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Get excited about nutrition, and learn as you go with these information-packed resources on a wide variety of nutrition-centric topics! Our bistroMD experts review the importance of the macronutrients protein, fat, and carbohydrates, as well as how to make them work most efficiently for you.

How A Dietitian Decides if a Food is Good for You

Find out what measures a dietitian uses to assess whether a certain food is good for you, or not with these tips.

How A Dietitian Decides if a Food is Good for You


A healthful diet should consist of 20-35% of calories from fat (400 to 700 calories), especially from monounsaturated fats. Saturated fats should not exceed more than 7% of total daily calories or less than 140 calories (16 grams). Trans fat should be limited to 1% or less than 20 calories (2 grams).


The general recommendation for cholesterol is limiting intake to 300 milligrams per day.


Recommendations suggest healthy adults should get 45-65% of calories from carbs or 900 calories (225 grams) and 1,300 calories (325 grams) per day based on percentage range.


Protein varies based on gender, age, activity level, and body weight. However, adults are encouraged to consume 10 to 35% of calories from protein – about 46 grams for women and 56 grams for men.

Serving Size

The numbers are based on the serving size, not the entire package. The serving size is the amount of food or drink generally served while the servings per container reflects how many servings are in the package's entirety.


Sodium intake is generally recommended to less than 2,300 mg per day. As a general rule, look at the Percent Daily Value (%DV). 5% DV or less of sodium per serving is low while 20% DV is high.


Recommendations suggest a fiber intake of 38 grams per day for men and 25 grams per day for women.


Limit the amount of added sugars. Men should be limited to 150 calories (38 grams or 9 teaspoons) and women 100 calories (25 grams or 6 teaspoons) per day from added sugars. To determine if sugars were added, take advantage of the ingredient label.

Sydney Lappe's Photo
Written By Sydney Lappe, MS, RDN. Published on March 11, 2016. Updated on May 18, 2016.


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