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Keto 101

How Do I Calculate My Macros?

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

PROTEIN

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.
EXAMPLE:
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.

CARBOHYDRATES

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.

FATS

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, Carb Manager or MyFitnessPal
Videos available on YouTube for setting your Carb Manager and MyFitnessPal up properly to track your personalised macro calculation 🙂

Sophie Laura

Hi! I'm Sophie (Easy Keto Lifestyle). I'm a Certified Nutrition Coach and I help women who struggle with their weight to radically transform their health and body, by living a simple yet delicious ketogenic lifestyle.

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26 Comments

  1. I was following these calculations just fine until the very end when it came to calculating the fats I would need and then figuring out the final percentages of carbs, proteins, and fats. My confusion comes in because you started that you subtract the carb calories + fat calories from your TDEE. However, the TDEE is what is needed to maintain…so if I wanted to lose would I subtract from the TDEE amount -10% or 20% mentioned in step 4? Also any advise on whether to use the -10% or -20% as far as speed of loss?
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Erin. I’m not sure I understand where you’ve become confused?
      You need to find your TDEE from the calculator in Step #2 and just retrieve your ‘Maintenance Calories’ number (I’ve just amended the post to say this). Then from your maintenance calories number you would subtract either 10% or 20% to be in an overall daily caloric deficit.
      I would say to start out by subtracting 10%. When you’ve got your carb and protein macros at the correct amount on the keto diet – carbs becomes your limit, protein is your goal and fat is used as a lever to satiety. After a few days on keto, you’ll become less hungry due to filling up on fats and so your calories will naturally decrease, depending on how you feel. You don’t want to force yourself to eat if you’re not hungry.

        1. Hi Shemecca, your macros are based on your ‘ideal body weight’ – so you’re eating for your goal body weight – which means there’s no need to adjust your macros as you lose weight, your goal stays the same 🙂

  2. At the very very end when it shows all her grams for each macro and converts it to percentage; I’m lost. I think you guys have the wrong percentages, because I’m getting something different. Also, you didn’t show how you got those numbers and I can’t figure it out. I got that her carbs should be 8%, proteins should be 21%, and fats should be 71%.

    1. Oh no, entirely my fault. I provided the very last bit of information as a summary for the whole post, but I used the fat macro against her maintenance TDEE, not her calorie deficit for weight loss ie. 1,826 calories. Which I’ve now amended – thank you for bringing it to my attention :).

      A super easy way to work out the percentages is to just add them into your My Fitness Pal app. You provide your calories and macros in grams and it works the percentages out for you

  3. Hi I’m not sure I calculated mine correct either. I got 20 carbs 72 protean 252 fats. Could that be right?

    1. Hi Tina, that would bring your calories up to 2,636 – which is very high! Your carbs is right, your protein seems right but your fats are super high. If you were working off calories of 1,800 your fats should be 160g

  4. What does 150 grams of fat consist of? If I just drank coffee with butter and heavy cream and had a couple handfuls of almonds everyday would that be enough? I am trying b really hard to lose weight and (from a high protein low fat diet where o stalled to me end due to sugar free carbs) my body is already on the high side of ketosis (working on that with electrolytes and water)

    1. Hi Sherita, a tablespoon of fat has roughly 14g of fat in it. By including 3 tablespoons of fat with each meal (3 meals a day) that’s 126g of fat consumed throughout the course of the day. Then if you drink 2 bulletproof coffees (1 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp MCT oil) that’s another 28g of fat.

      This all totals at 154g of fat each day.

      Foods like nuts contain fat but they also contain protein and carbs which you need to be mindful of. If you’ve found you’re struggling to lose weight you really need to be keeping your carbs to 20g or under each day, and making sure your protein is moderate. This is all provided in this post

  5. I am using carb manager, and calculated my macros using your formulas. Question, I am not sure what I need to enter as my calorie goal into the app (proteins, fats, and carbs I understand). With your example of Emily, would you enter her calorie goal as 1832 or 1522, I am confused on that, thank you.

    1. Hi Renee, with regards to Emily.. her goal is weight loss so we took away 20% of her calories in order to be in a caloric deficit. So she would enter 1,522 calories into her app

  6. WOW !!!! I am confused! My Macros look like this 42-49 gr/protein 20 grams Carbs and 135 gr/fat. I entered my calories 1478/day which is a 20% deficit. What would my percentages be? Thank you!!!

    1. when you input your calories and macros in grams into My Fitness Pal it automatically works out the percentages for you 🙂

  7. Where is the best place to get lists of how many grams of fat/protein/carb each food contains so we can add them up for each day?

    1. Using an app like My Fitness Pal is a great way to input your food each day and it calculates your macros for you – against your macro goals that you input into the app 🙂

  8. Hi Sophie. I just sent in for you to calculate my macros. I want to lose 40-50 lbs. I do not understand the macros. Do I need to way my food before I eat it? Please provide guidance as I know this keto plan will work for me.
    Thanks
    Susan

    1. Hi Susan, I emailed your macros to you yesterday – let me know you received them okay.
      Here’s a post in the group related to macros and calories – also a link to my FB Live video covering it to help you understand how it works for health and weight loss.
      You want to download an app like My Fitness Pal or Carb Manager so you can track your food/macros daily whilst you get the hang of it 🙂
      If you search ‘my fitness pal’ or ‘carb manager’ in the group using the search tool, lots of members have spoken about how they use these apps.
      One day at a time Susan – you’ll do great 🙂

  9. Would you be able to help calculate macros and calories for someone that is breastfeeding? I have been told that I need more protein than fat and at least 1800-2000 calories a day to maintain my milk supply but I am not losing any weight.

    1. Hi Kristin, I’m afraid I haven’t had any experience with pregnancy/breastfeeding and keto so wouldn’t feel confident in doing so. However, there are lots of FB groups specifically for this filled with women who have experienced this first-hand, plus resources etc. and will be able to help you 🙂

  10. Hi I’m currently on Keto and intermittent fasting 16:8. I started at 16st and now 14st. I have plateaued for at least 2 months. I have never calculated my Macros and the only exercise I have is at work I’m always on the move. What do you recommend to kick start weight lose.

    Coral

    1. Hi Coral,
      There are lots of reasons why weight can stall, but without knowing you I’d say, stop intermittent fasting and calculate your macros properly so you know that you’re keeping your carbs to 20g and under coming mainly from green veg that grows above ground, your protein is moderated so excess protein isn’t spiking your insulin and the protein that you’re eating is the fatty cuts of meat only (no chicken breast for example), then you want to be consuming lots of healthy fats coming mainly from quality animals sources and consuming enough calories. Also getting enough sleep and having stress under control

  11. Sophie,

    You calculated my Macros for $10 on Paypal. My son would like his Macros done as he doesn’t think he’s eating enough Carbs. He lifts very heavy weights at the gym five days a week. He is feeling weak.

    Please send me the info as to your website for this.

    Thanks, Ruth

    1. Hi Ruth, I sent your son’s macro calculation report but have just seen your comment here now.
      It’s completely normal to feel weaker in training when first switching to keto, I go to CrossFit training 4x a week and this happened to me, his muscle glycogen has depleted and he’s not replenishing it with carbohydrates anymore. He needs to REALLY ramp his fat intake up (it was 342g on the report which is great) so his body gets used to using this new energy source, it doesn’t happen straight away – the fats need to come mainly from quality animal sources. For his weight lifting, time under tension will get him the best results and allow him to keto-adapt, once he gets through this bit he’ll start feeling better than he ever has done with his training.

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