What is 40 40 20

Published: Tuesday, January 20, 2009 By: John

The guideline 40-40-20 is a simple way to look at recommended percentages of carbohydrates, protein and fats in our daily diets. Bill Phillips, in his book "Body for Life," made that guideline very popular. His Web site, www.billphillips.com, also has some great stories of transformations and tools that can help you with improving your diet.

Do you want to lose weight or just simply improve your eating habits? Can you do it or is it too difficult for you? Most diet plans are too difficult. The major thing people struggle with in a fitness program is eating properly - or not even addressing nutrition at all.

Please, no excuses about whatever you're thinking at the moment. So, let's go.

The basics are that most women need any where from 1,400 to 1,600 calories per day and men generally need between 1,600 and 2,200 calories per day. These are average numbers, but factors of size and activity levels will change your caloric requirements.

Here's an example based on a 2,000-calorie diet:

  1. Forty percent of your calories should come from carbohydrates, in this case 800 calories. (There are 4 calories per gram of carbohydrate.) So simply divide 800 by 4 and that will give you 200 grams of carbohydrates for the day.
  2. Forty percent of your calories should come from protein. (Protein also has 4 calories per gram.) So you will need take the 800 calories again and divide it by 4 as well giving you 200 grams of protein daily.
  3. Twenty percent of your calories should come from fat, or the remaining 400 calories divided by fats (9 calories per gram). This equals roughly 45 grams of fat for the day.
  4. Lastly, just put it together. Divide the amount of carbs, protein and fat throughout 4-5 meals for the day and you're good to go.


Please, if I can be of any help to you or answer questions let me know.

John Karesh is a certified personal trainer and owner of Paradise Personal Training in Carmel. You may e-mail him at john@pptcarmel.com.

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