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The Best Ratio of Carbs, Fat, and Fiber for a Healthy Diet

By Erin Beck

Follow the recommendations of the Institute of Medicine to reduce your risk of coronary heart disease and obesity. The Institute of Medicine sets Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Ranges, or AMDRS, for carbohydrates, proteins, total fat and polyunsaturated fatty acids. The AMDRs are also meant to ensure adequate intake of nutrients.

Recommendations

The Institute of Medicine's Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Range, or AMDR, for carbohydrates is 45 percent to 65 percent of total calories. Fat intake should be kept between 20 percent and 35 percent of total calories. The recommended dietary fiber intake is 14 grams per 1,000 calories consumed.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates provide quick energy to your body. The most common forms are starches, sugars and fibers. All carbohydrates except fiber are broken down into sugar. Fiber is a carbohydrate that can't be digested. Many people try to limit carbohydrates, but choosing good carbohydrates is more important than restricting them. Choose whole grains instead of refined grains. Refined grains have been stripped of dietary fiber.

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Fat

Type of fat is more important than the amount of fat you eat. Saturated and trans fats increase your risk of certain diseases, including heart disease, while unsaturated fats, or monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, reduce risk. Monounsaturated fats are found in canola, peanut, and olive oils, avocados, nuts and seeds. Polyunsaturated fats are present in sunflower, corn, soybean and flax seed oils, walnuts, flax seeds and fish. Saturated fats are found mostly in animal foods. Partially hydrogenated vegetable oils are the main source of trans fats in the American diet.

Fiber

Fiber is important because it promotes satiety and reduces your risk of diabetes, heart disease, diverticulitis and constipation, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. Fibers can be soluble or insoluble. Soluble fibers slow the passage of food through the intestines. Insoluble fibers speed digestion and create fecal bulk. Good sources of fiber include whole fruits and vegetables, whole grain breads and breakfast cereals and all types of beans.

Tips

Get most of your carbohydrates from whole grains, vegetables, fruits and beans. Try adding brown rice, bulgur, wheat berries, whole wheat pasta and beans to your diet. Eat at least one good source of omega-3 fats each day, recommends Harvard School of Public Health. Choose lean cuts of meat and reduced-fat dairy products. Read nutrition labels and avoid saturated and trans fats. Get more fiber from whole fruits, whole grains and beans. Try snacking on raw fruits and vegetables to get more fiber.

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