The Carbohydrate, Fat and Protein Balance

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Have you thought about what you are eating each day? Sure, you could use your whole calorie allowance on chips, chocolate and fast food, but eating meals that contain lots of vegetables, grains, meats and legumes will give you energy and help you feel satisfied and full for longer.

It’s important to get the right balance of carbohydrates, fats and protein in your diet. But do you know how much you need of each? Read on to find out.

Protein, Carbohydrates and Fat

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Your body needs foods from all of the main food groups in order to function correctly and feel healthy and energetic. It is important not to cut out any food group completely, or to restrict it unnecessarily.

Protein

The body uses protein to build and repair all protein components of the body. This includes muscle, blood, organs, nerves, skin, hair and the brain. It also helps to keep you feeling full for longer.

Some good sources of protein include:

  • lean meats and poultry
  • dairy products
  • soy beans
  • nuts
  • lentils
  • eggs

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates provide your body with the energy it needs for normal functioning, such as breathing and keeping your heart beating, and for activities such as walking and moving.

Some good sources of carbohydrates are:

  • whole-grain breads
  • high fibre cereals
  • potatoes
  • fruits
  • vegetables
  • rice
  • corn
  • legumes

Fats

Fats provide a concentrated energy source for the body, which is essential for good health. They also help absorb and transport fat-soluble vitamins around the body.

Sources of healthy unsaturated fats include:

  • avocados
  • oily fish, such as salmon, tuna and sardines
  • olive and canola oils
  • nuts

Limit saturated fats, such as butter, cream, chips, fatty meats and sausages.

CalorieKing recommendation

At CalorieKing we suggest the following breakdown of your daily calories:

Nutrient Requirement (% of daily calorie intake)
Protein 15-20%
Carbohydrate 50-60%
Fats Under 30%

These proportions will give you the right intake of nutrients for a healthy, energetic body.

Are calories or nutrient recommendations more important?

When tracking your food intake, you will notice that your Food Diary provides recommendations for the amount of carbohydrates and fats that you should consume each day.

Your most important goal should be to stick to your calorie recommendation. However, keeping the suggested nutrient proportions in mind is also important. You will find that if you can aim for both, you will be getting a good balance of foods, and feel satisfied and not hungry.

Here’s an example to help explain. If you had reached dinner time with 400 calories left to consume, but you had eaten your whole quota of fat and carbohydrate for the day, should you just have a protein bar for dinner?

No, it is better to consider your calorie requirements and eat a healthy and nutritious dinner. Having exceeded your fat and carbohydrate allowance a meal of grilled lean meat and salad would be a more suitable option than a pasta dish, but you shouldn’t restrict your meals unnecessarily at the expense of your recommended calorie intake.

Aim to meet your calorie intake and keep the recommended nutrient proportions in mind as a guide.

Calorie King
CalorieKing's mission is to provide the best information, tools and education to Australians to help them conquer their weight.

CalorieKing is the brainchild of Allan Borushek, registered dietitian, co-found here at food.com.au and author of "Allan Borushek's Pocket Calorie & Fat Counter", Australia's best-selling calorie counter for over 30 years.

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