Good question, as a starting point some background information:
The percentages on Nutrient Facts Labels on foods sold in the United States are based on a 2000 calorie diet with a goal that will include 20 percent calories from protein, 35% from fats, and 45% from carbohydrates – this represents a change at at the federal level that will be seen in the market place in a phased in process between July 2018 to July 2019. The current/old percentages were 20% from protein, 30% from fats and 50% from carbohydrates. Medical research trials with weight loss and other chronic illness however suggested that a lower carbohydrate diet is healthier for the average person.
- Carbohydrates include digestible complex and simple carbohydrates which provide about 4 calories per gram and also include indigestible carbohydrates in the form of fiber which are not considered to provide calories for our diet but some of which may be modified into beneficial fats by healthy bacteria and provide a small of calories – but it is simpler to not count those potential calories.
- Protein provides 4 calories per gram.
- Fats provide 9 calories per gram.
- Alcohol provides 7 calories per gram (yes the beer belly can be a real side effect of excess alcohol. Excess calories from alcohol tend to be stored as fat in the liver which is why cirrhosis of the liver is a risk with alcoholism).
A 2000 calorie meal plan might not be enough calories for a man and might be too many calories for a woman so it is goal for an average adult. A 1500 calorie meal plan might be more reasonable for an older, or not very active woman.
A menu plan that provided 30% of calories from carbohydrates might include 25% of calories from protein to provide adequate protein without an excessive burden on the kidneys from too much waste to excrete from nitrogen, and that leaves 45% of calories from fats.
- 2000 calories could be divided into 600 calories from carbohydrate, 150 grams, (approximately 10 bread group equivalents); 500 calories from protein, 125 grams, (approximately 17.8 ounces of meat group equivalents); and 900 calories from fats, 100 grams, (approximately 20 teaspoon equivalents of oil).
- 1500 calories could be divided into 450 calories from carbohydrate, 112.5 grams (approximately 7.5 bread group equivalents); 375 calories from protein, 93.75 grams, (approximately 12.3 ounces of meat group equivalents); and 675 calories from fat, 75 grams, (approximately 15 teaspoons equivalents of oil).
- In a typical diet plan 2 to 3 servings of dairy group would use some of the carbohydrate and protein group equivalents and some of the fat depending on whether skim milk or higher fat milk group servings were chosen. I am not alone in being dairy sensitive; it is not uncommon for people on the autism spectrum to have fewer negative symptoms on a dairy free diet so my own diet plan example is dairy free but I will also show what a sample meal plan with 2-3 dairy equivalents might look like.
- A rough count of my own typical daily diet includes approximately 8 protein equivalents of the bean, nut, and seed group; 1 fruit group serving; 2 bread group servings; 6 vegetable group servings; 1 fat group serving. Adding up the calories and grams contained in my typical day’s meals and snacks suggests I may be getting 1865 calories with 79.13 grams of protein, 81.92 grams of fats, 152.33 grams of complex & simple carbohydrates, and 60.9 grams of fiber/indigestible carbohydrate, which would be 316.52 calories from protein (17%/1865), 737.28 calories from fat (39.5%/1865), and 609.32 calories from carbohydrates (32.7% of 1865).
- Specifically I included in the nutrient calculation for my typical day’s foods:
Black beans, 2 cups Greens, 2 cups Fennel Seed, 2 Tbs Almonds, raw 3 Tbs Hemp kernels, 3 Tbs Brazil nuts, 2-3, 1/3 oz Carrot, 1 med, 1/2 cup, 61 gr Celery, 1 large, 1/2 cup, 61 gr Basil, dried, 1 Tbs Oregano, dried 1 tsp Chives, dried 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice, conc bttld 2 Tbs Walnuts, hlvs/pcs 1/8 cup, 1/2 oz Sweet Potato, plain 1 cup 110 gr Lundberg Rice Cakes, 2 Tahini, 1 oz, 2 Tbs Glycine 1/2 tsp Methionine 1/2 tsp Chia Seeds, 2 Tbs Coffee, instant unsweetened, 2 Tbs Pomegranate seeds, raw 1/2 cup, 70 gr Coconut oil, 1 teaspoon Cocoa Powder, 2 Tbs Tarragon, dried, 1 Tbs
- A diet plan similar to mine except with the inclusion of low carbohydrate dairy products includes unsweetened yogurt and cheese and slightly less sweet potato to reduce the total carbohydrates and half the almonds – almonds are a higher calcium nut. I left out the amino acid supplements and instant coffee as the nutrient totals are minor and the beverage/supplements might not be needed or preferred by someone else. Total calories on the plan with low carbohydrate dairy foods equaled 1978 calories with 95.13 grams protein (380.52 calories/19.2%/1978); 90.17 grams fat (811.53 calories/41%/1978); 148.33 grams of digestible complex/simple carbohydrates (593.32 calories/30%/1978) and 58.4 grams or fiber.
- Specifically including:
Black beans, 2 cups Greens, 2 cups Fennel Seed 2 Tbs Yogurt, plain, lowfat unswtnd (1/2 cup) Parmesan Cheese, shredded, 2 Tbs Ricotta Cheese, 1 cup Cheddar Cheese, 28 gr/1 ounce Brazil nuts, 2-3, 1/3 oz Walnuts, hlvs/pcs 1/8 cup, 1/2 oz Carrot, 1 med, 1/2 cup, 61 gr Celery, 1 large, 1/2 cup, 61 gr Basil, dried, 1 Tbs Oregano, dried 1 tsp Chives, dried 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice, conc bttld 2 Tbs Sweet Potato, plain 1/2 cup 55 gr Lundberg Rice Cakes, 2 Tahini, 1 oz, 2 Tbs Chia Seeds, 2 Tbs Pomegranate seeds, raw 1/2 cup, 70 gr Coconut oil, 1 teaspoon Cocoa Powder, 2 Tbs Tarragon, dried, 1 Tbs Hemp kernels, 3 Tbs Almonds, raw 1 1/2 Tbs
- A diet with excessive saturated or trans fats may increase heart disease risk so no more than 10% of calories from saturated fats is recommended and limiting trans fats from processed foods to as little as possible is recommended. Polyunsaturated fats are more heart healthy than saturated fats but an imbalance of polyunsaturated to monounsaturated fats may also be a negative health problem due to a possible increase in inflammation, so a diet with more monounsaturated fats or adequate amounts is important instead of having too many liquid vegetable oils (rich in polyunsaturated fats) or too many solid at room temperature coconut or palm oil or animal fat products (rich in saturated fats).
- Some coconut oil in the diet may provide health benefits due to the specific phytonutrients it contains in addition to the type of monounsaturated fats it provides. Walnuts, hemp kernels, ground flaxseed meal, and blue green algae such as spirulina are vegetarian sources of a precursor or source of the beneficial omega 3 fatty acids that are also found in salmon, tuna, sardines, other fatty fish and krill oil.
Extra leafy green vegetables and herbs are very low carbohydrate and low calorie so have extra of those if hungry for more. Celery and other nonstarchy vegetables also have low amounts of carbohydrates. Sweet potato, potato, squash, and corn, peas, and other beans do contain significant amounts of carbohydrates and would need to be used with portion control if trying to keep to a 30% of carbohydrate diet plan.
Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes. Thanks.