How Many Macros Should I Eat On Keto


Counting macros, or tracking your macronutrients, is a common method for following the keto diet. It is a great way to track the quality of foods you eat and evaluate your macronutrient distribution. Tracking macros helps you stay in ketosis. Keto diets can be successful when meeting certain guidelines.

What is a Keto Diet?

The keto diet was first developed for use by those with epilepsy. It later became popular among bodybuilders to cut fat before competitions. It will cause your body to burn nothing but fat for energy instead of using glucose (carbohydrates).

A person achieves this by greatly limiting carbs and eating more fat. In the absence of carbs, the body will begin converting both dietary fat and body fat into ketones which are then used by the cells of your body for energy.

Do You Have to Count Keto Diet Macros?

Macro counting can be beneficial if you aim for nutritional ketosis, whether for weight loss or other health goals. Because everyone’s macronutrient breakdown looks different, tracking helps to ensure that you’re following a keto meal plan that works to your advantage.

Also, if you’re using keto for body recomposition, knowing exactly how much carbs, protein, and fat is vital for attaining fat loss and increasing muscle mass.

Is Keto Healthy?

Yes. The keto diet may improve various aspects of health, as experienced by many people. Some of its benefits include reduced blood sugar levels (leading to a reversal of Type 2 Diabetes), weight loss, preservation of lean body mass, and better brain and heart health.

However, if you have an existing medical condition, such as hypertension or diabetes, it’s best to talk to your health care provider first and seek close medical supervision. In addition, your current medications may require some adjustment while following the diet.

Keto-Friendly Foods

high fat foods

Here are some foods that will help you reach your keto macros.

  • Avocado
  • Ground flax seed
  • Coconut oil
  • Olive oil
  • Grassfed butter
  • Dark meat chicken
  • Eggs
  • Steak
  • Pork
  • Lamb
  • Bacon
  • Sour cream
  • Hard cheeses
  • Nuts (watch the carbs)
  • Seeds (watch the carbs)
  • Peanut Butter
  • Almond butter
  • Leafy greens and other low-carb veggies like cucumber, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, sprouts, etc.

Tracking Macros

Reaching ketosis can be a challenge, even for the most dedicated dieter. “After years of relying on carbohydrates for energy, it takes a couple of weeks to fully adapt to this way of eating,” explains Bede. “Once you’ve had a chance to adjust, stick to the plan rather than undoing all of your hard work.”

Enter macros. Tracking these nutrients to make sure you’re eating them in the right ratio helps ensure you’re getting results from your keto plan. The two most popular ways to track macros are through a food journal or a macros tracker app.

There are a lot of different macros tracker apps to choose from these days. All of them serve the same primary function — to show you the percentage of calories you’ve consumed from each macronutrient based on the food you’ve tracked that day. Some go a step further, allowing you to track your weight over time, plan healthy meals, compete in wellness challenges with friends and even scan barcodes of food packaging for easier tracking.

Food journaling requires a few extra steps but is an equally effective means to track macros. Rely on information found on a food’s nutrition label and valuable tools like the USDA Nutrient Analysis Library which allow you to determine the nutrient content of generic and branded foods as well as fresh produce.  Once you determine the macronutrients found in your food, simply follow these formulas when journaling:

  • For percentage fat:
    Multiply total grams of fat by nine. Divide the result by total daily calories. Multiply this number by 100 for percent calories from fat.
  • For percentage carbohydrate:
    Multiply total grams of carbohydrates by four. Divide the result by the total daily calories. Multiply this number by 100 for percent calories from carbohydrates.
  • For percentage protein:
    Multiply total grams of protein by four. Divide the result by the total daily calories. Multiply this number by 100 for percent calories from protein.

Your Keto Macro Goals in 4 Easy Steps

Step 1. Calorie Needs

Your nutrition needs start with your fitness goal: are you looking to lose weight, gain weight, or maintain your weight.

This will determine the number of calories you need each day – weight loss requires a calorie deficit and weight gain requires a calorie surplus. 

Then, once you’ve got your daily energy needs, you can build your macro goals accordingly.

Step 2. Carb Needs

Estimating your keto carb needs is arguably the most important step. 

Research suggests a carb intake less than 20 to 50 grams per day is sufficient to promote ketosis in most people—but the exact amount you need can vary. 

Thus, a carb intake of 20 to 25 grams per day is a good starting place. However, if you find you are having trouble sticking to that amount you can start a little higher, at 50 grams. 

You can also use your total calorie intake as a gauge. 

