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Learn the difference between macro and micronutrients

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Anyone who has chosen to follow multiple diets targeting body weight is familiar with the terms found on food labels, such as carbohydrates, sodium, fats, iron, vitamins, minerals, among others. But before consuming, it is important to have the knowledge and to know what you are doing.

Foods are made up of nutrients that are essential for our sustenance and they are divided into two groups: macronutrients and micronutrients. Despite their name, their difference goes beyond the size of the molecules, as illustrated by Gisele Pontaroli Raymundo, professor and nutritionist at the Pontifical Catholic University of Paraná (PUCPR): “If there is a small garage and a car needs to enter, just open the door. But if a truck arrives, it only arrives disassembled. That’s how it is with macronutrients. Absorption in the intestine occurs only after their dissolution”.

In the category of macronutrients are listed the carbohydrates, lipids and proteins from which our energy comes. Proteins and fats are found in meat, eggs and milk of animal origin, as well as in chickpeas, beans and lentils of vegetable origin. Carbohydrates are found in fruits and cereals. It is estimated that 1 gram of protein or carbohydrate provides about 4 calories, while 1 g of fat contains 9.

Carbohydrates and fats have the specific function of giving movement, we can say that they are the “fuel” of the body. Lipids, or fats, are used as energy in the muscular system. Carbohydrates, on the other hand, are used in the central system at rest and proteins are intended to form, repair and grow tissues.


Every person is different, so every diet should be different. (Photo: Playback/Pexel)


What about micronutrients? Anyone who thinks size is a document is wrong. Its molecules are so small that they do not need to be digested before being absorbed by the body. And unlike the macronutrient, the micronutrient contains a long list of minerals and vitamins.

Citing the most popular, vitamin C is found in citrus fruits with high antioxidant potential, vitamin A found in milk and eggs supports eye health, and vitamin B12 found in meat and milk is important for the functioning of the central nervous system,

In the list of minerals: iron found in meat and beans and helps carry oxygen; sodium, known as table salt, helps regulate blood volume; and the zinc found in seafood and nuts boosts the immune system.

O Food guide for the Brazilian population is the national reference in the field of nutrition in Brazil. According to the document, a balanced meal should contain between 55 and 60 percent of calories from carbohydrates; 20 to 35% fat; and 10-15% protein.

Feature photo: Following a fad diet without the guidance of a trained professional can pose a health risk. Reproduction / Marcelo Camargo / Agência Brasil

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