Carb Calculator (Carbohydrates)

Created by Bogna Szyk, Joanna Michałowska, PhD candidate and Aleksandra Zając, MD
Reviewed by Steven Wooding and Adena Benn
Based on research by
US Department of Agriculture and US Department of Health & Human Services Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025 (Dec 2020)
Last updated: Jan 12, 2023

If you like to eat healthily, this carbohydrate calculator (or carb calculator for short) is an excellent tool for you. It can assess how many grams of carbs per day you should eat to maintain a healthy, balanced diet.

Naturally, no diet is complete without other macronutrients, such as proteins or fats; head to our macro calculator for a more comprehensive analysis of your eating habits.

We try our best to make our Omni Calculators as precise and reliable as possible. However, this tool can never replace a professional doctor's assessment. If you have any health condition, you should consult a physician.

What are carbohydrates?

Carbohydrates, just like proteins or fats, are macronutrients. They come in many different forms, such as sugars, starches, or fibers, and are present in most of our foods. You can come across them in bread, potatoes, pasta, fruits, milk, or cookies.

We can group them as follows:

  • Simple carbohydrates (sugars) are monosaccharides and disaccharides. As their chemical structure is relatively uncomplicated, they are easy to digest. They provide a lot of energy, but you will soon feel hungry again. Some sources of simple carbohydrates include white bread, cookies, and white sugar. Sugars can be consumed separately, naturally occur in foods and beverages, or can be added during processing and preparation.

  • Complex carbohydrates (starches) are polysaccharides — more complicated chains of sugar molecules. They are considered healthier and tend to fill you up for longer. Examples of foods containing starch include vegetables (e.g., potatoes, carrots), grains (e.g., brown rice, oats), and legumes (beans and peas).

  • Fiber consists of nondigestible carbohydrates and lignin that human digestive enzymes cannot completely break down. Health benefits from dietary fiber and whole grains may include a decreased risk of death and lower rates of coronary heart disease (cardiovascular risk calculator), colon cancer, and type 2 diabetes (see diabetes risk calculator). Do you want to know more about fiber? Check our fiber calculator.

How many carbs should I eat a day?

No golden rule dictates how many carbs per day you should eat. However, our carb calculator can provide you with the range of recommended amounts of carbs in your diet according to USDA Dietary Guideline

  • The minimum recommended percentage of energy that comes from carbohydrates is 45%. It means that almost half of your energy should come from carbohydrates.

  • The maximum recommended percentage is 65%. If you eat a higher percentage of carbs, you probably lack other macronutrients, such as proteins.

These percentages apply to calories. If you want to recalculate the recommended number of kcal in carbs to grams, you should use the following equation:

4 kcal=1 g\small 4\ {\rm kcal} = 1\ \rm g

Our carb calculator uses this exact formula to give you the optimum range for carbohydrate consumption. You should remember, though, that consulting this calculator is not equivalent to a visit to a dietitian; consult a professional for a personalized diet plan.

💡 We also have a calorie calculator, which helps you check how many calories should a day.

Simple sugars

Even though it is pretty important to keep your carb intake between 45% and 65%, limiting simple sugars (or simple carbs) is essential. It is recommended not to exceed 10% of your total calorie intake.

Why are these carbs bad for you? Most of them have a high glycemic index (GI). This means they break up faster and rapidly enter your blood system, increasing blood sugar levels.

Research shows that limiting sugar intake is associated with reduced risk of:

  • Obesity;
  • Type 2 diabetes;
  • Cardiovascular disease; and
  • Some types of cancer.
Bogna Szyk, Joanna Michałowska, PhD candidate and Aleksandra Zając, MD
Sex
Female
Height
ft
in
Weight
lb
Age
Activity level
Exercise 1-2 times/week
Total calories
kcal/day
💡 The recommended minimum intake of carbohydrate for an adult is 130 grams (520 kcal) a day. This is the average minimum amount of glucose that is utilized by the brain. Consuming smaller amount of carbs may lead to fatigue, headaches, bad breath, hunger and constipation.
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