Simplified Counting for Food Macronutrient Content

nrg500nrg500 Posts: 1,233B-Class
Andy Morgan of

1g Carbohydrate ~=4kCal
[align=justify]Carbs are going to come through your diet in a variety of sources: fruit, starchy carbs, veg and in the other things you don’t generally think about like dairy, sauces and drinks.
[align=justify][size=large][font=oswald,chicago]Starchy Carbs [/font][/size]will form the bulk of your carb intake. – (Bread, rice, pasta, potatoes, etc.)[/align]
  • Raw Potatoes ~15g-20g carbs per 100g weight.
  • Sweet potatoes, ~20-25g per 100g weight.
  • Dried Rice ~70g of carbs per 100g weight. Works for most dried pasta too.
  • Bread – varies (some manufacturers add a lot of butter for flavour). Look at the nutritional label if available or in one of the nutritional calculators.
You’ll see that protein and fat content in the starchy carbs has been ignored in the above simplifications. That’s purposeful to make things easier, but it’s up to you.

  • Consider one ‘medium’ sized piece of fruit (an apple, a banana, a pear, an orange, etc.) to be 25g of carbs.
  • Other things like berries, melon, etc? Weigh them once and look them up.
  • Unsure, or hate the idea of ‘medium’? Weigh it once, look it up.
  • Count the carbs in starchy vegetables as they are more energy dense. Examples: carrots, peas, corn, potatoes, parsnips. (When looking these up you’ll see that the energy content is relatively high for a vegetable, and fibre content per gram of carbs is low.)
  • Don’t bother counting the carbs in any leafy, green vegetables.
  • Consider ignoring the rest. – Look it up, make a decision, stick to that decision.

1g Protein ~=4kCal
  • Uncooked beef/ chicken/ pork/ lamb/ fish 100g = ~20-25g of protein.
  • One large egg = ~8g protein 5g fat.
  • Egg whites = ~4g protein.
[align=justify]The fat content in meat can quickly add up so be careful that your choices of cut don’t add up over your fat macro budget for the day. Here are the leanest protein sources:[/align]
  • Chicken breast (skinless),
  • some red meat,
  • white fish,
  • some cuts of tuna,
  • protein shakes,
  • Skimmed milk & other low-fat dairy.
To say that I am not a fan of supplement companies would be an understatement. However, I do concede that in most countries in the world, the cheapest way to hit your protein requirements is protein powder, so if you’re on a budget then consider this.

1g Fat ~=9kCal
[align=justify]In contrast to vegetables, fat is highly energy dense. Generally 1g of weight = 1g fat = 9kCal. As the energy content can add up quickly I’d suggest that you consider counting the fat in everything.
[align=justify]How many grams of fat are in that cut of steak? How about after it’s grilled and some fat has dripped off of it, should I weigh the fat and deduct from the total?[/align]

Here’s the most sensible strategy – look it up in a nutritional calculator, make you best educated guess at the fat content, and then forget about it. You’re likely to eat the same cuts of meat again and again so it won’t matter because you’ll be following the ‘consistency rule’.
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