Nutrients: Micro- and Macro-

Because I am a visual person, when I first started my nutrition course I had to make a chart of food, and what exactly food means and how it’s categorized. Here it is, and below it I have further explanations for each item (click picture to view larger).

Macronutrients: our fuel. They are the only nutrients that provide energy and they are needed in relatively large amounts to support normal function and health. Energy is measured in calories. One gram of carbohydrate gives us 4 calories, as does one gram of protein. One gram of fat, however, gives us 9 calories. So for every gram of fat we consume, we get more than two times the energy than from a gram of carbohydrate or protein. The body prefers carbs for its primary energy source. If there isn’t enough glucose, our bodies go into ketoacidosis (hello there, Atkins diet fans, that’s you!). Fat is used when we are at rest and during low intensity exercise. Carbohydrates are used more during intense exercise. According to the Institute of Medicine’s AMDR (Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Range):

  • 45-65% of your energy should come from carbohydrates
  • 20-35% of your energy should come from fats
  • 10-35% of your energy should come from protein


  • Vitamins are compounds that contain carbon and regulate many of our body’s processes. Many of them have been extensively tested and shown to improve certain functions of our body and/or to reduce risk for certain diseases or other health issues. I cover vitamins individually in this blog; and as of this writing, so far I have already blogged about vitamin A. More to come!
    • fat-soluble vitamins are ones that the body can store for a while and therefore we don’t have to consume every day
    • water-soluble vitamins we need to make sure we consume daily because the body can’t store them (except for b12)
  • Minerals are naturally occurring substances that do not contain carbon. They cannot be digested further or broken down anymore; they are elements. Minerals come from the environment and are never synthesized in a lab or by a plant or animal.
    • major minerals are ones that we need to consume at least 100mg of per day. Maybe I will make a post about them later.
    • trace minerals are ones we don’t have to consume much of (less than 100mg/day).


Thompson, Janice & Manore, Melinda. Nutrition: An Applied Approach, 3rd Ed. Copyright (c) 2012 Pearson Education, Inc.

One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Billy on August 19, 2015 at 7:06 am

    Hi Annie, I’ve reposted this cos it’s great, hope it’s okay? Great blog btw, subscribed 🙂


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