Are you ready to master the keto diet? Great! Lets go step-by-step on how to calculate your macro needs to cut carbs, burn fat and achieve real results!
The ketogenic diet is a high fat, moderate protein, low carbohydrate diet. The idea behind this approach is to put the body into the metabolic state known as ketosis.
Ketosis is the state your body enters when you no longer have enough glycogen sugar to meet your energy needs. With sugar out of the way your body has no choice but to turn to fat for fuel. Your liver converts its fat reserves into ketones as an alternative form of energy which is why the keto program is such an effective diet to burn off unwanted fat and lose weight.
Keto Diet Macros Explained
“Macros” or macronutrients are the building blocks of all the foods you eat and drink. They include carbs, protein and fat; which are the nutrients where all of our calories come from, each one playing a unique role in supporting your health and fitness goals.
The typical macro ratio on the keto diet is:
5% of calories coming from carbs
25% of calories coming from protein
70% of calories coming from fat
The plan for this macro range is to put you into a state of ketosis, so that your body turns to fat for fuel instead of sugar.
The calories for 1 gram of each macronutrient are as follows: Carbs - 4 calories Protein - 4 calories Fat - 9 calories
Step 1. Determine Your Calorie Needs
Your nutrition and calorie needs first begin with your fitness goal. Is your goal to lose weight, maintain your weight or even gain weight?
Weight Lose - requires a calorie deficit
Maintain Weight - requires the right amount of calories
Weight Gain - requires a calorie surplus
Your Daily Caloric Needs
To determine the number of calories you require each day click here for a free easy to use Calorie Calculator. Take note of the calories/day that fit your goal. If you are unsure, a safe healthy goal to target is losing 1lb per week. Then come back to continue with the next steps.
Action Item Take note of your daily calorie needs based on your goal eg 1700 daily calories; weight loss goal
Step 2. Determine Your Carb Needs
Knowing your daily carb intake on the keto diet is by far the most important step.
The whole point of the keto diet is to put your body into the state of ketosis. And to do this your carb intake needs to be less then 50 grams per day and can go as low as 20 grams per day. But your individual needs may vary based on your goals and circumstances.
Guidelines To Estimate Your Starting Carb Needs
Calorie range <2,000 calories/day: 20 grams of carbs/day
Calorie range 2,000-2,500 calories/day: 25-30 grams of carbs/day
Calorie range >2,500-3,000 calories/day: 30-35 grams of carbs/day
Calorie range >3,000 calories/day: 35-50 grams of carbs/day
If you are just getting started with the keto diet or have had troubling sticking to it in the past; start at 50 grams of carbs per day. Then every 2-3 weeks assess your results and slowly reduce your carbs.
Losing 1lb+ per week - remain at 50 grams per day
Losing less then 1lb per week - reduce carbs by 5-15 grams per day
Gaining weight - reduce carbs by 5-15 grams per day
Action Item To get your daily carb calorie needs multiple your total daily carbs by 4 - take note of this number eg 20g x 4 = 80 daily calories from carbs
Step 3. Determine Your Protein Needs
Protein intake is also important, as protein is the essential building block that builds and repairs muscle tissues. Not only does it promote lean muscle growth but it also helps curb your hunger. Make sure to include a protein source in every meal.
Guidelines To Estimate Your Starting Protein Needs
Maintain Weight - 0.6g per pound of body weight per day
Weight Loss - 0.9g per pound of body weight per day
Gain Muscle - 1.1g per pound of body weight per day
If you are active and exercising, you can also estimate your starting protein needs based on your activity level. In general, as you increase your activity level, your protein intake should also increase.
Little or No Exercise - 0.6g per pound of body weight per day
Moderate exercise 2+ days per week - 0.9g per pound of body weight per day
Hard exercise 3+ days per week - 1.1g per pound of body weight per day
Action Item To get your daily protein calorie needs multiple your total daily carbs by 4 - take note of this number eg 135g x 4 = 540 calories from protein
Step 4. Determine Your Fat Needs
Last but definitely not least, your fat intake is calculated based on your remaining calories.
There are four main types of fat found in today’s diet of foods developed from plants and animals: monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, trans fats, and saturated fats. Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are considered to be the “good” fats, as they provide you with healthy benefits.
Good fats improve the health of your heart, brain and help to keep you feeling full longer by supplying you a steady stream of energy. Fats are known to protect against diabetes, some forms of cancer and high blood pressure.
Guidelines To Determine Your Fat Needs
1. Add your daily carb and protein calories needs together from Step 2 & 3
2. Subtract this daily carb and protein calorie needs total you just calculated from your total daily calorie needs in Step 1
3. Divide your remaining daily calories by 9 to get how many grams of fat you need per day
Action Item To get your daily fat calorie needs add your daily carb and protein calories needs together and subtract from your total daily calorie needs eg 1700 daily calories - (80 carb calories + 540 protein calories) = 1080 daily calories remaining Now divide your daily remaining calories by 9 1080 / 9 = 120 gram of fat per day
Your Keto Diet Macro Percentages
To wrap up lets circle back the typical keto diet macro ratio to make sure your calorie needs fit in the range as intended. To calculate your macro percentages simply divide the calories from each macro into your daily calorie needs and multiply by 100%
(80/1700) x 100% = 4.7% of calories from carbs
(540/1700) x 100% = 31.8% of calories from protein
(1080/1700) x 100% = 63.5% of calories from fat
The total amount should equal 100% (4.7 + 31.8 + 63.5 = 100).
The keto diet is a great way to lose weight, improve your health, and feel better about yourself. It's a diet that is easy to follow and stick to. Yes it does require you to be mindful of your macronutrients, especially carbs. But with a little practice and nutrition know-how, you can easily master this skill!
Now, if you want to avoid all the work required in calculating your own macros, get the shortcut right here...