What is a Macronutrient and a Micronutrient?

Susan Hoff
July 9, 2024

Macronutrients provide energy, while micronutrients support health.

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Nutrients can be divided into two primary categories: macronutrients and micronutrients. Understanding the difference between them is essential for maintaining a healthy and balanced diet. These two categories of nutrients play distinct but equally important roles in our overall health. In this blog, we’ll dive into what they are, why we need them, and how to ensure we’re getting enough of each.


As we know, nutrients are defined as a source of essential nourishment necessary for maintaining the body. So, what are macronutrients? According to Medical News Today, macronutrients are nutrients that our bodies require in larger amounts to provide energy and maintain bodily functions. They include carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Each type of macronutrient serves a unique purpose in our diet.


Carbohydrates are the body's primary energy source. They are broken down into glucose, which fuels our brain and muscles during physical activity.

  • Sources: Whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, and dairy products.
  • Types: Simple carbohydrates (sugars) and complex carbohydrates (starches and fiber). The more complex the better! Complex carbs are generally more beneficial as they provide sustained energy and contain fiber. They also assist with cholesterol control, bowel regularity and are recommended to individuals suffering from diabetes (check out this list of complex carbs, from Eating Well, recommended to individuals suffering from diabetes). To start implementing this macronutrient, try my overnight oats in four ways recipe!


Proteins are essential for building and repairing tissues, including muscles, skin (collagen), and organs. They also play a role in producing enzymes and hormones.

  • Sources: Meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
  • Amino Acids: Proteins are made up of amino acids. There are 20 different amino acids, nine of which are essential because the body cannot produce them. The nine are: histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine. Research shows that our bodies can't produce these on their own. That's why we need to get them from our diet.


Fats are vital for many bodily functions, including hormone production, brain health, and the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K).

  • Sources: Oils, butter, avocados, nuts, seeds, and fatty fish.
  • Types: Saturated fats, unsaturated fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated), and trans fats. Unsaturated fats are generally healthier options and are linked to:
    • Fueling your body
    • Supporting cell growth
    • Protecting your organs
    • Promote nutrient absorption
    • Producing important hormones

To share an example of this in terms of brain health, a study was conducted by Transyl Psychiatry where they found that Omega-3 can potentially reduce depression. Omega-3 is an unsaturated fat.


Micronutrients are vitamins and minerals required in smaller amounts but are crucial for proper body function, growth, and disease prevention.


Vitamins are organic compounds that support various bodily functions.

  • Water-Soluble Vitamins: Include vitamin C and the B-vitamins (e.g., B6, B12, folate). These vitamins need to be consumed more regularly as they are not stored in the body.
  • Fat-Soluble Vitamins: Include vitamins A, D, E, and K. These are stored in the body's fatty tissues and liver and can be consumed less frequently.


Minerals are inorganic elements that help with a variety of bodily functions, such as bone health, fluid balance, and muscle function.

  • Major Minerals: Needed in larger amounts (e.g., calcium, potassium, sodium).
  • Trace Minerals: Needed in smaller amounts (e.g., iron, zinc, copper).

Always consult a doctor prior and I highly recommend reading my last blog on supplements as it is a short guide on how to implement them into your fitness goal.

Understanding the roles of macronutrients and micronutrients can empower you to make informed dietary choices that support your health and well-being. By eating a balanced diet rich in diverse, nutrient-dense foods, you can ensure your body gets the essential nutrients it needs to thrive. Remember, the key to good nutrition is balance and variety, not perfection.

Oath & Grind By Susan Hoff
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Oath & Grind by Susan Hoff is a luxe lifestyle community that blends fashion, fitness, and nutrition to serve as aspiration—because everyone can start a healthy habit, regardless of their age or physique.