Calorie Counters
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How many calories should be consumed daily?
A: High-fat foods contain more calories than the same amount of other foods, so they can make it difficult for you to avoid excess calories. However, low fat doesn't always mean low calorie. Sometimes extra sugars are added to low-fat muffins or desserts, and they may be just as high in calories. The U.S. recommended daily allowance is 2300-3000 calories for men and 1900-2200 calories for women.
 
Q: How many fat calories should be consumed daily?
A: Aim for a total fat intake of no more than 30 percent of calories. If you need to reduce your fat intake to achieve this level, do so primarily by cutting back on saturated and trans fats. At 2,200 total calories per day, your suggested upper limit on fat intake would be about 660 fat calories.
 
Q: How many fat grams should be consumed daily?
A: Fats supply energy and essential fatty acids, and they help absorb the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, and carotenoids. You need some fat in the food you eat, but choose sensibly. Some kinds of fat, especially saturated fats, increase the risk for coronary heart disease by raising the blood cholesterol. In contrast, unsaturated fats (found mainly in vegetable oils) do not increase blood cholesterol. Eating lots of fat of any type can provide excess calories. At 2,200 total calories per day, your suggested upper limit on fat intake would be about 73 fat grams.
 
Q: How many saturated fat grams should be consumed daily?
A: Foods high in saturated fats tend to raise blood cholesterol. These foods include high-fat dairy products (like cheese, whole milk, cream, butter, and regular ice cream), fatty fresh and processed meats, the skin and fat of poultry, lard, palm oil, and coconut oil. Keep your intake of these foods low. At 2,200 total calories per day, your suggested upper limit on saturated fat intake would be less than 24 grams.
 
Q: How much cholesterol should be consumed daily?
A: Foods that are high in cholesterol also tend to raise blood cholesterol. These foods include liver and other organ meats, egg yolks, and dairy fats. The U.S. recommended daily allowance suggests no more than 300 milligrams of cholesterol.
 
Q: How much sodium should be consumed daily?
A: Since there is no RDA for sodium, the Committee on Dietary Allowances of the National Academy of Sciences recommends a minimum of 500 milligrams per day. In the body, sodium - which you get mainly from salt - plays an essential role in regulating fluids and blood pressure. Many people can reduce their chances of developing high blood pressure by consuming less salt. Several studies in diverse populations have shown that a high sodium intake is associated with higher blood pressure.
 
Q: How many carbohydrates should be consumed daily?
A: Sugars are carbohydrates and a source of energy (calories). Dietary carbohydrates also include the complex carbohydrates starch and dietary fiber. During digestion all carbohydrates except fiber break down into sugars. Foods that are high in sugars but low in essential nutrients primarily contribute calories to the diet. The U.S. recommended daily allowance suggests approximately 310 grams of carbohydrate.
 
Q: How much protein should be consumed daily?
A: The U.S. recommended daily allowance is 45-63 grams of protein for men and 44-50 grams of protein for women.
 
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