Calories from Fat,Protein and Carbs
This article is about the calories from fat, protein and
carbohydrates and the ratios of the macronutrients.
can come in handy when you are trying to track certain nutrition
It is also very useful when figuring out the Weight Watchers Points
Often times you may find some nutritional information
for a food item or restaurant menu item.
However, some of the pieces
can be missing.
For example, a restaurant may publish the total calories, fat grams and
Unfortunately they may be missing the protein grams.
are simply tracking calories, fat or carbohydrates, then this would not
be a problem.
However, if you are trying to ensure you are getting the right mix of
calories for the primary macronutrients (fat, protein and carbs), then
the puzzle is not complete.
Additionally, with the new Weight Watchers points system, a primary
factor (protein) would be missing to calculate the proper points value.
Finding The Missing Macrontrient
One method of filling in the missing piece is to use the 4-9-4
equation. What's this you ask? Well, basically it means that the
calories are made up of 4 cal. per gram of protein, 9 cal. per gram of
fat and 4 cal. per gram of carbohydrates.
Let's take an example. If your food item contained 10 grams of protein,
10 grams of fat and 10 grams of carbs, then 40 calories would be from
protein, 40 calories from carbs and there would be 90 calories from fat
for a total of 170 calories.
Now in order to estimate one of the macronutrients you would have to
work backwards from the total calories.
Let's say that a menu item has
500 total calories, 50 grams of carbs and 15 grams of fat.
Since we have 2 of the 3 macronutrients, plus we have total calories,
we can derive the answer to the missing piece.
The calculation would
look like this.
calories = (total calories) - (carb grams * 4) - (fat grams *
(g) = Protein calories / 4
By taking the total calories minus the calories from carbs and fat,
this leaves the calories from protein. If you take the number of
protein calories divided by 4, this will give you an estimated grams of
protein in that menu item.
Why is this divided by 4? Remember we are using the 4-9-4 equation, so
4 calories per gram of protein contributes to the total calories.
Another good example of when you might need to estimate one of the
macronutrients is for total fat from calories. Often times you can find
nutritional information for a menu item or food item. However, they
list saturated fat as opposed to total fat.
While knowing the saturated
fat is helpful, it still will not give you the overall picture of all
the nutritional values.
Knowing the total fat becomes even more important with the new Weight
Watchers points plus system. Since there is a heavier weighting on fat
in foods to determine the total points value, having this as a missing
piece means a poor estimation of the actual points value.
example, a food item has 200 total calories, 10 grams of protein and 10
grams of carbs. The total calories from fat (and fat grams) is unknown.
Calories = (total calories) - (carb grams * 4) - (protein grams * 4)
grams = Fat calories / 9
For our example, the calculation would be this;
calories = (200) - (10 * 4) - (10 * 4)
- 40 - 40 = 120 calories from fat.
total fat grams would then be;
/ 9 = 13 grams of fat.
Sometimes using the 4-9-4 equation doesn't add
up as expected. This is
because sometimes the publisher of the nutritional values will take
into account the insoluble fiber in the carbohydrate grams.
Insoluble fiber does not convert to usable energy but rather passes
through our bodies. Therefore, some manufactureres will deduct the
insoluble fiber calories from the calories from carbs.
Unfortunately there is generally no way of telling how much of the
total dietary fiber is from insoluble fiber versus soluble fiber.
Therefore there is no quick calculation for you to determine the proper
calories from fat, protein and carbs for these cases.
The good news is that even if these calories have been removed from the
carbs calories, the impact on your overall estimation of the missing
puzzle piece will be neglible in most cases.
If you are unsure when an
item may or may not display the proper carbs calories, check the
ingredients for these common sources of insoluble fibers.
of Insoluble Fibers
; whole wheat, whole grains, wheat
bran, corn bran, seeds, nuts, barley, couscous, brown rice, bulgur,
zucchini, celery, broccoli, cabbage, onions, tomatoes, carrots,
cucumbers, green beans, dark leafy vegetables, raisins, grapes, fruit,
and root vegetable skins.
and Calories from Fat, Protein and Carbohydrates
Another time when the 4-9-4 equation does not work is with aloholic
beverages. This is due to the fact that the total calories includes the
calories in alcohol. The calories from alcohol are not considered or
addressed in the 4-9-4 equation.
Summing up Calories from Fat,Protein and Carbs
To "sum up" this topic, using the 4-9-4 equation to determine the
missing macronutrient (the missing puzzle piece), will give you a close
approximation of the values.
If you are tracking nutritional information, then using this
can help you estimate your daily intake.
If you are following the new
Weight Watchers points plus system, then calculating the missing
nutrient will allow you to closely estimate the total points value.
Just keep in mind that this method will give you a good approximation
of the actual values, but may not be the exact values due to insoluble
fiber and/or alcohol content.
In addition to understanding calories from fat, protein and carbs, learn more
about the new Weight Watchers points plus
and how these
nutrients are used in the calculation
Learn more about what a calorie is with this article and it's
Carbs or Making Carbs Count
Many people have gone from counting calories to counting carbohydrates
in order to lose weight. Others will try to cut out all (or most) carbs for a faster weight loss. Read this article to make sure you
make the right carb choices.
this free download to track your weight loss. The journal allows you to
write down foods you eat, how you were feeling and more. Then review your journal and make adjustments to your diet as needed.