For your body to reap the benefits of nutritional ketosis and to become fat-adapted and shedding pounds as soon as possible, it’s really important to know your macros (macronutrients – fats, proteins, carbohydrates), individual to your unique body, when starting out on the ketogenic diet.
Some people find this a real pain, but if you do track, even for just a few weeks until you’re fat adapted (ie. when your body prefers to burn fat for energy), you’ll get to grips with your everyday food macros and be able to make better choices resulting in more weight loss and keto health success, without tracking in the long run.
How To Calculate Your Macros – Step by Step
There are a variety of online calculators available to use, however it’s more optimal to go through these specifics we’ve provided for you below. As well as knowing exactly how much carbohydrates, protein and fat you should be consuming, by the end of this article you will also know:
- Your body mass index
- Your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE)
- Your ideal body weight
- Your weight loss goal (if applicable)
These are all great specifics to know, as well as the measurements of your body, to track your progress on your ketogenic journey. Let’s go through this step by step.
#1 YOUR BODY MASS INDEX
Calculating your body mass index is important as weight alone doesn’t provide a clear enough indicator of good health. It’s also great to make a note of these calculations now, and then measure and compare your results as you go along, instead of just relying on the weighing scales.
Find your BMI with the BMI calculator here (Body mass index is a measure of body fat based on your weight in relation to your height, that applies to most adult men and women).
#2 YOUR TOTAL DAILY ENERGY EXPENDITURE (TDEE)
Using this TDEE calculator we can find out how many calories you should be consuming each day, taking into consideration your weight, height, gender and age to understand the baseline number of calories your body needs in order to carry out its vital functions and daily processes as well as exercise which requires extra daily energy.
Note: exercise can include a very physically demanding job also, please take this into account when choosing your activity.
You can find a TDEE calculator here.
Get your ‘Maintenance Calories’ number, write that down and return back to this post.
#3 YOUR IDEAL BODY WEIGHT
From the link above where you’ve just found out your TDEE, below your ‘Maintenance Calories’ number you will find a calculation for your IDEAL BODY WEIGHT. Write your range down, this will help you to work out your protein macro in step 5.
For example; I’m going to create a character, let’s call her Emily.
Emily is a sedentary women with a height of 5ft 8 and weighs 200 lbs – her ideal body weight range is 138 – 141 lbs. Her TDEE is 2,029 calories (maintain).
#4 YOUR KETO GOAL
If you’re not looking to change your weight, you can skip this step.
Emily is looking to change her weight and so she needs to be in a caloric deficit each day; a reduction of 10% of calories is usually a good range to start with for weight loss. To reduce by 10%, multiply your total calorie expenditure by 0.10, then subtract that amount from your total calories. This provides the maximum amount of calories you’ll want to consume each day.
EXAMPLE: Emily’s maintenance TDEE of 2,029 calories – 10% = 1,826 calories (deficit, weight loss)
#5 YOUR MACROS
Our protein calculation is based on the recommendations of Dr. Ron Rosedale who is an internationally known expert in nutritional and metabolic medicine and is with one of the founding fathers of the modern low-carb, high-fat, ketogenic diet community.
To find out the amount of protein you should be consuming specific to your frame and IDEAL BODY WEIGHT range…
Convert your IDEAL BODY WEIGHT range from pounds into kilograms by dividing your weight in pounds by 2.2.
138 lbs ÷ 2.2 = 62.7 kg
141 lbs ÷ 2.2 = 64 kg
Dr. Ron Rosedale, an expert in nutritional and metabolic medicine, advises that those who want to be in nutritional ketosis consume 1 gram of protein per kilogram of ideal body weight.
Therefore the amount of protein that Emily needs to be consuming for her SPECIFIC body is 62.7g – 64g.
You can experiment within your protein range to see what works best for you by testing your ketone levels whilst increasing or decreasing your protein amount e.g. more active days.
We recommend restricting carbs to 20g a day TOTAL (not net carbs!). Here’s why:
Insulin is the master hormone. The first step in budging those difficult pounds as well as addressing many diseases is to get insulin back to its baseline; this is done by restricting dietary carbohydrate intake.
The goal is to reduce carbohydrate intake to less than 20g per day. When this is done correctly, blood sugar drops into the normal range (60 to 100 mg/dl) and fasting insulin returns (over 12 – 24 months for some people) to less than 5 mU/mL.
Fat should make up the rest of your calorie intake – there are 4 calories per gram of protein, 4 calories per gram of carbs and 9 calories per gram of fat, therefore:
CARBS = 20g x 4 = 80 calories
PROTEIN = 64g x 4 = 256 calories
Using Emily’s TDEE of 1,826 calories each day would mean…
1,826 calories – (80 + 256) = 1,490 calories left for fat
To find out the amount of grams of fat I should have each day, I divide 1,490 calories by 9 (calories per gram of fat)
= 166g of fat
However, fat is used as a lever to true hunger, not cravings, don’t force yourself to eat if you’re not hungry. Eat fats until you feel satiated but remember your macro ratios each time you fill your plate up with food.
#6 YOUR MACROS PERCENTAGES
If you have My Fitness Pal premium account you can skip this step and just add in your macros in grams and it automatically gives you the percentages… however, if you have the free account, you have to add in your macros by percentages (grams is for premium users). So, a little quick math with a calculator and you’ll have these figures in no time and ready to track!
Calculation: macro in calories ÷ TDEE (x 100) = percentage
Using Emily’s macro calories this would be…
CARBS = 80 calories ÷ 1826 (x 100) = 4% (20g)
PROTEIN = 256 calories ÷ 1826 (x 100) = 14% (64g)
FATS = 1490 calories ÷ 1826 (x 100) = 82% (166g)
Once you’ve got your macros you can start tracking using an app like, MyFitnessPal
Videos available on YouTube for setting your MyFitnessPal up properly for macro tracking