The Difference Between Macronutrients and Micronutrients


Once you start exploring the world of fitness, diet, and nutrition, there are several words you’ll encounter frequently. Two of these words are macronutrients and micronutrients.

Even if you’re just looking for a more convenient way to get healthy meals, you’ll likely encounter these two terms as well. In fact, Michaela’s Meals and other meal delivery services in San Diego provide healthy, macro-balanced or macro-counted meals.

But what ’s the difference between them, and what do they mean for your health and diet?

Macronutrients vs. Micronutrients

Macronutrients and micronutrients are the two categories that dietitians and nutritionists use to refer to the types of nutrients our body needs.


Macronutrients are the big, important nutrition categories. The term comes from the Greek word makros which means “large.” These are the food groups you need the most of or require in larger amounts.

The three macronutrients you need are:

      Carbohydrates. These foods serve as fuel for our brain and for high-energy activities. Carbs are found in bread, grains, pastas, fruits, and vegetables.

      Proteins. These help regulate our metabolism and aid the growth and maintenance of body tissues. Protein-rich foods include chicken, pork, beef, fish, eggs, dairy, tofu, and beans.

      Fats. Healthy fats help with energy storage, vitamin absorption, and hormone production. These are found in oils, meat, fish, dairy, nuts, avocados, and olives.


Micronutrients are the foods you need less of. These are the many vitamins and minerals the body needs to function. While also important for your overall health, you don’t need as much of these nutrients in your daily diet compared to macronutrients. The term comes from the Greek word mikros which means “small.”

Micronutrients are found in the same foods you eat to get your required macros: fruits, vegetables, meats, fish, dairy, and more.

Micronutrients can be further divided into three groups:

      Water-soluble vitamins. These include vitamins B1, B2, B6, B12, C, and folic acid.

      Fat-soluble vitamins. There are only four: Vitamins A, D, E, and K.

      Minerals. These include calcium, potassium, magnesium, sodium, iron, iodine, and zinc.

How Much Macronutrients Do You Need?

The phrase “counting macros” may sound complicated but it just means you try to eat a certain percentage of calories from each major macronutrient group.

According to the Dietary Reference Intakes from the USDA, you need the following amounts of each macronutrients.

      Carbohydrates. About 45% to 65% of your daily caloric intake or approximately 130 grams daily.

      Proteins. Between 10% to 35% of your daily calories. This is around 46 grams for women and about 56 grams for men.

      Fats. Around 20% to 35% of your daily calories.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020–2025 recommends almost the same amount but it recognizes that each person’s recommended daily amount may change depending on various factors, such as their current weight, fitness goals, age, sex, and pre-existing health conditions.

How Much Micronutrients Do You Need?

Most micronutrients are measured in milligrams (mg) or micrograms (mcg). The recommended daily amount you need not only varies for each vitamin and mineral but also based on your age, gender, and any health conditions.

Some of the recommendations in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015–2020 are:

      Vitamin A: About 900 mcg for men and 700 mcg for women.

      Vitamin E: 15 mg for both men and women.

      Vitamin C: Around 90 mg for men and 75 mg for women.

      Calcium: 1,000 mg (1 gram) for both men and women.

      Magnesium: Between 400 to 420 mg for men and between 310 to 320 mg for women.

Does Tracking Macros Help With Weight Loss?

Existing research suggests that tracking the macronutrient composition and calories in the meals you eat may help make weight loss dieting more effective. In one study, participants who used a macro tracking system more times had lost almost double the weight than those who did not track their macros as much.

Counting macros can be challenging, especially when doing it for the first time. Thankfully, there are a lot of fitness and diet apps that can help you with that.

You can also opt for a meal delivery service instead for even greater convenience. Michaela’s Meals offers macro-balanced and calorie-counted meals — all neatly packed and ready to heat up for eating.

Popular Macro-Based Diets

There are many popular diets that focus on counting or tracking macronutrient consumption, as well as caloric intake. Many who have tried them often speak about how effective the diets are in helping them reach their fitness goals.

Some of these are:

      The Keto, or ketogenic, diet.

      The Paleo, or paleolithic, diet.

      The Weight Watchers diet.

If you’re interested in a macro-controlled diet plan but don’t know where to start, subscribing to a meal plan delivery is an ideal way to do so. Here at Michaela’s Meals, we offer Keto-friendly and Paleo meal options.

Easy and Delicious Macro Meals in San Diego

A better awareness and understanding of the various kinds of nutrients found in the food you eat and their effects on your body helps you better incorporate them into your daily diet. If your schedule makes it difficult to do that yourself, that’s exactly what Michaela’s Meals is here for!

We offer healthy, macro-balanced, perfectly portioned meals to ensure you get the proper nutrients your body needs — and even lose weight. No planning, shopping, or cooking is required.

Simply sign up for one of our convenient meal subscription plans and enjoy macro-friendly meals delivered straight to your San Diego home’s doorstep. Check out our menu for the week here and subscribe today.

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