Depending on a person's activity levels, carbohydrate intake should range between 45 and 65 percent of a person's daily caloric limit, notes Mayo Clinic. For a 2,000 calorie diet, this is between 225 and 325 grams. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggests this high amount because carbohydrates are the body's primary source of fuel.
Some carbohydrates are better than others, and Mayo Clinic advises people to avoid unhealthy carbohydrates such as sugar and processed starches in favor of healthy choices that include whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Refined carbohydrates and added sugars negatively impact a person's health and contribute to weight gain, diabetes, tooth decay and malnutrition.
Healthy carbohydrates found in whole foods provide essential vitamins and nutrients to the body and are often an excellent source of fiber. Examples include beans, legumes and leafy greens. Fiber is also beneficial because it slows digestion and helps people to feel full longer. Several diets promote a low-carbohydrate lifestyle as a way to achieve weight loss, but Mayo Clinic says that carbs have been unfairly targeted and do not lead to weight gain when they are eaten in their healthiest forms. It is true that eating more carbohydrates than the body burns for energy in a day causes the body to store the excess as fat tissue, so it is important to accurately gauge how many carbohydrates a person needs to maintain a healthy weight.