Healthy Carb, Fat and Protein Ranges

"Help, I am way over in protein!"
"I’m not meeting my fat goal. Is this a problem?"
"How many carbohydrates should I be eating?"


Based on years of research that examined the relationship between nutrient intake and disease prevention, generally-accepted ranges have been established for carbohydrates, fat and protein intake. These healthy ranges also help to ensure that a person is getting a sufficient intake of other essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. The recommendations are:
  • 45% to 65% of calories eaten should come from carbohydrates.
  • 20% to 35% of calories eaten should come from fat.
  • 10% to 35% of calories eaten should come from protein*.
The SparkDiet takes a middle-of-the-road approach with these ranges. Our specific breakdown is approximately 50% carbohydrates, 30% fat and 20% protein, all of which fall into the healthy ranges above. *Because our members are striving to meet weight loss goals through calorie restriction, we also recommend a minimum level of protein—at least 60 grams daily for females and 75 grams daily for males. This requirement will help prevent muscle loss and promote feelings of fullness among dieters. Both your Nutrition Tracker and the chart below reflect this recommendation.

Your intake of carbohydrates, fat and protein may be somewhat higher or lower than the SparkDiet recommendations, due to your taste preferences, cooking style, culture, fitness routine, health conditions and day-to-day changes in diet. Does that mean that your intake is bad or dangerous? No!

Do your best to meet at least the minimum recommendations for calories, carbohydrates, fat and protein as outlined on your Nutrition Tracker. The table below converts these percentages into grams needed each day based on calorie intake:

Nutrient Carbohydrates Fat Protein (Women) Protein (Men)
Healthy Range 45%-65% 20%-35% 10%-35% 10%-35%
1200 calories 135-195 g 27-47 g *60-105 g N/A
1500 calories 169-244 g 33-58 g *60-131 g *75-131 g
1800 calories 203-293 g 40-70 g *60-158 g *75-158 g
2100 calories 236-341 g 47-82 g *60-184 g *75-184 g
2400 calories 270-390 g 53-93 g *60-210 g *75-210 g

Monitor your diet in these ways:
  • Eat a healthy, nutrient-packed diet.
  • Watch your calories daily and try to keep them in your recommended range.
  • Check your carbohydrate, fat and protein intake based on your SparkDiet recommendations. As long as they fall in the healthy range listed on this chart above, you will be meeting your nutrient needs.
  • Choose whole grain carbohydrates like brown rice, whole wheat bread and pasta, oats, and avoid refined carbohydrates like white rice and white bread.
  • Choose heart-healthy fats and avoid trans fats found in processed foods.
  • Choose high-quality protein sources such as lean meats and plant-based proteins instead of fattier cuts of meat.
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Member Comments

Thank you, I have often stated to gym members that body requires more fat than protein, so please don't be so concerned about fat % in foods eaten. Unless it is too much unhealthy fats. Thank you. Report
My meals are never within the ranges and I dont know how to get them there. I never ever reach the carb range try as I might. I've lost 50 pounds so far so I guess I wont worry about it too much. Report
Thanks for the information. I need to start paying attention to my protein intake. Report
Thank-you for the info. I am constantly adjusting my diet to make sure I am getting enough of what my body requires. Report
thanks. the charts help Report
thanks Report
Interesting Report
Great article. Report
TICIASPLAN
I am not a health professional. However, I know that a high amount of carbs can affect the bodies ability to produce insulin. Individuals would have to regulate the amount of carbs they consume according to their specific metabolism. Report
If I ate this many carbs, I would be in big trouble weightwise. This seems to be a little
bit out of balance. Report
I have PCOS and carbs are not my friend. I have to keep my carbs to less than 12% in order to lose weight at all. Report
I'm diabetic, I would never get anywhere near that percentage of carbs. My blood sugar is hard enough to control as it is. Report
Thanks, good info! Report
Thanks for the info...Do tell me more about how the correct healthy nutrient range is selected! Report


 

About The Author

Becky Hand
Becky Hand
Becky is a registered and licensed dietitian with almost 20 years of experience. A certified health coach through the Cooper Institute with a master's degree in health education, she makes nutrition principles practical, easy-to-apply and fun. See all of Becky's articles.