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When on a keto diet, it is important to track your daily macronutrient intake to make sure that you do not go over your limits. Too many carbs or too much protein can have a negative effect on your diet and take your body out of ketosis.
Weight loss stalls for people on the keto diet are usually a result of incorrect macro percentages or lack of any kind of tracking. One thing you should know is your macro percentages and what your daily limits are to ensure you remain in ketosis.
We will take a look at what macros are, the ideal macro percentages, and how to count macros for the keto diet.
What Are Macros?
Macros, or macronutrients, are what makes up the caloric content of our food. And learning their values are an essential part of keto dieting.
The three macros to focus on when on the keto diet are carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. All of these have different effects on ketosis depending on your body’s digestion and metabolism.
The caloric combination of the macros is where the total number of calories comes from. A breakdown of these different macros is as below:
- 1 gram of carbohydrates equals 4 calories
- 1 gram of fat equals 9 calories
- 1 gram of protein equals 4 calories
So, it is not about how many calories are in your food and drinks, but rather what kind of calories you are consuming. Even if you have a strict calorie limit, you might be eating meals that have the wrong ratio of macros for your keto diet.
Carbs and, to some extent, proteins, can impact your ketone levels and make it harder to maintain ketosis. Getting your macro requirements right is essential to your keto diet success.
What Is the Ideal Macro Ratio for the Keto Diet?
To find out what your ideal macro ratio is for your keto diet, you first have to understand what percentage of nutrients your body requires for the keto diet.
A keto diet typically requires 60% – 75% of calories from fats. It also needs 15% – 30% of calories from protein, and 5% – 10% of calories from carbs.
Daily Activity Levels and Macros
Another factor you have to consider is the level of your regular daily activity. How active you are throughout the day will have an impact on your macro calculations.
There are five different types of activity levels.
- Sedentary – This is little to no exercise at all usually applies to people who have office jobs such as accountants, customer service workers, and receptionists. It can include some walking during the day but usually involves no formal exercise.
- Lightly active – This includes light exercises such as light cardio (cycling, walking, swimming) for one to three times per week, or people in slightly active jobs where you are on your feet much of the day, such as teachers and nurses.
- Moderate – This is for those who do moderate cardio and strength training is done three or four times a week, or people in moderately active jobs like cooks and waiters.
- Very active – If you do exercises five or more times per week including high-intensity exercises, intense cardio, and muscle training at a high level, then you’re in this stage. This also applies to highly active jobs like construction workers, farmers, and landscapers.
- Athletes or bodybuilders -This is daily exercise at a professional level, such as HIIT training and heavy lifting for several hours a day.
How to Calculate Your Macros
Let’s do the math! Protein intake depends on your lean mass, which is your total weight minus the body fat, and your activity level. If you consume too much protein, it may kick you out of ketosis.
This is because excessive protein will be converted to glycogen, and that will be used by your body instead of burning fat. So it is important to get this right.
To find out your ideal protein intake, all you need to do is multiply your lean body mass by a factor determined by your activity level.
The multiplying factor should be between 0.6 –1.0 grams per pound or 1.3 to 2.2 grams per one kg, where 0.6 is used for a sedentary activity level and 1.0 is used for a high activity level.
As an example, if your weight is 150 pounds and your body fat is 29%, your lean mass weight is calculated as the following:
150 lbs – 29% = 106.5 lbs of lean body mass.
Therefore, your protein intake should be between:
- 106.5 x 0.6 = 63.9 grams of protein (minimum); and
- 106.5 x 1.0 = 106.5 grams of protein (maximum).
Note that the body fat percentage is calculated by adding your waist and hip measurements, and subtracting the neck measurement.
Protein is the most confusing nutrient for many when on the keto diet. You need it for maintaining muscle mass and decreasing your cravings, but too much can kick you out of ketosis.
Make sure you get the right amount by following these calculations and monitoring your daily intake.
On a normal keto diet, you should not consume more than 50 grams of total carbs or 25 – 30 grams of net carbs. Net carbs are total carbs minus any fiber.
Remember that some carbs affect your blood sugar levels more than others. Following such a low-carb intake will help you in getting your body into ketosis and will help maintain it.
This macronutrient has the most effect on your ketosis and eating too much means your body will metabolize the glucose first and you will stop producing ketones.
Fat is the most important factor on a keto diet. Fat is very satiating, and increasing your fat intake will help induce ketosis.
But won’t fat make you fat? This is a myth that many people still don’t understand. Fat does not make you fat, but instead, it can be used as an energy source for your body under the right circumstances.
Here is the suggested fat intake for the keto diet depending on your calorie goals:
- 1, 500 calories: about 83-125 grams of fat per day
- 2, 000 calories: 111-167 grams of fat per day
- 2, 500 calories: 139-208 grams of fat per day
Make sure you know the difference between good and bad fats for keto.
How to Track Your Macros with Software and Apps
Does all this math seem too complicated? Don’t worry because there are some great apps or websites that can help you keep track of your keto macros and calories.
Ruled Me has an online ketogenic calculator that helps you calculate how much you can eat in a day. The calculator, which you can access at ruled.me, is user-friendly and has plenty of information to help you.
It lets you pick what unit of measurement you prefer and asks for your gender. You input your height, age, body fat percentage, activity level, end goals, and preference of intake. It will do the rest for you!
My Macros+ is created by a former bodybuilder that lets you track how much of each nutrient such as fat, protein, and carbs, you can have for the rest of the day. It also lets you save macronutrient limits that you can choose from, meaning it will be good for intermittent fasters or athletes who often change their daily diet.
This reliable application has over 5,000,000 food items to choose from while also providing you with detailed insight on how your diet impacts your goals. Also available for Apple Watch, My Macros+ is a paid app for iOS and Android, but you will surely get more than your money’s worth! Learn more about it here.
This free app lets you input macro counts in a simple Venn diagram on its home screen. It can also help you determine your nutrient breakdowns using the built-in calculator to help you set a reasonable goal.
You can also input your carbs, fats, and protein for every meal to track your trend over time and save the stats for a meal you eat frequently.
The app believes that tracking macronutrients are more helpful than just the calorie count. Learn more about the iOS app here.
Consult A Nutritionist
No app is more reliable than your local registered nutritionist. A nutritionist will help give you tons of useful tips and tricks so that you will have the best experience possible in your diet.
Seeing a nutritionist will be worth it as they can suggest a more personalized diet plan, help you with managing chronic diseases, and give you tips for effective weight loss routines.
Should You Count Macros on Keto?
These macronutrients are equally important as they provide our body with adequate energy and maintain all our body functions. They help us grow, repair, and make us feel good.
You should make it a habit to monitor and manage your macro intake instead of just your calorie count. This is very essential for your low-carb high-fat diet in order to keep track of what you are eating.
Accurately calculating and tracking your macros will ensure you remain in ketosis and see the results you want from your keto diet.