Carolyn Cairncross, a nutritionist with the New Zealand Nutrition Foundation, explains the meaning of the term ‘macro’ and then identifies the macronutrients as carbohydrate, fat and protein. Macronutrients provide energy for the body, and in addition, the protein component supplies amino acids as basic building blocks in the construction of tissues such as muscle. Micronutrients are defined and classified into minerals and vitamins with the aid of a graphic.
Point of interest
If healthy teenagers have a well balanced diet, do they need to take vitamin and mineral supplements?
Macronutrients are the big nutrients and… because macro means ‘big’. They include carbohydrates, protein and fat, and they are the only nutrients that give us energy, and the way that you can compare that is to the petrol in the car. So petrol runs your engine, and carbohydrates, fats and protein give energy in your body to run your body.
Protein is used in many ways in the body. It’s used in the replenishment and synthesis of muscle tissues. The amino acids are used in a pool throughout the body for things like synthesising hormones. Micronutrients are things like calcium, iron, all of the vitamins and things like selenium and magnesium that we need in very small amounts.