How To Set My Macros For Keto Diet

Both the Keto Diet and the idea of macros have taken the fitness industry by storm. So we are going to bring the best of both worlds and lay out the details of Keto Diet macros. With nutrition being one of the most (if not the most) important building blocks of health, it’s important to know what you are getting into. Especially when it comes to big diet and nutrition changes. 

So when it comes to understanding Keto Diet macros, we first have to look at the building blocks of Keto. Then we can determine what are the best Keto diet macro ratios for you are your specific health goals. So let’s get into it. 

What The Keto Diet Is

The Keto Diet is a big trend in fitness and diet communities. This diet has been turning heads because of its high-fat content. For this diet, you actually consume a ratio of 75% fat, 15% protein, and 10% carbs.

On a normal, higher carb diet, the body will use glucose as the main form of energy. By lowering the intake of carbs you induce a metabolic state known as ketosis.

Ketosis is a natural process of the body that works as a “backup generator” if food intake is low. During this state, we produce ketones. As fats break down in the liver the production of ketones begins. The end goal of a properly maintained Keto Diet is to force your body into this metabolic state. You don’t do this through starvation of calories but starvation of carbs.
The first method of entering ketosis is Endogenous Ketone Production. This means that your body is producing ketones because there is a lack of carbs. This is the tried and true method of entering ketosis. The second method of entering ketosis is Exogenous Ketone Supplementation. Where you take supplements that contain ketones to help you reach ketosis. However, for sustained ketosis, endogenous ketone production is your best bet. 

Setting Keto Diet Macros

Macronutrients are important on a Ketogenic Diet because you want to get your body used to metabolizing fat as an energy source, instead of carbohydrates. To do this effectively, you must also restrict carbohydrates at the same time. Protein is a building block which your body requires but doesn’t directly translate into energy.

Calculating Macros For Keto 

Follow the guidelines below to calculate the macros that will be the best for your Keto Diet. First, it is important to understand the appropriate amount of calories that you should be consuming. You can do this by calculating your BMR to then understand your TDEE. Once calories are sorted out, we can move on to the break down of Keto macros. 

1.) Getting Your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) 

Your BMR is essentially the base amount of calories your body needs to generally operate. Think of essential body operations, like your heart beating, that need calories (or energy) to function. Everyone’s BMR is different and greatly depends on a variety of factors, such as age, gender, weight, and height. However, you can get a general idea of your BMR by using the Mifflin-St.Jeor Formula. 

  • BMR for men = 66 + (6.2 x Your current weight in pounds) + (12.7 x Height in inches) – (6.76 x Age)
  • BMR for women = 655.1 + (4.35 x Weight in pounds) + (4.7 x Height in inches) – (4.7 x Age)

2.) Understanding Your TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure) 

Know that if we understand what your body’s base calorie threshold is, we can understand the bigger caloric picture. With TDEE, we are not only calculating your base energy needs but we now also take into account your daily activity level. 

To calculate, take your BMR number and multiply it by your estimated TDEE. 

  • Little to no exercise: x 1.2 
  • Light exercise 1–3 days per week: x 1.375
  • Moderate exercise 3–5 days per week: x 1.55
  • Hard exercise 6–7 days per week: x 1.725
  • Intense Daily Exercise: x 1.9 

3.) Understanding Your Body’s Composition (Calculating Lean and Fat Mass) 

Although it may not seem important to know your body fat and lean mass percentages, it is really integral to understanding the bigger nutrition picture. Getting an idea of where you’re at lean mass and fat mass wise is important because of your body’s different energy needs. 

Lean mass requires energy even when you are not being active. Meaning, that even at rest, lean mass burns a certain amount of calories (or energy).  Therefore, if you have a higher lean muscle mass then you will need a higher caloric intake. Also, if you have a lower lean muscle mass and higher fat mass, your body’s composition requires fewer calories. 

How To Boost Your Metabolic Rate With Nutrition and Training

There are many ways to calculate your body composition. Here are a few ways that you can find out yours: 

  • Skinfold Calipers: This is a method that many people have encountered in their local gym.  Calipers work by pinching external body fat in several places around your body. Therefore, measuring how much skinfold can be grasped by the caliper’s arms.  Mathematical calculations of the results determine the fat mass in your entire body.
  • Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA): This works by sending a small electrical current into the body. and measuring the opposition of that current (impedance) as it travels throughout the body’s water. Unlike other methods, a technician does not always need to be present at a BIA test, and you can use BIA devices with just by following the directions on the device.
  • DEXA Scan (Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry): A medical test that involves lying on a table while a machine sends X-rays through your body. It measures the difference in the amount of energy initially going through the body and the amount of energy after it exits the body.
  • ShapeScale: ShapeScale uses both weight and volume measurements to give comprehensive and accurate feedback on your overall health & fitness. Volume measurements are comparable to underwater weighing. We use similar predictive models to calculate not only your overall but also localized body fat and lean mass metrics. 

4.) Your Caloric Intake Based On Goals

You can manipulate your caloric intake to both lose weight and also gain mass (lean mass, hopefully).

If you are looking to lose weight the name of the game ‘running a caloric deficit’. Meaning that your body is burning more calories than you consume. 

