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How to Plan a Weight-loss Diet

        Health | Weight Loss

Food Calculators

Think of your new eating plan as a long-term investment in your health -- one with a pretty good rate of return if you make strategic choices along the way. So, how do you put together carbohydrate, fat, and protein along with vitamins and minerals to create a strategic eating plan that will help you lose weight and that you can stick with over the long term? Here's some help in figuring it out.

Nutrient Math

You can calculate the approximate amounts of carbohydrate, protein, and fat you should be eating each day. The recommended amounts (called dietary reference intakes, or DRIs) of these three energy-producing nutrients are based on percentages of your total calories. These ranges are established by the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine as the amounts of nutrients needed to meet daily nutritional needs while minimizing risk of disease.

  • Carbohydrate: 45 to 65 percent of your total calories

  • Fat: 20 to 35 percent of your total calories

  • Protein: 10 to 35 percent of your total calories
Here's how you can figure the recommended ranges for each nutrient:

Carbohydrate

Your calorie total X 0.45 = calories from carbohydrates
Your calorie total X 0.65 = calories from carbohydrates

Next, divide your calories from carbohydrate by 4 calories/gram to figure a range of carbohydrate you should have each day:

_ to _ grams of carbohydrates

Fat

Your calorie total X 0.20 = calories from fat
Your calorie total X 0.35 = calories from fat

Next, divide your calories from fat by 9 calories/gram to figure a range of fat grams you should have each day:

_ to _ grams of fat

Protein

Your calorie total X 0.10 = calories from protein
Your calorie total X 0.35 = calories from protein

Next, divide your calories from protein by 4 calories/gram to figure a range of protein you should have each day:

_ to _ grams of protein

Learn more about alcoholic and dietary guidelines on the next pages.

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