repost from Joshua Paul at Nowketo. Original Article here
If you are on a keto diet, chances are you have a lot of questions on your mind that you are looking for answers to. One of the most important questions is, do I need to figure out my macros or calories on a keto diet?
The short answer is yes especially if you are desperately looking to shed those extra pounds to get into shape once again.
Let’s go into details!
As far as the research is concerned, there is a difference of opinion among experts whether you should count your calories on the keto diet. The great thing about keto is that it revolves around simplicity. In other words, if your goal is to get rid of the extra pounds, all you need to do is consume fewer than 20 grams of carbohydrates each day.
I can give you reliable advice as I have been on the keto diet for a while. I had great results after the first few months as I used to keep my calories in check. In other words, I monitored my daily consumption of calories.
The weight I lost consisted of only water weight since I was trying to maintain lean muscle mass.
Over the first few months, some people don’t give any importance to their calorie intake. On the other hand, some people count their calories from the start. They make a list of meals that allow them to keep losing weight.
As far as my experience is concerned, weight loss is a personal experience. No matter which approach you stick to, make sure you consume fewer carbs. In addition, you may want to reevaluate on a regular basis to make sure you are losing weight in a consistent fashion.
Before we go into the details, let’s first define the macros. Some of you may be unfamiliar with the term. In case you don’t know, the term “macro” is quite popular among keto dieters, and it refers to macro-nutrients that are part of food that we consume to generate energy.
As far as the keto diet is concerned, macros play a great role as they help you sustain a balance between carbs, protein, and fats. You have to consume these things in order to stay in the ketosis mode.
Sources of macronutrients
The main role of the keto diet is to help you get into the ketogenic state by avoiding the consumption of carbohydrates, which is a form of glucose. Ketosis is a regular metabolic process. As you stop consuming carbs, your body can’t utilize glucose to produce energy. As a result, it turns to fat for an alternative source of fuel.
There are many ways to calculate your macros on a keto diet. One of the easiest ways is to make use of a keto calculator. This simple program will allow you to figure out the keto macros that you need to consume on a daily basis. Aside from this, it provides forecasts for your weight loss on the basis of the valued it measured. There are many keto diet calculators on the web. You can check out a few and stick to the one you like the most.
Let’s find out how many calories you can get from fat, protein, and carbohydrates, which will give you a pretty good idea of how much of these you should consume.
Carbohydrates: One gram of carbohydrates provides 4 calories. Since carbs elevate your insulin and blood glucose levels, they will get you out of the ketosis mode right away.
In the keto diet, you have a strict limit as to how many carbs you can consume. Based on the individual, it can be between 20 grams and 50 grams. The important thing is to find the right amount of consumption. For this, you can use keto strips, for instance, to figure out the right amount.
If you are just starting out, we suggest that you don’t have more than 20 grams of carbs. For success on keto, it’s also important that you prepare a list of keto-based foods. Each of the items on the list should be low in carbs. You can check the nutrition labels on each product to ensure it offers the right amount. Alternatively, you can make use of a food-tracking app.
Protein: One gram of protein offers 4 calories. Protein is 50% ketogenic and 50% non-ketogenic as 50% of the protein you consume turns into glucose, which makes your insulin level go up. Having too much protein will get you out of the ketosis mode, but this is a real problem for those who consume a lot of protein to exercise and build their muscles.
It’s important for you to reach your protein goals if you want to prevent your muscle loss. So, before you buy anything, don’t forget to read the labels to know the amount of protein the products contain.
Fat: One gram of fat provides 9 calories. Fortunately, fat is 90% ketogenic as only a small amount of fat gets converted into glucose. Ideally, fat should provide most of the calories you need on a regular basis. You can eat fat to satisfy your hunger but make sure you don’t exceed the limit.
Each macronutrient has a different type of impact on your ketogenic process. This effect is based on the way your body digests macronutrients and the effect the macros have on your insulin and blood glucose level. So, protein and carbs will have a great impact but the fat won’t have that much impact.
In the beginning, macros won’t cause a lot of problems for you as long as you don’t have too much of them. The idea is to meet your energy needs by consuming fat instead of carbohydrates. This will help you reach your weight loss goals.
