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

Very helpful information. Thank you. Report
carbs my friends are good ,,,just complex carbs not simple carbs...not separated for you in this diet,,sugar, white flour,white rice, milk etc cause all know this....i use 70% carbs and 30% protein...its called common sense.. dont cut others down for what they say just do what works for you. dont do like some of my friends do and go to all sorts of doctors ie diabetic gastrologist etc. find a plan and work it. dont keep going to 100 will just get 100 different OPINIONS.. Report
I'm afraid that your information is severely outdated. A diet that's 50% carbohydrates will slowly but surely push you toward diabetes and all sorts of other diseases. The fewer carbs the better. There are NO essential carbohydrates. Please look into the latest research and don't keep riding the low-fat/high-carb train. Report
thank you Report
Good guidelines. Thank you. Report
thanks Report
Thank you
great information Report
Thank you for this great info! Report
thank you Report
Thanks for the information. I have trouble getting enough protein. Report
This info is very helpful for me. I wonder if there is a way to incorporate these percentages into the food tracker which I use regularly Report
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


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.