Food can be categorized in many different ways - one simple split is into macronutrients and micronutrients.

Macronutrients - our body needs larger amounts of this group.

Micronutrients - our body needs smaller amounts of this group.

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Macronutrients

Macronutrients come from three broad groups of food and are typically measured in grams. Particular diets or people who are conscious about their diets tend to count the amount of calories they eat from each of these groups.

Carbohydrates: This group includes breads, pastas, cereals and any sort of grain.

Proteins: This group contains all fish, beans and tofu and other sources of protein.

Fats: This group is made of oils, nuts and certain meats.

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Someone interested in monitoring their macro intake would go through a two step process.

  1. Count how many calories they need to eat each day. Macronutrients are basically your caloric intake for the day so it is essential to know how many calories you want to and should be having each day.

  2. Define the percentages of each macro based on your goals. Someone looking to lose weight would perhaps have a lower carb or fat percentage. The breakdown is purely based on what your goals are.

Quiz

Which of the following is not part of one of the macronutrient groups?

Iron

Butter

Steak

Pasta

How many macronutrients should I be eating?

Although you can tailor your macronutrient percentages to achieve your body goals as you desire - there is an acceptable range of carbs, proteins and fats that healthy adults should try and stick to.

For adults the acceptable macronutrient distribution ranges are:

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Micronutrients

While macronutrients are your main source of energy - through calories - micronutrients are the vitamins and minerals your body needs. Although our bodies do produce some vitamins and minerals, others come from the foods we eat. Vitamins and minerals are found in animals, plants, soil and water. Animals and plants get their fill of vitamins and minerals from their environments and then when we eat the animal or plant, the minerals and vitamins are passed on to us.

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Varying levels of certain minerals also helps prevent certain diseases. In general, minerals and vitamins are essential because they each play a specific role in your body - from growth to brain function.

Quiz

Which of the following is a benefit of eating micronutrients?

Sleeping better

Feeling fuller

Better immune system

Summary

There are many different ways to categorize food - but the most basic is the divide between micronutrients and macronutrients. Reflect on what you ate today and try and break it down into micros and macros. See what your macro percentages are. Is your current diet helping achieve your body goals? Are there changes you could or want to make?

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