Is it more important to count calories or carbs?

Kodi Moore
Nutrition & Dietetics

It is important to consume the right amount of calories and carbohydrates to meet your needs. Practicing mindful eating, really listening to your body and eating when you are hungry and stopping when you are satisfied can help you learn to consume the amount of calories your body needs without having to count them. I like the MyPlate model (visit for more info) to help ensure I'm getting a good variety of healthy foods in the right proportions. MyPlate splits your plate into 4 quadrants, half your plate should be fruits and vegetables and roughly one quarter should be protein and roughly one quarter should be grains. With one serving of dairy on the side. MyPlate is great for the general population. However, if you have specific needs, an illness, or athletic training needs, for example, consult a registered dietitian for an individualized meal plan.

Toby Smithson
Nutrition & Dietetics

Specifically, carbohydrate intake is important for people with diabetes, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), or elevated triglycerides. Carbohydrate containing foods have a direct effect on blood sugar readings and simple carbohydrates like candy and regular soda have a direct effect on both blood sugar and triglyceride levels. Calories are important for everyone to consider in relation to maintaining a normal weight. USDA recommendations advise to have a balance of carbohydrate, protein and fat containing food. By consuming a balanced diet you will achieve the essential nutrients your body needs for good health.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.