The keto diet is one of the most popular choices for weight loss these days. Its basic premise is to indulge in foods that are high in fat and very low in carbohydrates. To do so correctly, it helps to be familiar with keto macros.
The idea is for the body to consume its own fat, rather than calories produced from carbohydrates, as its primary source of energy. In time, your body will adapt to the use of body fat as its first choice for energy burning, rather than letting that body fat stick in your hips and thighs.
What does “keto” mean?
Before we continue any further, let’s define the meaning of the term “keto.” “Keto” is the root word of a compound named “ketone.” The textbook meaning of “ketone” is: “an organic compound (as acetone) with a carbonyl group attached to two carbon atoms.”
How does this definition apply to ketogenic dieters?
In the ketogenic diet world, the meaning of the word “ketone” refers to the compound that is produced during the process of energy consumption in the human body.
Typically, your body will produce energy by burning the carbohydrates found in the foods you consume. However, when there are not enough carbohydrates left to burn as energy, your body will opt to burn fat, instead.
As your body uses its own fat storage to get energy, it will release the organic compounds known as “ketones” in the process. Therefore, the presence of ketones in the urine, or the bloodstream, typically indicates that the body is going through the process of burning fat for energy. This entire process is known as “Ketosis.” It typically happens when a person starves or when macronutrients are well balanced into what is known as keto macros.
The Keto Macros
While it sounds like a straightforward plan, “eat carbs, not fat,” the reality is that other compounds found in foods play an equally important role in the production of energy and of muscle mass, both of which contribute to fat loss. These compounds are called “macronutrients,” or “macros.”
Hence, macros are, by definition, “a type of food required in large amounts in the diet.”
As you can imagine, the majority of the most-commonly found nutrients in food are macronutrients. That said, the key macronutrients that the keto diet will focus on are:
So what are the keto macros? The synonym question for a lot of people is: How do I know how to calculate macros for weight loss in the keto diet? Look no further. Here are some simple methods suggested by some of the most avid keto dieters and gym adepts alike.
These tips will help you, too, without the need of sacrificing so much or having to get an unreliable, generic keto macros calculator.
Calculating the Keto Macros:
For the everyday dieter, the easiest way to calculate keto macros is by using a macro calculator. However, not all calculators follow the same formulas, and some may throw you off the path of success by not calculating all the factors needed for a good weight loss plan.
The reason why you need to follow the steps below is that your keto macros are entirely inherent for your body weight, body mass index, body fat percentage, age, height, level of energy, and even gender (Remember that time of the month? It matters, too!)
Therefore, you can use the following guide as your keto macros calculator formula, but you need to apply it to your very own, unique, “body numbers.”
It goes like this:
• Get 60-75% (or more) of your total daily calories from fat
• Get 15-30% of your total daily calories from protein
• Get 5-10% of your total daily calories from carbs
This cannot be emphasized enough: Everybody has a different caloric intake requirement based on their weight, muscle mass, and fat percentage. Please do not use generic calculators based on universal formulas. Do the work yourself; it will pay off in the end.
So, here are the steps to follow a successful plan that helps you calculate macros in your keto diet. This guide will focus on the macronutrients of calories, net carbs, protein, and fat.
The steps to calculate keto macros
Step 1: Weigh Yourself
The first step to accurately calculate macros is knowing exactly how much you weigh. Most of the total recommended macronutrient grams will either be:
- A gram per each pound you weight, or
- A percentage of your total body weight
As you can see, entering your weight is the essential part of the process.
PS: It is a good idea to weigh yourself at the same time, once per week. That would be best done first thing in the morning when you have an empty stomach.
Step 2: Measure your Body Fat and Mass
Body Fat Percentage (BFP) and Body Mass Index (BMI) are not the same things. According to Livestrong, the BMI is the most common tool used by health practitioners to determine whether a patient is overweight or at risk of developing weight-related conditions.
Like BMI, BFP also determines whether you are overweight or not, but it focuses entirely on how much excess fat, rather than overall “mass,” is actually stored in your body.
Both formulas are essential to consider your macronutrient needs. If your BMI and BFP are low, you may want to consider increasing specific macronutrients, such as protein and fat. If your numbers are high, you may want to consider lowering your calorie and fat intake.