To make this approach work for you, you need to make a list of foods that work for you. Once it stops working for you, you have to look for a new approach.
How to Calculate Your Ketogenic Macronutrients
If you want to follow a keto diet, you need to focus on your macros in order to stay in the ketosis state. Although the online calculators can help you figure out the right amount, you can also use the manual method to count your optimal calories without a calculator. Just make sure you know the right method.
In this section of the article, you are going to find out a step-by-step way of determining your personal needs as far as macros and calories are concerned on a keto diet. Given below are the things you can calculate using this method.
#1 BMR methods
BMR is short for the Basal Metabolic Rate, which is the representative of the number of calories you need in order to perform your routine vital functions. It excludes the energy you need in order to perform additional tasks, such as your daily exercise. The reason is that you need a lot more energy or calories to perform the additional activities.
Although it’s not easy to get an accurate figure as far as your BMR is concerned, you can get quite close if you choose and apply the Harris-Benedict equation. To make the calculation easier for you, we have given this equation below.
- BMR (men) = 66 + (6.2 x Weight in lbs) + (12.7 x Height in inches) – (6.76 x Age)
- BMR (women) = 655.1 + (4.35 x Weight in lbs) + (4.7 x Height in inches) – (4.7 x Age)
It may not be easy for you for the first time. Therefore, we have spelled it out to make things easier for you.
Height and Weight Calculations
First off, find out how much you weigh in lbs, which is quite easy. Your next move should be to figure out your height. It should be in inches.
Typically, you keep losing muscle mass as you cross the age of 30 years. In the same way, with the passage of time, your BMR also comes down. That’s why the age factor is part of the equation.
Both men and women have different body composition. That’s why gender is also part of this equation. Therefore, we have different equations based on the gender.
- BMR (men) = 66 + (6.2 x Weight) + (12.7 x Height) – (6.76 x Age)
- BMR (women) = 655.1 + (4.35 x Weight) + (4.7 x Height) – (4.7 x Age)
Based on these factors, let’s find out the number of calories you are going to spend.
#2 Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) Method
Apart from the BMR, you need to consider your daily activity as well. This is important if you want to figure out the amount of energy you are going to spend on a daily basis. And this will help you calculate your macros and calories. You can use the following guidelines for this purpose:
- 1.2: This figure should be chosen if you perform little or no exercise at all.
- 1.375: This figure is chosen if you perform light exercises i.e. 1 to 3 days in a week
- 1.55: This figure represents a moderate exercise routine i.e. 6 to 7 days per week
- 1.9: This figure should be chosen if you perform intense exercise.
Note: Exercise will include any activity that requires a lot of physical effort. For instance, if your job requires you to lift heavy objects throughout the day, it will be considered intense exercise.
Using the number that best matches you, you should multiply that number by the BMR number you calculated above. For example, a woman with a BMR of 1500 who does moderate exercise would multiply 1500 by 1.55 to get their total daily calorie expenditure, 2,325.
#3 Lean Mass and Fat percentage method
If you want to find out the amount of lean muscle mass you have and the amount of protein you need to maintain your weight, make sure you know the percentage of body fat you have. There are many ways of making this calculation. Let’s take a look at some common methods.
DEXA scan: although this method is very accurate, it will cost you some time and money. Basically, DEXA scan involves a type of x-ray that is done in order to find out the density of your bone mineral and the percentage of your body fat. If you can spend a bit of time and money, this is a great method.
Skinfold calipers: As far as the most commonly used method is concerned, skinfold calipers should be your ideal choice. The majority of gyms and doctors make use of this device. If you want to, you can also buy this device.
Body measurements: In this method, you make use of a measuring tape in order to measure the width of your waist, hips, and neck to find out about your fat composition. Although this is not an accurate method, it will still give you a pretty good idea.
Visual elements: You can use any of the methods given above, but if you don’t want to use any, you can still get a pretty good idea of your body fat percentage through visual elements. Given below is the guide you can use for this purpose:
As soon as you have known the percentage of your body fat, you can go ahead and find out your lean body mass as well. Let’s take an example. Suppose you weigh around 150 lbs and you have 25% as your body fat. You can use the following equation to measure your body fat:
150 lbs x .25/100 = 37.5 lbs
For lean body mass calculation, you can use the equation given below:
150 lbs – 37.5 lbs of fat = 112.5 lbs of lean body mass
No matter what number you get after the calculation, you can use it below to figure out the amount of protein you need.
