Carb Calculator (Carbohydrates)

Created by Bogna Szyk and Joanna Michałowska, PhD candidate
Reviewed by Steven Wooding
Last updated: Feb 15, 2022

If you like to eat healthy, 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 in order 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.

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, and pasta, but also in fruits, milk, or cookies.

They can be grouped as following:

  • Simple carbohydrates (sugars) are monosaccharides and disaccharides. As their chemical structure is fairly 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 cannot be completely broken down by human digestive enzymes. Health benefit from dietary fiber and whole grains may include a decreased risk of death and lower rates of coronary heart disease, colon cancer, and type 2 diabetes. 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 more 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

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.

Simple sugars

Even though it is quite important to keep your carbs intake between 45% and 65%, it is essential to limit the simple sugars (or simple carbs). 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). It means that 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 and Joanna Michałowska, PhD candidate
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Total calories
💡 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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