How Much Carbohydrate Do I Need?

Woman in kitchen cutting up a banana

Between 45 and 65 percent of your total calories should come from carbohydrate. Carbohydrate is the body's main fuel source and should therefore make up the majority of your daily energy intake, mainly in the form of whole grains, vegetables, legumes and some fruit. Exactly how many carbohydrates you need depends on a number of factors which include:

Factors that influence your recommended carbohydrate intake include:

  • Body weight: More specifically, the amount of muscle. The greater your muscle mass, the more carbohydrates you need.
  • Gender: Males generally require more carbohydrates because of their greater muscle mass.
  • Training level: Elite athletes will have greater needs than a recreational athlete who goes to the gym three times a week. The more active you are, the more carbohydrates you will need.
  • Type of sport: Endurance-type sports, such as long distance running, require more carbohydrates than “short-energy burst”’ sports, such as a 100 meter sprint. Any aerobic sport also requires substantial stores of carbohydrates.
  • Diabetes: Although most people with diabetes can include a moderate amount of carbohydrates in their diet, individual health will affect particular dietary needs.
  • Carbohydrate-sensitivity, grain allergies, digestive disorders: If you have any of these conditions, you may only be able to include a gradual and moderate amount of selective carbohydrates in your diet.

* You should discuss your recommended calorie and carbohydrate intake with your doctor or dietitian.


Daily Total Calories Calories From Carbohydrates (45% to 65% cals) Daily Total Carbohydrate Grams (45% to 65% cals)

1200 cals

 540 to 780 cals

 135 to 195g

1500 cals

 675 to 975 cals

 169 to 244g

1800 cals

 810 to 1170 cals

 203 to 293g

2000 cals

 900 to 1300 cals

 225 to 325g

2500 cals

 1125 to 1625 cals

 281 to 406g

3000 cals

 1350 to 1950 cals

 338 to 488g