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1/24/12 9:54 P

I have definitely felt overwhelmed, and at 3 weeks still have a lot to learn. At the bottom of the tracker is a chart called, "Weekly Progress". It lists the ranges for everything. Also, to the side of this are five buttons. One of those is, "Change Nutrition Goals". It's kind of neat, because if there is something you would like to add that is not already listed ,you can do it.

Occasionally, I felt frustrated too, because I would learn where something is and then forget where I saw it. I found it helpful to go down the SparkPoint List. You can find it by looking across the top of the menus for one labelled, "View SparkPoints". I found this menu helpful for learning to navigate the key spots on this website.

Hope this helps,

LAETU5 Posts: 1,405
1/24/12 6:37 P

I also suggest learning how to use the's fairly simple once you get how it works. You basically just type in what food you ate and enter the servings.

For sugar...the ideal is zero added sugar. You can keep that down by looking at the ingredients list and not buying a food that has any kind of sugar added to it. You also should be keeping track of carbs and trying to make sure most of your carb intake is from whole grains and veggies.

I don't know how to give you a number on anything as I only know what is appropriate for me.

SWEETKAMO17 SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (0)
Posts: 2
1/24/12 6:22 P

Thank you everyone for all of the helpful comments. Im trying to get familiar with the website and figure out what works best for me etc etc ...theres so much info to take in! Did anyone else kind of feel overwhelmed first starting out? Any tips for how you overcame those feelings?

MISSRUTH Posts: 4,258
1/24/12 12:36 P

Here is a link to a video on how to use the Nutrition Tracker:

BITTERQUILL Posts: 1,639
1/24/12 10:39 A

The pie graph on the nutrition reports indicates that Spark recommends shooting for 30% of your calories from fat, 20% from protein and 50% from carbohydrates (which includes complex carbohydrates, sugars and fiber). You might find different ratios that work better for you, and the nutrition tracker actually shows the ideal ranges for each macronutrient down at the bottom, as long as your weight/loss goal/fitness goals are set properly.

Let's say your calorie range is 1200-1550. This is how you figure out how many calories should come from each macronutrient (in these calculations, I'm using the percentages listed above as shown in the pie chart; they might be different for you, and even SP recommends them a bit differently, but it's a place to start):

Fat: 30% is 360-465 calories.
Protein: 20% is 240-310 calories.
Carbohydrates: 50% is 600-775 calories.

A gram of protein or carbohydrate has 4 calories, and a gram of fat has 9 calories. This is how you figure out how the above macronutrient calorie ranges translates into macronutrient gram ranges:

Fat: lower end 360/9 = 40 and upper end 465/9 = 51.7; 40-51.7g.
Protein: 240/4 = 60 and 310/4 = 77.5; 60-77.5g.
Carbohydrates: 600/4 = 150 and 775/4 = 193.75; 150-193.75g.

So at a 1200-1550 calorie range following an exact 30% fat/20% protein/50% carb ratio, your macronutrient ranges would be 40-52g fat, 60-78g protein, and 150-194g carbs.

The numerical macronutrient ranges that Spark will give you for that same calorie range are a bit different because they acknowledge that you don't need to get that exact ratio every day. At that same calorie range, Spark says that you should be aiming for 27-60g fat, 60-136g protein and 135-252g carbohydrate.

Of course, not everyone will aim for exactly the same thing. Some people do better on more protein/fat and less carbohydrates. Others go a bit lower fat and get more carbs. As long as you're making healthy choices and working with a ratio that works for you and your particular bodily needs, variation is expected and not necessarily a bad thing.

Edited by: BITTERQUILL at: 1/24/2012 (10:41)
ANARIE Posts: 13,184
1/24/12 10:35 A

It really pays to take the time to learn to use the tracker, because it will answer all of these questions for you (except sugar) AND automagically do the counting so you don't have to look up all the values. If the one here is too complicated, Google "calorie counting" and find others to see if you like them better (but honestly, they're all pretty similar.) Somewhere in the FAQs you'll find a video that shows you how to use it. (And in fact, someone will probably post a link by the time I finish typing this message.)

As for sugar... There's no standard for how much you should have and no accurate way to track it. Every food maker lists different things under "Sugars"-- sometimes it's just added sugar, sometimes it's added sugars and natural sugars together, and sometimes it's divided into sucrose, glucose, fructose, lactose, and so on. Since you don't know what they mean by "sugar," any numbers you get will be meaningless. For now, all you can do is track total carbohydrate and subtract fiber from it. That'll give you a rough idea of how much sugar and simpler starch you're getting together, which probably has more of an impact on your health anyway.

And if all of that seems too complicated, you can get a great start with just counting calories and using your instincts. At your size, you will lose weight if you get a weight loss calorie range from any source that uses your weight, gender, and age in the calculation (but be sure that it gives you a minimum over 1200; eating less isn't healthy). You'll get healthier if you eat more of things that you KNOW are healthy (vegetables) and less of what you KNOW is junk food. Just that, controlling calories and eating what you already know is right, will get you about halfway to your goal, and in the meantime you can be slowly reading more, learning more, and making decisions about the smaller details.

GEEKLING Posts: 601
1/24/12 10:30 A

Depends on your calorie range. As it's based on percentage of said calorie range. :)

Are you in the most common (and lowest for females) range of 1200 - 1550 calories.

Then the breakdown is Carbohydrates : 135 - 252 grams, Fat : 27 - 60 grams, Protein : 60 - 136 grams.

Fibre range is dependent on age, but if you're younger than 40 (? might be 50) it's 25 - 35 grams.

SWEETKAMO17 SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (0)
Posts: 2
1/24/12 10:17 A

Im new to sparkpeople and just starting to work on logging my food etc. I havent figured out the nutritional tracker yet so I am just logging my food in a notebook and keeping track of my calories, sugar, fiber, protein, and fats (from what Ive read those are the big ones to watch). Anyway, I know how many calories I need per day but was unsure of the right amounts for the others. What is a good range to stay between for sugar, fiber, protein, and fat?

I am female, 5'1, 225.

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