Calculating Macros on a Keto Diet: What You Need to Know

calculating macros keto diet

The ketogenic (keto) diet focuses mostly on macronutrient intake. More specifically, the diet involves eating macros in a carefully determined ratio to help you reach a metabolic state called ketosis. 

While you can simply follow standardized macro ratios, it's best to make things more personal. Why? Because you'll experience greater success when you make the diet match your gender, age, weight, activity levels, and health. With that being said, here's what to keep in mind when calculating your macros. 

About Keto Macros 

Macronutrients are a special class of nutrients that you need to eat in relatively large amounts. They include fats, carbs, and proteins but some consider water and fiber also to be macros. Macros give your body energy and serve as building blocks for tissue, hormones, and enzymes. 

When talking about keto macros, however, what most people are referring to are ratios based on calorie intake most of which look like this: 

· 5-10% Carbs 
· 20-25% Protein 
· 70-80% Fat 

If you follow this ratio for at least 4 days, you will reach ketosis. Continue this regimen for several weeks and you'll become keto-adapted, which means your body will be burning fat with ease. 

While the above macros ratio example works well for most dieters, it may not work as well for athletes and highly-active people. The formula also doesn't include daily calorie recommendations or what food sources of these macros work best on keto. 

Pay Attention To Net Carbs 

Besides sticking to the above ratios, you also need to be careful with your net carb intake. 

Net carbs are what you get when you subtract fiber measured in grams from a food's total carb weight (Total carbs – fiber = net carbs). Net carbs impact blood glucose levels and inhibit ketosis. Fiber, on the other hand, has no effect on blood glucose whatsoever. But it does feed beneficial gut bacteria, supports gut motility, and provides many health benefits, which is why you need more fiber even on keto. That's not the case with net carbs. 

As a general rule, keeping your net carb intake to below 50 grams per day should be enough to put you into ketosis. This seems to work for most people. However, if you're sedentary or have metabolic problems, you may need to lower your carb intake even more to around 20 grams per day. 

Calculating Your Macros 

To get your personalized keto macros, you can either use a keto calculator or do your own tweaking after you've thoroughly researched the diet. Many keto websites now feature a keto calculator to help dieters determine their exact macronutrient ratios and calorie intake based on their data and goals. However, most of these calculators are based on the standard ketogenic diet (SKD). 

For highly-active dieters, a cyclical ketogenic diet (CKD) is one of the best options. It involves carbing-up once or twice a week and alternating with standard keto eating. On the CKD, you should eat more carbs (up to 150 grams) before or immediately after your workouts. Carbs are essential for optimizing testosterone levels, for growth hormone production, and for IGF-1 (Insulin-like growth factor 1) – a hormone that's central to muscle growth. 

What About Macros Quality? 

As long as you're eating lots of fat and little carbs, you'll definitely enter ketosis. If you lower your calorie intake (by reducing the amount of fat you're eating), you'll also lose weight along the way. However, if you want to maintain good health and make this diet easier, macros/food quality is paramount. 

The usual advice is to stick to butter, olive oil, fatty fish, and fatty cuts of organic meat. On the other hand, avoid partially-hydrogenated oils and trans fats. You also want to limit processed foods and choose low-carb vegetables for best results. This way, you'll get most out of your macros without having to worry about health. 

Ketosis Conclusion 

While you can follow standard keto macros recommendations, it's best to tweak them to meet your specific goals, needs, and limits. People come in all shapes and sizes, and one size fits all won't work as well as personalized eating plans. 

For the most part, you'll have to calculate your keto macros using a keto calculator or adjusting your macros based on your results. If you're not in ketosis – lower your carbs further. If you're achy after workouts – boost your carb intake. Keto macros aren't written in stone, so make changes if necessary.

I hope you enjoyed this article about how to calculate your macronutrients on a keto diet while on a small budget

Interested in more articles about frugal nutrition? 

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