The ketogenic diet requires an understanding of daily macronutrients. Each person's macronutrients vary because of the simple fact that each person is different and so are their goals for the keto diet. You can use our keto macro calculator below to do a simply calculation of the breakdown of keto diet macronutrients you should be eating based on your own body.
Calculating Your Caloric Requirements
Your caloric needs for the ketogenic diet first start off with your daily energy requirements.
Firstly, there is the minimum calories a person needs to stay alive, this is called the basal metabolic rate. This is typically calculated from a person's height, weight, age and sex.
Second, your total daily calorie expenditure is calculated on top of the basal metabolic rate. It is a calculation based on your average daily activity level. It can vary widely from person to person based on how active they are, and this does not just mean exercise level. A more clear picture of what you should enter is the instructions on how to use this keto calculator below.
Using a Keto Calculator to Determine Your Ketogenic Diet Macronutrient Requirements
After the keto calculator does these calorie calculations comes the breakdown of macronutrients from your total daily calories. This is a simplified answer to how you calculate macronutrients for a keto diet, but if you want a more detailed answer then read this. Macronutrients is a fancy word for the major components of your diet: fat, protein and carbohydrates.
Since the ketogenic diet is high fat, most of your calories will come from fat. But you must limit your carbohydrates on keto. Starting off on a ketogenic diet, we recommend sticking to a maximum of 20 net carbohydrates per day. (As you get keto adapted, you might be able to increase the net carbohydrates per day depending on what your body can handle). This is automatically input into the keto macro calculator.
Next comes the amount of protein you eat. On average, a person should eat 1.2 grams of protein for every kg of body weight. This is the amount for maintenance of lean muscle. A person wanting to build muscle will eat more protein, while a person that is treating kidney disease will eat less protein (a lot of protein can be detrimental for those with kidney problems). The protein is determined by the health reasons you input into the keto calculator.
Following protein comes the fat! The amount of fat you eat on a ketogenic diet makes up the rest of the calories from your total daily calorie expenditure calculation. You might hear some people in the ketogenic diet community call the fat in your diet a "lever" because this is what you adjust to meet your calorie needs. Carbs and protein are set by ketosis and health goals, respectively. Fat fills in the rest based on weight loss or daily caloric requirements. The keto macro calculator will determine the amount of fat you need based off these requirements.
Feel free to play with the keto macro calculator to adjust caloric needs based on weights and lifestyles activity levels. You can adjust your weight until you get a certain calorie expenditure, and then calculate your macros from there.
How to Use this Keto Macro Calculator
For a simple macro nutrient calculation:
1) Enter you height, weight, sex and age into the keto calculator
2) Set your average daily activity level
Remember, this is on average.
So if your job is desk work, you walk 3 days a week for 30 minutes and you might do a few house chores here and there, then mark Sedentary.
If your job is standing, you exercise 5 days a week for 30-45 minutes at high intensity, mark Somewhat Active.
If your job is manual construction labor for 8 hours a day, or you do 2-3 hours of very intense exercise 6-7 days a week, then mark Very Active.
3) The Keto Macro Calculator will determine uour Total Daily Calorie Expenditure
Remember, this is on average. So if you eat this same amount every day of the week, yet exercise some days and don't exercise other days, everything should average out (unless your daily activity level changes).
4) Set your net carbohydrates in the Keto Calculator. For beginners to the ketogenic diet, set 20 net carbohydrates as your goal.
The only variances to this are if you are an extremely active person, you may be able to eat more carbohydrates, and if you are a very small person you may have to eat less - but these cases will depend on the person and situations.
Start off with 20 net carbohydrates in your calculations and re-evaluate how you feel after the first week...ie, are feeling that you're in ketosis? If not, lower your net carbohydrates. If so and you're feeling okay, keep your net carbohydrates at 20 grams. Keep in mind that if you exercise a lot you will most likely feel fatigued during exercise as your body adjusts to producing and using ketones. I would not recommend upping your net carbohydrates until you've given your body a chance to adapt at the 3-4 week mark.
5) The Keto Calculator will determine your protein
For a normal person, protein in this keto macro calculator is based off of maintaining muscle at 1.2 grams/kg body weight. Our detailed keto calculator will take other health situations like people with kidney disease, or treating other diseases like cancer, who will eat less protein than this calculates. Bodybuilders will eat more protein.
6) The Keto Calculator determines your fat based on total daily calorie expenditure, net carbs and protein.
7) You can change the calculations to report in grams or % of daily calories.
We recommend writing down both numbers so that you have an idea. If you are tracking calories and macronutrients, then you will most likely track them in grams.
Using the Keto Calculator for Weight Loss
If your goal is to lose weight on the ketogenic diet, you may first want to know your goal weight loss per week. If you know your total daily calorie expenditure, and the amount of weight you want to lose per week, you can play with our keto macro calculator's weight input to give you the calories you should be eating to attain your weight loss goals per day. Then you can calculate your keto macronutrients for the calories necessary for weight loss. We will be creating a more detailed weight loss keto calculator in the future so you can calculate keto weight loss macronutrients directly based on weight loss goals.
If you're looking to lose weight with keto, read our article on why keto is so great for weight loss!
Things to keep in mind
Remember, fat grams are 9 calories/gram; while carbohydrate and protein grams are 4 calories/gram. Fat is way more energy per gram! This also means that when you're making a meal that is high fat, you usually will not eat the same volume as a high carb meal. Rice, potatoes and pasta are fillers in a standard diet, and they make for pretty large serving sizes. Your servings of high fat, low carbohydrate meals will be smaller in volume, to contain the same amount of calories (unless you fill the rest of your plate with low calorie greens like spinach 🙂 Just keep this in mind as you begin the diet 🙂
If you need help with meals, check out our Meal Plan page!
Enjoy using our keto macro calculator! If you have any questions let us know in the comments. Keep an eye out for our detailed keto macro calculator which will allow for more detailed calculations varying protein, as well as weight loss calculations.
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