  • Caloric Deficit: A good range of calorie reduction is about 10 to 20 percent. Therefore, you can calculate your caloric deficit by reducing your TDEE by about 10-20%. To do this, simply multiply your TDEE by 0.9-0.8.

Meanwhile, if your goal is to pack on mass and encourage the creation of lean muscle, you need a caloric surplus. Good news, you get to eat more than what you burn! 

  • Caloric Surplus: A calorie increase of 5% is a general range to build muscles. You can calculate your caloric surplus by multiplying your TDEE by 1.05. 

5.) Calculating Keto Diet Carbs

As you probably already know, the Keto Diet is an extremely low carb diet. The average North American grain heavy diet contains many more carbs in comparison. The average carb range is about 40-50 grams of carbs per day.

However, the Keto Diet requires your carb intake to be a maximum of 5-10% of your daily calories. You can calculate your carbs by using the following formula: 

  • TDEE x (% of calories) / 4 = Grams of Carbs Per Day

For example: If your TDEE is 1200 calories your carbs calculation would look like this…

    • 1200 x (0.10) / 4 = 30 grams of Carbs

6.) Calculating Protein For Keto Diet

For the Keto Diet, protein is the grey area. Keto is largely ruled by the extreme of low carbs and high fat. However, being precise about your protein intake is just as important. Because your calculated protein range can make or break your success with Keto. This is due to the fact that protein is a building block to gaining lean muscle. Even if your goal is to lose weight, through exercise you’ll be gaining a certain amount of lean muscle. In order to maintain lean muscle, you are going to want the appropriate protein intake. 

A general rule of thumb is to have protein take up 20-25% of your daily calories for Keto. Also, you need to consume a certain amount of protein for the amount of lean mass you have. Below is a list of protein per pound you should consume considering your activity levels and goals. 

  • Sedentary: 0.6 to 0.8 grams to pound of lean muscle 
  • Lightly Active:  0.8 to .10 grams to pound of lean muscle 
  • Goal of Muscle Gain: 1.0 to 1.2 grams to pound of lean muscle 

To calculate the number of calories of protein you should consume you can use the following process.  Determine the range for your protein needs and calculate needed protein in grams. Then to calculate protein in the number of calories, take your protein gram number and multiply it by 4. 

For example, someone who is 135 pounds has 115 pounds of muscle and is lightly active would need 92 grams of protein. Those 92 grams of protein multiplied by 4 (roughly how many calories are in a gram) is 368. Therefore, this person would have a target of 368 calories of protein per day. 

7.) Calculating Keto Diet Fat 

Now, on to the main event, let’s calculate your fat intake. For a Keto Diet, fat needs to take up 70-80% of your diet! This is the easiest calculation because it’s essentially a process of elimination. To calculate your needed fat intake, subtract your needed protein and carb intake from your TDEE and there you have it. 

For example, your protein intake is 368 calories, your carb intake is 120, and your TDEE is 1200. Therefore, your needed fat intake is 712 calories. 

Keto Diet Friendly Foods

Keto Breakfast Foods 

Egg Muffin Breakfast Cups 

Low in carbs and high in protein, these simple eggs cups are the perfect easy make-ahead breakfast for on the go. Baked in a muffin tin, you can customize them to your tastes for maximum flavor!

Lemon Blackberry Scones

Berry-loaded scones are a breakfast must. The resulting scones are tender, moist, and surprisingly easy to whip up. Plus, you can make a large batch, freeze shaped, and bake-on-demand.

Chocolate Coconut and Almond Chia Pudding

Especially with this recipe that gets away with being creamy, rich and chocolaty without one drop of dairy or refined sugar. This recipe is easily adaptable so you get to choose either completely sugar-free version sweetened with stevia.

Keto Lunch Ideas

Creamy Avocado Tuna Boats

Mix canned tuna (or salmon!) with mayo, cucumber and green onion slices, and a shake of black pepper, then stuff the filling in avocado boats. Pro tip: Break out the ice cream scooper to get a perfectly round scoop.

Homemade Keto Protein Bars

With just four main ingredients—almonds, cashews, egg white protein, and dates—it’s just as clean as your go-to packaged bar. You can add in cinnamon, cocoa powder, fresh ginger, or coconut flakes to switch up the flavor.

Avocado Egg Salad

Hold the mayo; add the avo. This egg salad takes just a few minutes to make and blends protein and healthy fats like a champ.

Keto Dinner Recipes 

Instant Pot Bruschetta Chicken

With diced tomatoes, garlic, basil, and balsamic vinegar, this quick dish turns a popular appetizer into your new favorite Keto-friendly dinner.

Low-Card Loaded Cauliflower Soup

With cream cheese, cheddar, and half-and-half, this soup is loaded, all right. But while you’d usually find potato at the base of a recipe like this, this one sticks to cauliflower—it keeps the carb count low and you’d never be able to tell the difference.

Pork Carnitas 

Just spicy enough from the salsa, these carnitas are so full of flavor that you won’t miss the tortillas a bit. Make sure to use a marbled pork cut to keep with the high-fat needs of the Keto plan.

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Lesley George

Lesley is a content writer and community manager at Shape.
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