Fundamentals - Practice & Skills, part 18: Macronutrients, Micronutrients, and BMI

by Meris Shuwarger BSN, RN, CEN, TCRN August 11, 2021 Updated: June 16, 2022 7 min read 1 Comment

This article covers macronutrients, micronutrients, and body mass index. You can follow along with our Fundamentals of Nursing flashcards, which are intended to help RN and PN nursing students study for nursing school exams, including the ATI, HESI, and NCLEX.

Cool Chicken When you see this Cool Chicken, that indicates one of Cathy's silly mnemonics to help you remember. The Cool Chicken hints in these articles are just a taste of what's available across our Level Up RN Flashcards for nursing students!

Our Nutrition Essentials for Nursing flashcards are another great resource to help you learn and retain the most important nutrition concepts. Learn how nutrition plays a key role in patient wellness, and the essentials of patient teaching regarding nutrition that are part of every nurse’s job.

Macronutrients

Macronutrients provide the body with the energy it needs. They are important building blocks for metabolism and other metabolic functions.

The three most important macronutrients to know are carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for the body. Every gram of carbohydrate yields four kilocalories of energy, which means the body gets four calories for every gram of carbohydrate. For the physics-minded, a kilocalorie is the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of 1 kilogram of water one degree Celsius.

The recommended daily intake of carbohydrates is 45% – 65% of a body’s total caloric intake per day.

Fats

Fats, sometimes called lipids, are another good source of energy for the body. They’re also important for cell structure/function, temperature regulation (they keep our bodies insulated), protection of organs, and absorption of vitamins.

One gram of fat is nine calories; the recommended daily intake of fats is 20% – 35% of a body’s total caloric intake per day.

Proteins

Proteins are the body’s building blocks, helping to build and repair tissues, support the immune system, and provide energy.

We need to eat proteins because there are some proteins that our bodies cannot make by themselves. These are known as essential proteins. It’s important to replenish our protein stores so we can build new proteins to support all of our important metabolic functions.

Proteins, like carbs, offer an energy ratio of one gram to four calories.

The recommended daily intake of protein is 10% – 35% of a body’s total caloric intake per day.

Micronutrients

“Micro” means “small,” so micronutrients are things that the body needs to function properly, but that are only required in smaller amounts.

The body needs vitamins and minerals to carry out a range of normal functions. However, these micronutrients are not produced in our bodies and must be derived from the food we eat.

Vitamins

Vitamins are organic substances (molecules) that are generally classified as either fat soluble or water soluble.

Water-soluble vitamins

Water-soluble vitamins include B complex vitamins — thiamin (also known as vitamin B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pyridoxine (B6), folate/folic acid (B9), cobalamin (B12) — and vitamin C.

Water-soluble vitamins require regular replacement because they are constantly flowing through the body and being eliminated in our urine.

Fat-soluble vitamins

Fat-soluble vitamins include vitamins A, D, E, and K.

Cool Chicken Think of A fat DEcK of Cathy's cards.

Because these vitamins are fat soluble, they are stored in the body for longer, which means there is an increased risk for toxicity with excess consumption. In large amounts, these could become lethal.

Minerals

Minerals are inorganic elements present in soil and water, which are absorbed by plants or consumed by animals.

Major minerals (electrolytes)

Major minerals include our electrolytes (calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium), which we’ve talked about previously.

Our Med-Surg Nursing video series, which follows our Medical-Surgical Nursing Flashcards, offers an in-depth look at electrolytes and acid-base balance.

Trace minerals

Trace minerals are things like copper, fluoride, iodine, selenium, zinc, and iron, which is one of the important trace minerals.

Body mass index (BMI)

Body mass index (BMI) is a measure of body fat based on a person's height and weight (note that it is a measurement that applies to adult men and women).

BMI is calculated by dividing a patient's weight (in kilograms) by their height (in meters squared).

