Difference Between Micronutrients and Macronutrients

Chemical compounds present in foods that are vital for the functioning of our bodies and our health are known as nutrients. These provide us with the energy we need to perform various functions in our daily life and act as the building blocks of our growth and repair systems. There are six major types of nutrients: carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, lipids, water and minerals, and these are further grouped under two major categories: macro and micronutrients.

Most of the food that we eat contains a combination of one or more types of nutrients. Because of our body’s inability to manufacture these nutrients, they have to be consumed from other sources through the various food items that we consume every day.

Before we proceed, let us find out what are macronutrients and micronutrients.

Macronutrients are the substances that comprise a major portion of our staple food and give us the energy we need to move, breathe, sleep, and properly function. Micronutrients are substances that are consumed in minimal amounts, and these help to ensure growth and healthy development of the body.

Now let's look at the difference between macro and micronutrients.


Macronutrients vs Micronutrients

Macro and micronutrients differ in several ways, the primary being the units they are measured in. Macros are measured in terms of grams, for example, 1 gram of protein or fat.  Macronutrients consist of the following three major categories of nutrients:

  • Proteins: These are the nutrients that are usually found in food items such as eggs, dairy products like cottage cheese, fish, soy and tofu. 

  • Fats: These are the nutrients that are found in food items such as meat, different kinds of nuts, oil, butter, milk and cheese.

  • Carbohydrates: Potatoes, bread, rice, pasta, corn, grains and even some fruits are very rich sources of carbohydrates. 

Micronutrients are, on the other hand, measured in much smaller units such as milligrams and micrograms. Green vegetables and fruits that are chock-full of vitamins and minerals contain an abundance of micronutrients. Some of these include:

  • Zinc

  • Magnesium

  • Vitamin E

  • Vitamin C

  • Vitamin B-6

  • Calcium

  • Iron

  • Folate

Now that you know what macro and micronutrients are let's revise a few concepts with the following pop quiz.

 

Pop Quiz 1

  1. Carbohydrates, fats and minerals are all examples of micronutrients.

  1. True 

  2. False

  3. None of the above

Also, it is important to know that minerals are further classified into micro and macro minerals. The difference between micro and macro minerals lies in the fact that while macro minerals are present in substantial quantities in the diet, such as calcium, magnesium, sulphur and potassium, micro minerals are required in tiny amounts, and are often referred to as trace minerals. Examples of micro minerals include selenium, manganese, cobalt and zinc. 


The following table explains some significant differences between micro and macronutrients.


Difference Between Macronutrients and Micronutrients

Micronutrients

Macronutrients

These are nutrients that are required in very small amounts by the body.

Macronutrients are required in very large amounts for the body to function properly.

These help to prevent diseases and nurture growth and repair of the body.

These provide the energy that aids the body’s metabolism.

Micronutrients are found in a variety of foods, including vegetables, spinach, fruits and even eggs.

These are present in large quantities in potatoes, nuts, fish oils, fish, milk, cheese, meat and rice.

Some examples of micronutrients include minerals such as calcium and iron, antioxidants and vitamins such as vitamin B-6.

Examples of macronutrients include proteins, carbohydrates (starch) and lipids (fats).

Micronutrients are also known as trace elements.

Macronutrients are also referred to as major elements.

Too much consumption of micronutrients, such as vitamins, can cause nerve and liver damage.

Too much consumption of macronutrients can lead to several heart diseases, obesity, increase of blood sugar levels and diabetes.

The deficiency of these nutrients can lead to diseases like goitre, anaemia and rickets.

The deficiency of macronutrients can lead to diseases like marasmus and bone disease.


To learn more about micro and macro nutrients difference, refer to our comprehensive range of study material and revision notes available in PDF for free. Download the Vedantu app today and get access to free live demo classes and much more.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What are Macronutrients?

Ans. Macronutrients are substances that comprise a major portion of our staple food and give us the energy we need to move, breathe, sleep, and properly function. Examples of macronutrients include proteins, carbohydrates (starch) and lipids (fats).

2. Why are Macronutrients Essential?

Ans. Macronutrients provide the energy that aids the body’s metabolism. These are required in very large amounts for the body to function properly.

3. Differentiate Between Macronutrients and Micronutrients.

Ans. Macronutrients are the substances that comprise a major portion of our staple food and give us the energy we need to move, breathe, sleep, and properly function. Micronutrients are substances that are consumed in very small amounts, and these help to ensure growth and healthy development of the body.Difference between Micronutrients and Macronutrients