Carbohydrates, proteins and fats - The ideal percentage in nutrition - (2023)

Determining the percentage of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats is one of the essential things in nutrition.

Balancing the amount and proportion of macronutrients consumed helps achieve optimal health and a healthy weight.

This article describes the ideal percentage of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats to consume to stay healthy, lose weight and gain muscle mass.

Table of Contents

The ideal percentage of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats

The WHO has determined that the perfect ratio of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats is (1):

  • Carbohydrates 55%
  • Proteins 15%
  • Fat 30%

This percentage can be set toincrease muscle massand lose weight. The easiest way to reach this balance is to divide your plates correctly.

To understand where these numbers for the ideal carbohydrate-protein-fat ratio come from, let’s see what each one is for:

(Video) How much protein, carbs and fat should you eat in a day?

  1. Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are a significant fuel for the central nervous system and the muscles. They are stored in the liver and muscles. The liver stores between 80 and 110 grams of carbohydrates and the forces between 300 and 600 grams depending on the physique. Intense exercise will quickly deplete these reserves.

Simplecarbohydrates(glucose and fructose) and complex (starch). These two types differ fundamentally in their glycemic index and how the body transforms them into energy.

With the number of carbohydrates to be eaten, confusion is frequent. To keep it simple, the idea is to consume about 250-300 g per day. (1) When it comes to quality, limiting simple carbohydrates and weightingcomplex carbohydratesis the most important.

  1. Proteins

Theproteinsare chains of building blocks called amino acids. Twenty amino acids are used as building blocks. They all have different functions, and nine of them are known as essential amino acids because the body cannot synthesize them.

An average person needs 1.2-1.5 g of protein for every kilogram per day (1). This is about 105 grams for a 70 kg person.

If you exercise vigorously, you can gain up to 2.0 grams per kilo per day. It is likely that a higher percentage of protein does not mean better results in increasing muscle mass but that it is stored as body fat.

Your muscles use the protein more efficiently if you consume it in small doses throughout the day, that is, when you have a snack, rather than taking the entire daily serving at once.

  1. Fats

Fat is the second most important source of energy for the body. Fat tissue is found throughout the body: under the skin, where you can feel fat physically pinching itself (subcutaneous fat), in the abdomen (visceral fat), and the muscles ( intramuscular triglycerides).

Body fat is made up of essential fat and stored fat. The accumulated fat is an energy reserve. Essentials are stored in nerve tissues, bone marrow, and organs and play a key role in inflammatory and blood clotting processes. They represent 3% of body weight in men and 12% in women.

(Video) Carbohydrate, Protein, and Fat Metabolism | Metabolism

As for fats, it is recommended to consume about 70 grams per day. In energy, it is 30 percent of calories. Whenever possible, choose fatty vegetable or fish fats, avoiding saturated and processed ones.

The proportion of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats to increase muscle mass

The ideal proportion of carbs, fat, and proteins to increase muscle mass should be carbohydrates 50%, proteins 20%, and overweight 30%.

This amount, combined with a muscle hypertrophy routine, is ideal for building muscle. It is the basis of abulking diet to increase muscle mass.

Another factor to consider is consuming a high percentage of proteins of high biological value. These are complete proteins in their amino acid profile and can be digested quickly; some examples are egg and animal protein.

Regarding the proportion of carbohydrates,simple carbohydrates should provide less than 10% of total calories. (1) The rest (50% of total calories) should be complex carbohydrates. These are in vegetables, cereals, and pseudo-cereals such as amaranth, quinoa, and buckwheat.

The proportion of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats for weight loss

To lose weight, the ratio of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats must be the same but with a lower percentage of calories.

Some diets like thelow carb – low carb dietare based on a20:40:40 ratio. Other diets like theketo dietare even more demanding and limit the percentage of carbohydrates to 5%.

A low carbohydrate diet is an effective and fast option for losing weight. However, they are not the healthiest. If they last for long periods, they can cause side effects.

Regarding health, the idea is to do a low-calorie diet where the percentage of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats remains at55:15:30but with a calorie reduction of 10-20%.

(Video) How to Calculate Macronutrients (Carbohydrate, Protein, Fat) || Determine the Amount of Macro

Losing weight withhealthy eating rulesis possible. The important thing is to stay consistent. Trying to burn fat in a week is not a fit and long-lasting strategy. Reducing yourbody fat percentageis a process that requires time and dedication.

An imbalance in the ratio of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats can cause all kinds of changes in metabolism. For example, when carbohydrate restriction is highest, the body releases more cortisol, the stress hormone.

And the number of calories?

Maintaining the ratio of carbohydrates, proteins and fats are essential to maintaining optimal health. However, when it comes to losing weight,not only this percentage must be taken into account.

To lose weight, calories must be reduced by 15-20%. While to increase muscle mass, you must do precisely the opposite.

Significant modifications in the number of calories will lead to intense feelings of hunger,leptinlevels rise, and long-term results tend to be below.

To count the calories in a dish, the grams of each macronutrient (carbohydrates, proteins, and fats) must be multiplied by each (4 or 9) caloric intake. Although counting caloriesshould not be a daily habit, it is a good starting point to know what percentage of energy you are covering.

Carbohydrates, proteins, and fats – theory vs. reality

A healthy salmon can provide 50 g of carbohydrates and 30 g of fat with buckwheator a donut accompanied by a soda.

Not only is the proportion of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats essential, but their quality is the only way to cover the daily needs of micronutrients: vitamins and minerals.

