I downloaded John's great Excel spreadsheet and have been faithfully keeping track of all my nutrient intake. My question is this: The formula that adds up the Carb percentages for the day does not take into account sugar & fiber. Should it? This is not a "knock" on the spreadsheet, and I have made good progress in two weeks using it, but I am just wondering if I could be a little more accurate counting sugar and fiber as carbs. Thanks in advance for any suggestions!

Sure it does. The "Carbs" column, upon which the percentage is based, is TOTAL carbs, which includes all sugar, fiber and "hidden" carbs.

Sorry John, I am still looking at it the formula, and I do not quite understand (no math wiz here obviously). It takes the total of the carb column, multiplies that by 4 then is divided by total calories? Where do the sugar and fiber get factored in? Thanks for your patience. Mike

No problem at all. The "sugars" and "fiber" columns contain the number of grams of each, but the "Carbs" column contains the TOTAL of ALL the carbs, including the sugars and fiber. So the sugar and fiber columns contain "breakout" values (meaning these values are already included in the total carbs column). Same goes for the "fat" and "sat fat" columns. "Fat" is the TOTAL amount of fat INCLUDING the sat fat, and "Sat fat" column contains a breakout of the number of grams of sat fat. That's why "sat fat", "sugars" and "fiber" are expressed parenthetically in the column headers. Am I making any sense at all?

Hmmm.... I think an example will help: 1 Oz Planters Unsalted Dry Roasted Peanuts 160 calories 14g fat 2g sat fat 6g Carb 7g Fiber 1g sugar 8g protein So does the Carb count already include the fiber and sugar, OR do I have to take the total, in this case: 14g (6carb + 7fiber + 1sugar) and put it in the carb column? In other words, in the spreadsheet carb column, do I put down what the label tells me (6g) or the 14g? Thanks again John!

I certainly see why you are confused. I hate the way nutritional information is labeled with no real set standards. Let's look at what it says: 160 Total Calories, of that: 14 grams total fat * 9 calories per gram = 126 calories from fat 8 grams protein * 4 calories per gram = 32 calories from protein So, we're already up to 158 of the 160 calories that are supposed to be in one serving, but with 6 grams of carbs in there, that should be another 24 calories in carbs....and what about the 7 grams of fiber carbs? I'll bet they are subtracting the 7 grams of fiber carbs (non-soluble), from the 6 reported, and adding back the sugar carb, which puts us at 0 effective carbs and still 158 calories. That's the only way I can figure that would make any sense, but honestly I'm a little puzzled, too. Anyone have anything to add here?

Yeah, I think that's right. There aren't any calories in non-soluble fiber, so it makes sense to subtract those. They probably rounded down the sugar carb from a gram and a half, or something of that nature.

John, thanks for your time on this. I looked at your spreadsheet and I will just keep track of the numbers the way you did. If it says 6g of carbs on the label, I'll just use 6g in the carb column. Your numbers for 1oz of peanuts and my number for peanuts are about the same. It obviously worked for you! I think it will work for me, it already has, so far. Mike

the funny thing about his spreadsheet, or any method of tracking cals will show you how off the manufacturers are on their nutrition labels. add up your %s for protein/carb/fat and usually it will come out to be over 100%. nutrition labels just arent 100% accurate unfortunately. ive seen things that have a certain caloric count, but the macronutrient breakdown just doesnt add up. when i see that type of blatant misinformation, i usually steer clear of those products in the future.

Given that the nutritional label is mandated by federal law I don't think the manufacturers are allowed to slip up much. I'm pretty sure they have a set of macronutrients they must report on. The rest they may not have to. I like to think this is what makes up the calorie gap (or surplus!) that we see. Then again the FDA (or USDA?) is probably just as ineffective as most other government agencies. But let's not start a flame war...

So then, which calorie count to use? It seems we all agree that nutrition labels are confusing and subject to some level of interpretation. It's especially interesting around my house right now because my wife is doing Atkins and has to figure out the "net carbs" (some calculation that subtracts the "carbs that don't count" from the "total carbs") for everything. My question around this topic focuses on which version of the "truth" we should be using for calorie counts. The two calculations I have for determining daily caloric needs (TDEE - total daily energy expenditure; also known as "maintenance level") are based on determining the BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) and then multiplying that by a figure for Activity Level. These calculations are in calories An example (me): Weight: 210.8 LB Body Fat: 22.5% Lean Body Mass: 163.4 LB BMR (using Harris-Benedict): 2013 calories BMR (using Katch-McArdle): 1974 calories TDEE (using average BMR times moderate activity factor (1.55)): 3090 Daily Calorie Limit (80% of TDEE): 2472 My Ratio (Carb / Prot / Fat): 55 / 30 / 15 Daily Grams (Carb / Prot / Fat): 340 / 185 / 41 So far, so good. Now (finally ) the question. When I complete my day, I add up the Calories, Carb grams, Protein grams, and Fat grams (from labels (where available) and from food databases (where needed) of everything consumed. I find that the number of calories is too low when the Carb/Prot/Fat is dead on - is this normal? Should I be trying to hit the Daily Calorie Limit (in proper ratios) or should I be trying to hit the Carb/Prot/Fat grams? Example (my intake from Friday) 329.6 / 185.8 / 41.7 = 2437 calories. However, adding up the calories of the intake is only 2310. Any advice is appreciated.

I wasn't able to download the spreadsheet. It just keeps returning me to the home page. I am logged in (or I wouldn't be able to post here). Could somebody help me out here?