Calorie Intake Targets – Nutrition Facts

From:  Nutrition Facts from Spark People, by Becky Hand, Registered Dietician

After years of research, acceptable ranges have been established for the intake of nutrients measured in calories or sometimes in grams.  The three nutrient types that actually provide energy for the body are carbohydrates, protein, fat.  Ideally, when a person eats the proper amount of calories from these three nutrient types, the need for the remaining two nutrient types: vitamins and minerals will be automatically satisfied.

Spark People recommends the following target numbers from each range:

  • 50% (range: 45% to 65%) of calories eaten should come from carbohydrates.
  • 30% (20% to 35%) of calories eaten should come from protein.
  • 20% (10% to 35%) of calories eaten should come from fat.

Your own intake of these nutrients may be somewhat higher or lower than the SparkDiet targets, due to your taste preferences, cooking style, culture, fitness routine, health conditions and day-to-day changes in diet. That is fine.  Just stay within the guidelines.

You should at least meet the minimum percentages for each of the three categories, carbohydrates, fat and protein. 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, varied and nutrient-packed diet.
  • Keep track of your calories daily and stay in your recommended range.
  • As long as you stay 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.

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