In today’s world where fitness and nutrition are one of the major talking points among almost all the age groups. We can’t deny the fact current and upcoming generations will have the most sedentary lifestyle when compared to our elders. Throughout most of human history, labor was done primarily by the human body. People didn’t need exercise; they needed a rest! A hundred years ago the physical exertion of even a relatively sedentary individual would exhaust most people today. I will take example of 90s as I am a 90s kid, we would run around, climb hills, and engage in all kinds of sports, not sit around and watch television or type on a computer.

But when it comes to fitness a lot is said but not done. We have so many myths floating around without any concrete logic or evidence behind it. In my opinion, you are truly aware or conscious about your health if you are aware about the food you are eating. Why you need it and how your body reacts to it. Nutrients can be broadly divided in two categories: Macronutrients & Micronutrients

Table of contents:

What are Macronutrients

As the name suggests, these are the nutrients which are required in large quantity. Macros are usually measured in grams since that gives an easier picture of the relevant calories as well. The unit of energy most often used in exercise science is the kilocalorie (kcal). One kcal is the amount of heat that will raise the temperature of 1 kilogram of water 1-degree centigrade. Most of the macros-based diets classify macronutrients in four ways:

  • Carbohydrates:
    • 1 gram of carbohydrate provides 4 calories. This can be found in foods like rice, bread, pasta, fruits. Carbohydrates break down in glucose which is the primary source of energy in our body.
  • Fatty acids:
    • Also commonly called as fat. 1 gram of fat provides 9 calories. This can be found in foods like oils, nuts, read meat. Higher number of calories doesn’t always mean it is bad for health and should be avoided. Fat can further be divided in trans, saturated, polysaturated and unsaturated fat.
  • Protein:
    • Protein is made up of amino acids which are attached to one another in long chains. Protein is one of the building blocks that make you into who you are. They make up your hair, nails, bones, and muscles. Protein gives tissues and organs their shape and also helps them work the way they should. 1 gram of protein also provides 4 calories. This can be found in foods like eggs, fishes, chicken, tofu, cheese.
  • Fiber:
    • People usually don’t categorize as a separate macro, because fiber is a type of carbohydrate that body can’t digest. Though most carbohydrates are broken down into sugar molecules called glucose, fiber cannot be broken down into sugar molecules, and instead it passes through the body undigested. Fiber helps regulate the body’s use of sugars, helping to keep hunger and blood sugar in check. Technically 1 gram of fiber can produce 4 calories, but as our bodies can’t digest fiber it doesn’t produce any energy.

What are Micronutrients

Micronutrients are measured in much smaller values (few milligrams) in terms of nutrition. They include vitamins and minerals. There are a lot of micronutrients in the food that we eat, especially in the fruits and vegetables. Vitamins are necessary for energy production, immune function, blood clotting and other functions. Meanwhile, minerals play an important role in growth, bone health, fluid balance and several other processes.

You would have seen people talking about macros a lot, but micros are usually ignored and eventually result in a lot of health problems we see nowadays. Sometimes you can tell you’re missing vitamins or minerals by the way you feel. You may feel tired or get sick frequently, and it’s not tied to a chronic illness

Micronutrient examples include, but aren’t limited to:

  • calcium
  • folate
  • iron
  • vitamin B-6
  • vitamin B-12
  • vitamin C
  • vitamin E
  • zinc

Summary

The nutrients your body needs to promote growth and development and regulate bodily processes can be divided into two groups: macronutrients and micronutrients. Macronutrients are the nutrients your body needs in larger amounts, namely carbohydrates, protein, and fat. These provide your body with energy, or calories. Micronutrients are the nutrients your body needs in smaller amounts, which are commonly referred to as vitamins and minerals.