#4 Your Goals
This step is not important for you if you don’t have a weight loss goal.
But if you are overweight, you need to burn more calories than you consume each day. To get started, it’s a good idea to opt for a reduction of between 10 and 20%. To burn 10% calories on a regular basis, you need to multiply your calorie expenditure by 10/100. Finally, you should subtract the figure from your calories, which will give you a number of calories of calories that you can have per day.
You can burn your calories even more if you want to. However, make sure you don’t go over 30% per day over the long haul.
For developing lean muscle mass, having additional calories per day is the way to go. Ideally, you may want to opt for at least 5% of your total calories. You can increase it to 10% if you want quick results. You can multiply your calorie expenditure by 5/100. You can then add this figure to the total number of calories you burn, which will give you a pretty good idea of your calorie count per day.
#5 Carbohydrate method
On the keto diet, carbs usually consist of between 5 and 10% of your total calories, which means, for most people, 20 to 50 grams of carbs on a daily basis is a good amount.
You can use a simple formula to get a pretty good idea of the number of carbohydrates you can consume per day on the keto diet. Get the total calories based on #2 or #1 if you want to maintain your weight. Next, you can multiply it by 5/100 and then divide the resulting figure by 4.
Next, you can multiply your total calories by 10/100 and then divide the amount by 4, which will give you a figure in grams. Make sure you keep your carbohydrate figure within this range.
Let’s give you a simple formula to make the calculator a bit easier for you.
(TDEE x percentage of calories) / 4 = Total carbohydrates in grams per day
Let’s take an example to shed some light on the equation for easy understanding. Suppose your total calorie consumption is 2,000 calories per day, and you want to stay between the range of 5 and 10% carbohydrates. If you apply the given formula, you can find out that your carb intake per day should be between 25 and 560 grams per day.
#6 Protein method
On your keto diet, make sure have a moderate amount of protein. This is to ensure your body gets enough of it to put on the muscle mass. However, you don’t want to have too much protein as it will have a negative impact on your ketosis. Ideally, you may want to keep the calorie consumption between 20 and 25%.
If you have a sedentary lifestyle, your protein consumption should be between 0.6 and 0.8 grams multiplied by your weight in lbs. you can calculate this figure based on #2.
Your protein consumption should be higher if you are engaged in a moderate level of physical activity per day. For instance, if you perform some light exercise per day, you may want to keep your protein intake between 0.8 and 1.0 grams to keep gaining body muscle mass.
For those who are engaged in intense workouts, the amount of protein should be between 1 and 1.2 grams based on body weight in lbs.
These ranges can give you a pretty good idea of how much of protein you may want to consume per day to gain muscle mass in a healthy manner. It’s a good idea to get started with a lower number first to see how it affects your health.
For instance, if you are moderately active and you weigh 150 pounds with 112 pounds of muscle mass, you should go for between 29 and 112 grams of quality protein on a daily basis. The resulting figure should be multiplied by 4 to get the number of proteins. And multiply the total calories by 2/100 and then 25/100 to ensure you get the calorie amounts in the desired range.
#7 Fat Counting Method
On your keto diet, your fat consumption should be a minimum of 70% of your total calorie consumption. Based on the formula given above, you can calculate your protein and carb amount, which can be subtracted from 100 in order to get the amount of fat you can consume per day on your keto diet.
That’s it. You can use the equations given above in order to figure out the number of calories, carbohydrates, and fat you can consume per day. This can help you get a pretty good idea of your macros as well, which will help you gain lean body mass.
While the formulas given above can help you calculate your daily consumption of calories, fat, and carbohydrates, we can’t give you a guarantee that the results obtained based on these formulas are 100% accurate.
Although these formulas can be helpful, there’s no guarantee they are 100% accurate. However, what’s most important here is that you have ranges to work with and can adjust as needed over time. If you’re new to keto, you’ll start to learn as time goes on what percentages and calorie amounts work best for your body on the ketogenic diet.
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