the body.
Excessive consumption of macronutrients can cause health problems like obesity, diabetes etc. Excessive intake of vitamins may harm the body organs like the liver.
Their deficiency generally causes reduced stamina, ketosis (carbohydrate deficiency), skin problems, depression (fat deficiency), kwashiorkor and marasmus (protein deficiency). Their deficiency causes Anemia (Iron deficiency), Goiter (Iodine deficiency), Beriberi (Thiamin deficiency) etc.
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