Nutrients, as defined, are necessary for growth, maintenance, and reproduction of living organisms. Nutrients can be divided into macronutrients and micronutrients. Macronutrients include fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. Micronutrients can be divided into vitamins and minerals, the latter including trace elements.
In addition to macronutrients, micronutrients, and non-nutrient substances, thereis another group of substances found in food, known as anti-nutrients. Anti-nutrients are food substances that cause adverse effects without being active toxic agents themselves. However, the presence of such substances indirectly results in adverse effects, e.g., by causing a nutritional deficiency by interfering with the function or utilization of normal nutrients. With regards to nutritional status and health, such substances can be a particular concern when they affect individuals with marginal nutritional status.