Most traditional diets are loaded with carbohydrates, one of the three essential macronutrients, so several weight loss diet plans focus on eating fewer carbs to reduce calories. However, carbohydrates are the main source of fuel for your body so you have to ensure that you eat enough to meet your daily energy needs.
Daily Carbohydrate Requirement
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommends eating 45-65% carbohydrates a day to provide essential fuel for your body, especially your brain. Calculating your individual carbohydrates needs takes the following factors into account:
- Activity level
From your height and weight you can also calculate your BMI, which tells you if your weight is appropriate for your height.
Your Carbohydrate Calculation
This easy-to-use Carbohydrate Calculator is based on the IOM guidelines and is designed to take to above factors into account.
To use the Carbohydrate Calculator to calculate your carbohydrate needs:
- First select your unit of measure (U.S. or Metric).
- On the next screen, select your information from the drop down lists to fill in the appropriate boxes.
- Click "Calculate" to get your IOM recommended daily carb needs.
The result is the range of carbohydrate grams recommended for your current weight and height, your gender, and your energy needs. Compare this IOM recommended range for your daily carbohydrate needs to your actual carb intake and make adjustments as necessary.
If you want to lose weight, select your goal weight in the weight box instead of your current weight to calculate your new carbohydrate allotment. Eat on the lower percentage end of the range of suggested carbs if you are not active, or you want to lose weight.
You can convert your carbohydrate grams into calories. Just multiply your calculated carb results by 4 (4 calories per gram of carb).
Use this conversion to see how many, or percentage, of your total daily calories will come from carbs. The rest of your daily calories will come from protein and fat grams.
Keeping Count of Your Carbohydrates
Keep a count of your daily carbs intake to stay on track and manage your calories. To keep count of your carb grams you will need to know the number of grams of carbohydrates in a serving or portion of each carb-containing food that you eat.
Finding Grams of Carbs in Foods
Use this search tool to easily find the grams of carbs, protein and fats in a serving of many foods:
- Type the food in the search box.
- You will get a result of grams of carbohydrates in that food.
Add up the grams of all the carb-containing foods you eat during the day. You decide how you divide up your carbs throughout the day, as long as you stay within your daily carb allowance.
Ask for Help
Calculating the amount of carbohydrates and other nutrients you need, and keeping track of what you eat, can help you manage your calories and your weight and stay healthy. With the right information and tools you can calculate your carbohydrate needs and find the number of carbs in many foods and keep a count of them.
Consult your doctor or a nutritionist if you need help in calculating and managing your carbohydrates or other nutrients and before you start on a lower carbohydrate diet.