Finally, includingfoods with fiberis essential. This type of carbohydrate does not provide calories, so it should not be counted in the amount ofnetor totalcarbohydrates. At least 20% of vegetable fiber must be added to the percentage of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats; in particular, it is essential for those who suffer from constipation.

(Video) Carbs Protein Fat Explained!


According to the WHO, the ideal proportion or percentage of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats is 55% carbohydrates – 15% proteins and 30% fats.

Carbohydrates should be low onthe glycemic index. These are those contained in cereals and pseudo-cereals such asquinoa, buckwheat, and amaranth. Limiting the proportion of simple carbohydrates to 5-10% of the total is a fundamental rule.

The recommended amount of protein is 1.0-1.2 grams per kilogram of body weight. This can be increased if the goal is muscle mass.

Healthy plant-based fats should be the ones that should be in the highest proportion. Saturated fats should not contribute more than 10% of total calories, trans fats less than 2 percent.

The percentage of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats can be modified according to gender, physical activity, and the state of health of each person; when in doubt, consult your nutritionist.


1.Healthy Eating. FAO.Source

2. How much protein can the body use in a single meal for muscle-building? Implications for daily protein distribution.Source

3. Nutrient timing revisited: is there a post-exercise anabolic window?Source

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What percentage of carbs fat and protein is recommended? ›

In general, most adults should target their diets to comprise of 45-65% Carbohydrates, 10-35% Protein and 20-35% Fat. (If you're trying to lose weight, the number should be adjusted to 10-30% Carbohydrates, 40-50% Protein and 30-40% Fat.)

What percentage should be carbohydrates? ›

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that carbohydrates make up 45% to 65% of total daily calories. So if you get 2,000 calories a day, between 900 and 1,300 calories should be from carbohydrates.

What is the 60 30 10 rule nutrition? ›

Spending more of your food dollars on healthy foods can save you money at the checkout. One approach is to use the 60/30/10 rule: Spend 60% of your food budget on vegetables, fruit and wholegrains. If you started with $100, around $60 would be spent on these foods.

What percentage protein should I eat? ›

Anywhere from 10% to 35% of your calories should come from protein. So if your needs are 2,000 calories, that's 200–700 calories from protein, or 50–175 grams. The recommended dietary allowance to prevent deficiency for an average sedentary adult is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight.

What percentage of fat should I eat? ›

The Institute of Medicine and the American Heart Association recommend a total fat intake of 25-35 percent of calories. That's about 80 grams of fat or less a day if you eat 2,000 calories a day.

What percentage of fats should I eat a day? ›

ANSWER: Tracking fat grams is an easy way to see if your fat intake meets dietary guidelines. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend the following targets for healthy adults: Total fat: 20% to 35% of daily calories. Saturated fat: 10% or less of daily calories.

How much fat is required per day? ›

The USDA recommends getting up to 35 percent of your calories from fat. This means: up to 97 grams of fat per day in a 2,500-calorie diet. up to 66 grams of fat per day in a 2,000-calorie diet.

What is the percentage of protein? ›

Protein makes up approximately 20 percent of the human body and is present in every single cell.

How much protein and carbs should I eat? ›

The American Dietetic Association (ADA) recommends daily protein intake for healthy adults as . 8-1.0 g of protein/kg body weight. The USDA recommends that 45 to 65 percent of your total daily calories come from carbohydrates.

Why is it important to maintain the ratio of carbohydrate protein and fat in your diet? ›

Each one provides the body with unique nutrients. The key to healthy for life eating is including all three in the appropriate ratios, which ensures you get all of the nutrients you need.

Why is it important to maintain the ratio of carbohydrate protein and fat in your diet even with increasing caloric requirements? ›

There is a growing body of evidence that a major imbalance in the relative proportions of macronutrients can increase risk of chronic disease and may adversely affect micronutrient intake.

How many calories carbs protein and fat should I eat a day? ›

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that an adult's total daily calories come from the following: 45–65 percent carbohydrates. 10–30 percent protein. 20–35 percent fat.

How much protein is too much? ›

It's hard to provide a specific answer since so much is still uncertain and the experts themselves don't agree. However, for the average person (who is not an elite athlete or heavily involved in body building) it's probably best to aim for no more than 2 gm/kg; that would be about 125 grams/day for a 140-pound person.

How much should I be eating? ›

Though it differs depending on age and activity level, adult males generally require 2,000-3000 calories per day to maintain weight while adult females need around 1,600-2,400 according to the U.S Department of Health.

What is the best macro ratio for weight loss? ›

For weight loss purposes, a moderate-fat (20% to 30% of calories), moderate carb (30% to 40% of calories), and a high protein diet (25% to 35% of calories) tend to work for most people.

What is a good macro ratio? ›

The acceptable macronutrient distribution ranges (AMDR) are 45–65% of your daily calories from carbs, 20–35% from fats and 10–35% from protein. To lose weight, find a ratio you can stick with, focus on healthy foods and eat fewer calories than you burn. Interested in balanced, nutrient-rich meal plans?

What is the best macro ratio for fat loss and muscle gain? ›

Did you know…? A typical macro breakdown for fat loss and muscle gain is 40 percent protein, 30 percent fat, and 30 percent carbs. To burn fat and build muscle at the same time, it's important to understand the basics of how the human body addresses the two different types of mass.

How many calories carbs protein and fat should I eat a day? ›

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that an adult's total daily calories come from the following: 45–65 percent carbohydrates. 10–30 percent protein. 20–35 percent fat.


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