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.
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
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
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
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.