The formula for BMI:
- Multiply your weight in pounds x 703
- Write down your height in inches.
- Multiply your height in times time itself again (ex: 64 x 64)
- Divide The total from #1 and the total from #3
- The total would be your Body Mass Index
The issue: If you are an athlete, bodybuilder, or have a lot of lean muscle mass, the BMI readings may not be for you. You will obviously have more body mass, not necessarily related to obesity or fat.
Therefore, consider whether you will include your BMI in your macronutrient count, based on the following scale:
Scales for BMI:
- 18.5 or less- underweight
- 18.5-24.9 - normal
- 25.0-29.9 - overweight
- 30.0 or higher - obese
The formula for Body Fat Percentage:
- Write down your BMI
- Divide your BMI by your Body Weight
- The remaining number should be your fat mass.
Step 3: Determine How Many Calories You Will Eat
You may have heard that many diets advise users to consume between 1,200 to 1,600 calories, depending on physical activity, to start a weight loss process. You can start there, or you can use the knowledge of “calories per macro” to do your own math.
- Protein: 4 calories per gram
- Carbs: 4 calories per gram
- Fats: 9 calories per gram
That said, track your food intake for one week, and weigh yourself before and after. Determine, from your tracker, what is the amount of calories that best works for you.
Then, follow this formula: For a “moderate” weight loss of 1 pound per week, take away 500 calories from your total. Also, consider your energy expenditure. If you are highly active and always “on the go,” you will need extra calories in your calorie budget.
Step 4. Determine Your Protein Macros:
This is simple math. For your daily protein intake, calculate 1 gram for every pound you weigh. So, if you weigh 200 pounds, consider 200 grams of lean protein. The ideal amount of protein consumption, as far as macros go, would be between 0.8 and 1.3 grams per pound.
Step 5. Determine your Fat Macros
The formula for fat macros also depends on your weight and body fat percentage, as previously explained. Typically, a nutritionist would calculate your total daily calories and determine that 15% to 40% will come from fat. However, for a keto diet, the idea is to consume 60% or more of your daily calories from fat.
This is what makes keto appealing to people who enjoy eating meats, cheese, and other fatty foods. Just remember that there are other foods with high-fat content that can be consumed in place of meat and cheeses, such as fish oils, seafood, nuts, and plant-based meat alternatives.
Step 6. Determine Your Carbohydrate Macros
Here is where the magic begins. The keto diet is all about counting carbs, and keeping their consumption as limited as possible. Based on the formula shared at the beginning of this guide, the ideal keto consumption of carbohydrates is 5-10% of all your daily food intake.
To be on the safe side, stick to 20 grams of net carbs, or less, per day. Most common keto diet plans have dieters start at 16 grams of net carbs per day. As they lose weight and achieve their goals, they can start a maintenance plan with more carbs per day, always keeping a close watch at how much is too much.
What happens next?
You now know where you are regarding weight goals, and you also see what you need. Here are some tips for you to continue the good work, besides knowing your keto macros:
- Drink plenty of water - You will see tremendous fluctuations regarding weight loss, which will depend almost entirely on how much water you take in.
Remember that the keto diet sometimes lets you indulge in foods with high sodium which can lead to water retention, constipation and much more. Always make sure to balance out sodium and water intake to avoid keto flu.
- Walk! Dance! Move! - Our bodies are made for movement. You do not need a gym subscription, nor do you have to become a bodybuilder to fight fat. Something as simple as walking can help you achieve the caloric deficiency that you need to lose that one pound per week.
- Relax - Keto is not a crash diet. It is a lifestyle. If you are overweight, you will see quick results. However, you need to stay the course and continue to count your keto macros along the way. It will get easier. You will become adapted. It is just the way our bodies are built.
You are now equipped to start your very own journey into the keto way of life.
First, you need to know where you are weight-wise, to start a clear path.
Second, you know that each macro is equally vital to the ketosis process. For this reason, you need to consider your weight, BMI, and BFP equally to determine your needs for accurate and healthy keto macros calculations.
Third, you know now about the importance of water, fiber, and movement. These are the things you can do and obtain for free and are great for your body. Try these tips today and congratulations on your journey to a new "you."