What Are the Recommendations for Carbohydrate Consumption

The recommended range for carbohydrate intake as part of the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) in the US and Canada is 45 to 65 percent of total energy. The breadth of this range allows for different people to plan their diet carbohydrate level based on their level of activity and ability to properly process food carbohydrate (see discussion of diabetes on page 83). People should focus on healthier carbohydrate sources such as whole grain products, fruits and vegetables. These foods provide vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytochemicals that promote health.

The RDA for carbohydrate energy has been set at 130 grams per day for people of all ages above 1 year of age. This would provide 520 calories of energy which is important to the central nervous system, red blood cells and other tissue dependent on glucose as their primary energy source. The RDA for carbohydrate energy would prevent ketosis, a metabolic situation that occurs when fat becomes the primary energy source for longer periods of time. Ketosis will be discussed in detail in the next chapter as well as in Chapter 8. Meanwhile, the RDA recommendation does not take into consideration exercise and additional calorie needs of working muscle.

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