  • A BMI less than 18.5 is an underweight BMI
  • 18.5 to 24.9 is denoted as healthy (or average or ideal)
  • 25 to 29.9 is overweight
  • Any number over 30 is considered obese




Full Transcript

Hi. I'm Meris, and in this video, we are going to be talking about macronutrients, micronutrients, and body mass index. I'll be following along using our Fundamentals of Nursing flashcards, which are available on our website leveluprn.com. If you already have a set and you're following along with me, I'm starting on card number 101. So let's get started.

So first up, we're going to be talking about macronutrients. These are where your body gets its energy from. They're important building blocks for metabolism and other metabolic functions. And the big ones you need to think about when we talk about macronutrients are carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Remember that fats can sometimes be called lipids. So carbohydrates, those are the main source of energy for the body. And for every gram of carbohydrates, you have four kilocalories, so four calories for every gram. Now, fats, these are also an incredible source of energy for the body. They're also important for storage and function and protection and insulation. They're going to help to protect our organs and keep our bodies nice and insulated. Now, when we talk about fats or lipids, remember that one gram of fat is nine calories; one gram of carbs, four calories; one gram of fat, nine calories. Moving on to proteins. Proteins are so important. We need to eat them because there are some proteins that our bodies cannot make, and we call those essential proteins. And then we also just need to replenish our protein stores so that we can build new proteins for all of our important metabolic functions. Now, proteins are similar to carbs in that one gram is equal to four calories. Very important stuff to know there. And I also want to point out that, on this card, we have a lot of bold and red information, which means that this is the most important stuff to know. There's more on this card than I have time to go into detail with, so be sure to look at this more in depth.

Up next, we're going to talk about micronutrients, and as the name might imply, micro, meaning small. These are things that your body needs much smaller amounts of. So first up, vitamins, very, very important to know. Lots of different functions for vitamins. I'm not going to go into all of them here. But if you're interested or if you are taking nutrition, I would recommend checking out our Nutrition Essentials flashcards, which are available on our website as well. So we have two different classes of vitamins. We have water soluble, and then we have fat soluble. So water-soluble vitamins are going to be your B complex and your vitamin C, so these are going to need regular replacement because you're constantly losing them through your urine. Now fat-soluble vitamins are going to be A, D, E, and K. You can remember this with our cool chicken hint, which is to think of A fat DEcK of cards. So fat, there you go. Fat, fat soluble; and then A DEcK; A, D, E, K; A fat DEcK of cards to help you remember the fat-soluble vitamins. Now, because these are fat soluble, they are stored in the body for longer, meaning that you can become toxic to them. Very important to know because these could become lethal in large amounts. Now, minerals, we have our major minerals, which are our electrolytes, which we talked about in the previous video. And then we also have trace minerals, which you don't really get too much in depth with for nursing, at least for nursing school. But these are things like copper and fluoride, iodine, selenium, zinc, and iron, which is a pretty important one. All right, let's move on.

Lastly, we are talking about body mass index, BMI. And I want to point out that here on this card, we have a really nice table for you. I think this is super helpful in just helping you. If you're visual if you really like to see it laid out in that manner, really, really great. So body mass index, it is a calculation of the patient's weight in kilograms divided by their height in meters squared. So you need to know their weight and height in kilograms and meters. So weight in kilograms, divided by height in meters squared. The height is squared, not the whole result. So a BMI less than 18.5 is an underweight BMI; 18.5 to 24.9 is healthy or average or ideal; 25 to 29.9 is overweight, and any number over 30 is going to be considered obese. Okay, so I hope that review was helpful for you. If it was, please go ahead and like this video. Let me know that you enjoyed it. If you have a great way to remember something, definitely let us know in the comments. I want to see it. And I promise you that other people watching this video want to see it as well. Be sure to subscribe to our channel because you want to be the first to know when our new video drops. The next video in this series is going to be talking about dysphagia. We're going to talk about different types of diets, food-borne illness, and measuring blood glucose. So I really hope that you'll check that out. All right. Take care. And happy studying.


1 Response

Abbey
Abbey

December 08, 2021

You can remember water soluble by the saying “Drinking enough water can B complex”!!! :)

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