Macronutrient Ratios in a Diet

The macronutrients, which include carbohydrates, fat and protein, are the only nutrients that provide you with calories. Your body needs these nutrients in large amounts to function properly. The Food and Nutrition Board, which is a subgroup of the Institute of Medicine, provides recommendations for how much of each macronutrient you should consume in your diet.

Balance your intake of protein, carbohydrates and fats. (Image: Liv Friis-Larsen/iStock/Getty Images)

Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Ranges(AMDR)

Making sure you consume macronutrients within acceptable ranges can help you meet your calorie needs. (Image: Goodluz/iStock/Getty Images)

The recommendations for macronutrient ratios in your diet are given as acceptable macronutrient distribution ranges. These ranges represent the percentage of your total calorie intake that should come from each specific nutrient. “Nutrition and You” by Joan Salge Blake notes that consuming the macronutrients within these ranges can help you meet your calorie needs, while reducing your risk of developing chronic diseases.

Carbohydrates

Most of the calories in your diet should come from carbohydrates. (Image: Lesyy/iStock/Getty Images)

Most of the calories in your diet should come from carbohydrates. The AMDR for carbohydrates is 45 to 65 percent of your daily calorie intake. Carbohydrates provide 4 calories per 1 g, so if you require 2,500 calories per day, your carbohydrate intake should range from 282 g of carbohydrates to 406 g of carbohydrates.

The Food and Nutrition Board also provides recommendations for a specific type of carbohydrate, fiber. For every 1,000 calories you eat, you should consume 14 g of fiber. If you eat 2,500 calories, you should consume 35 g of fiber.

Fat

Your fat intake should comprise 20 to 35% of your daily calories. (Image: Alena Dvorakova/iStock/Getty Images)

Fat has the second highest AMDR. Your fat intake should comprise 20 to 35 percent of your daily calories. Fat is the most energy-dense macronutrient, which means it contains the most calories in each gram -- 1 g of fat provides 9 calories. If you consume 2,500 calories per day, your fat intake should range from 56 g to 97 g.

Recommendations for fat are further specified by type of fat. Saturated fat, which contributes to high cholesterol and heart disease, should comprise less than 10 percent of your daily calories. Trans fat, which also increases your risk of heart disease, should contribute less than 1 percent of calories. If you consume 2,500 calories per day, you should consume less than 28 g of saturated fat and less than 3 g of trans fat.

Protein

Aim to consume 10 to 35% of your daily calories from protein. (Image: Liv Friis-Larsen/iStock/Getty Images)

The AMDR for protein is 10 to 35 percent of your daily calories. Like carbohydrates, protein provides 4 calories per 1 g. If you consume 2,500 calories, protein intake should fall between 63 g and 219 g. Because the AMDR for protein is such a wide range, you can also determine your protein needs by your body weight. You should consume 0.8 g of protein for every 1 kg of body weight. If you weigh 150 lbs., or 68.1 kg, this translates to approximately 55 g of protein per day.

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