How to Calculate How Much Carbohydrates to Consume

Step-by-step Instructions

Here is what you need to do...
Step 1

First off, you will need to know what your daily intake for calories should be. A Recommended Caloric Intake Calculator can be found online through a simple search. By entering your Age, Height (your real height guys!), Gender, and Activity Level (be honest!); you will get an estimate of where your daily caloric intake should be for general health.

Step 2

Now that you have your Caloric intake you can find the percent of those calories that should come from carbohydrates. The most recent research states that your diet should contain 45-65% of your total calories coming from carbohydrates. You also need to know that 1 gram of Carbohydrates converts to 4 calories.

Step 3

The next step is a simple calculation. For example, if a person’s caloric intake for the day 2,000 total calories and they want to get 60% of those calories from Carbs they would take .6 x 2000 = 1200 is 60% of 2000 and the amount of calories from carbs to take in.

Step 4

Now we need to find out how many grams of carbs are in 1200 calories in order to find out how many grams of carbohydrates this person should have daily. We find that by knowing 1g Carbs = 4 calories, so 1200 / 4 = 300 grams of carbohydrates/ day for someone looking to get 60% of their 2000 Daily caloric intake from carbs.

Step 5

Why the range? Carbohydrates can be a friend or foe depending on how they are being used. A marathoner’s diet, for example, will crowd on the higher side with 65% of their daily calories being from carbohydrates. This is because the endurance athlete uses these carbs for energy and with daily training burns through them steadily leaving little left at the end of the day to be stored. The average person getting far less activity through the day will not need that amount of carbs for energy. Any additional carbohydrates they have left will be stored in the body as fat (not a desirable outcome). Instead this sedentary to inactive person should look for a lower percent of their diet to come from carbs (while keeping within the healthy recommended range).

Special Attention

Difficulties people often experience or parts that need special attention to do it right.

All carbohydrates are not created equal. A doughnut is not the same energy source as an apple. For overall health you should look for your carbs to come from sources high in fiber such as fruits and vegetables. Avoiding processed/ refined carbohydrates will help you to get more energy and health benefits from your daily carb intake.

Stuff You'll Need

Suggested Further Reading

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This Student Author

This Student Author's Background

Funny or interesting story about this topic...

Carbohydrates have gotten a bad rap in today's society; however to an athlete they can mean the difference between gold or the gutter. By learning how to calculate you daily intake needs and selecting healthy sources for your carbs you can help your energy levels whether you are running a marathon or just staying awake during class!

When did you first do this & how did you get started?

My sophomore year of high school I collapsed at a track meet after running the 4x800 Relay, the mile, and the 2 mile at our regional meet. All of these events took place because I wasn't taking in the appropriate calories and carbs. Ever since, I have had an interest in nutrition and its effect on athletics.

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