POSTED BY: Monica Reinagel, M.S., LD/N
Although the most important factor in a weight loss plan is to reduce the total number of calories, you'll also need to decide how you want to allocate your calories among carbohydrate, fat, and protein.
Some experts argue for a diet that's low in fat and high in carbohydrates; others recommend a diet that's low in carbohydrates and high in protein and fat; and others suggest a nearly balanced intake of all three. All of these have their advocates and there is a lot of debate about which is the best method of losing weight. Ultimately, which one is best for you depends on your individual health history and food preferences. Consulting with a licensed nutritionist or registered dietitian may be also helpful in deciding which approach is most appropriate.
If you're not sure, start with 60% carbohydrates, 25% fat, and 15% protein.
Once you've figured out what your target caloric ratio is, here's a little calculator you can use if you have Excel: Download calratiocalc.xls. Just plug in total calories and the desired percentages of carbohydrate, protein, and fat, and the calculator will tell you how many grams of each to eat each day.