Most of us have probably heard of mico- and macro-nutrients. But what exactly are they, what are the different types, and which ones are most important?
And what about vitamins and minerals? Do vegetarians and vegans need to supplement? What are the best sources of calcium? What’s all the hype about vitamin D?
Keep reading to find out the answers to these questions and more!
Macro-nutrients are those that provide energy (calories), and include carbohydrates, protein and fat. A summary of each macro-nutrient is provided below:
Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy
Carbohydrates provide 4 calories per gram
Whole grains, fruits, and starchy vegetables are good sources
Protein is used by the body for repair and maintenance
Protein provides 4 calories per gram
Vegan sources include beans, legumes, nuts and nut butters, seeds, tofu and tempeh, and whole grains
Dietary fat helps provide a sense of satiety after eating, and aids in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K
Fat provides 9 calories per gram – it is the most energy-dense macro-nutrient
Vegan sources include nuts and nut butter, seeds, avocado, coconut, and plant-based oils
Most diet plans – whether for weight loss, a food allergy, or ethical concerns, tend to over-emphasize the importance of macro-nutrients and under-emphasize micro-nutrients. While it is important to ensure that you consume adequate amounts of each macro-nutrient, doing so is easily achieved for most people by eating a varied diet with an appropriate overall caloric intake.