Recommended Percentage of Daily Calories by Nutrient Group: 1921 and 2021

Table showing calories by nutrient group, 1921 and 2021Both a hundred years ago and now, there were recommendations for distributing calories across nutrient groups.

Here are the 1921 recommendations:

An ideal distribution of the calories is one-tenth protein, three-tenths fat and six-tenths carbohydrate. In a dietary of 2400 calories this would be 240 protein, 720 fat, and 1440 carbohydrate.

The New Cookery (1921) by Lenna Frances Cooper

And, here are the 2021 recommendations (Actually they were published in 2015, but they are the most current recommendations.):

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans (USDA, 2015) recommend that an adult’s total daily calories come from the following:

  • 45–65 percent carbohydrates
  • 10–30 percent protein
  • 20–35 percent fat

Some nutritionists recommend a ratio of 40 percent carbohydrates, 30 percent protein, and 30 percent fat as a good target for healthy weight loss.

A 1,500 calorie diet with 40 percent carbohydrates translates to 600 calories per day from carbs. Using a ratio of 4 calories per gram (g) of carbs, a person on this diet would need to eat 150 g of carbohydrates per day.

This 1,500 calorie diet would also include 450 calories or 112 g of protein, and 450 calories or 50 g of fat per day.

Medical News Today

14 thoughts on “Recommended Percentage of Daily Calories by Nutrient Group: 1921 and 2021

    1. It seems like different people worry about different nutrient groups. I’ve know people on high-carb diets, low-carb diets, high-protein diets, etc. I tend to think that just trying to eat balanced meals is best.

  1. A Healthy Diet
    So 100 years and hundreds of billions of TAXPAYER dollars and we get:
    1. Eat a balanced diet containing items from all food groups.
    2. Do moderate exercise daily.
    3. Get plenty of sleep.
    4. Spend less than you earn.
    And you will live a long, healthy life. The same thing pretty much everyone knew 100 years ago.

    That’s the summary of my 50 plus years of reading and hearing about life. OMG. 50 years?! When I put it like that I feel old. Half the length time your blog is about. Good thing I’m wise and modest.

  2. Pretty obvious that the change in work habits and activity levels is reflected in the dietary recommendations! 100 years ago I’d have been doing laundry by hand and hauling stuff out to the clothes line after making EVERY MEAL from scratch. Of course that would be if I was married. As a single woman I’d probably be doing house cleaning or perhaps factory work… I’d need those extra carbs!

    1. Women worked very hard in days gone by. I don’t know how they did it – yet they also often seemed to find time to actively participate in community groups, have hobbies, etc.

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