Carbs provide roughly four calories per gram. So, if you are at a lower calorie range—less than 2,000 calories a day—20 grams would be adequate for reaching 5% of your calories from carbs. If you are at a higher calorie range, you may need slightly more. 

Use the following guidelines to estimate your starting carb needs:

  • Calorie range <2,000 calories/day: 20 grams of carbs a day or less
  • Calorie range 2,000 to 2,500 calories/day: 25 to 30 grams of carbs a day or less
  • Calorie range >2,500 to 3,000 calories/day: 30 to 35 grams of carbs a day or less
  • Calorie range >3,000 calories/day: 35 to 50 grams of carbs a day or less

Net Carbs Explained

Try counting your daily net carbs over total carb intake. You can do this by tracking your fiber intake. 

Fiber is a type of carb that is not easily absorbed by the body (meaning it won’t affect blood sugar levels the same way sugars do) and thus, can be excluded from your daily intake.

Take your total carbs each day and subtract the amount of fiber you consumed to get your net carb amount. 

how to calculate net carbs (2)-1

Step 3. Protein Needs

Protein intake is also important since it plays a role in supporting your lean body mass and other essential bodily functions. 

Some argue protein should be kept low on keto because it can be metabolized into glucose (sugar). However, research suggests that higher protein intake may support better appetite control and a lower body fat percentage without messing with ketosis.  

Your keto protein needs can be estimated based on your activity level and fitness goal. 

Choose one of the following: 

Activity LevelDescription
SedentaryLittle to no exercise. 
Moderately ActiveModerate exercise 2 or more days per week. 
Very ActiveHard exercise 3 or more days per week. 

Then, based on your goal and activity level, you can use the following recommendations: 

  • Maintain/sedentary: 0.6g/pound of body weight per day
  • Fat loss/mod active: 0.9g/pound of body weight per day
  • Gain muscle/very active: 1.1g/pound of body weight per day

For example, a 150 pound moderate active individual looking to lose weight would need 135 grams of protein per day. (150 x 0.9 = 135).

To get this amount in calories, simply multiply by four (protein provides four calories for every gram). 

Step 4. Fat Needs

Lastly, your keto fat needs can be calculated based on your remaining calories. Each gram of fat contains roughly nine calories. 

Here’s how to do the math:

  1. Take your carb amount from step #2 and multiple your grams of carb by 4 to get your calories from carbs.
    • 20g x 4 = 80 calories from carbs
  2. Now do the same with your estimated protein needs from above.
    • 150g x 4 = 600 calories from carbs
  3. Now add you carb and protein calories and subtract from your total daily calorie needs.
    • 1800 daily calories – (600 calories protein + 80 calories carbs) = 1,120 calories remaining
  4. Now divide your remaining calories by 9 to get how many grams of fat you need per day.
    • 1,120/9 = 124 grams of fat per day

Your Keto Macros Percentage

To calculate your macros a percentage, just divide the calories from each macro into your daily calorie needs and multiply by 100%. 

For example:

  • (80/1800) x 100% = 5% of calories from carbs
  • (600/1800) x 100% = 33% of calories from protein
  • (1,120/1800) x 100% = 62% of calories from fat

The total amount should equal 100% (5 + 33 + 62 = 100).

We’ve already mentioned that the most common ratio for macronutrients during a ketogenic diet is 70% fats, 5% carbohydrates, and 25% protein. Some dietitians recommend increasing the proportion of fats even higher, to 75%, and cutting protein down to 20%. You can modify the macro split by manually inputting the desired percentage in our keto weight loss calculator.

You could also try an alternative to the standard ketogenic diet: a cyclical keto diet, favored by those trying to reduce their body fat and build their muscle mass. In this diet, you regulate your nutrition by adhering to the standard keto diet for 5-6 days in a row, followed by 1-2 days of increased carbs intake. The goal of such a diet is to regularly replenish the glucose reserve in your blood.

What foods should I be eating?

You might be worried that reaching 70% or even 75% of fats in your macro intake is short of impossible. Indeed, if you want to enter ketosis, you’ll have to change your diet drastically!

The best meals for a keto weight loss consist of foods rich in “good fats”:

  • Fatty fish, such as salmon, tuna, or trout;
  • Dairy products – eggs, butter, yogurt, cream, and virtually any kind of cheese;
  • Nuts and seeds of all sorts – walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, poppy seeds or chia seeds;
  • Oils such as olive oil, avocado oil or coconut oil;
  • Avocados;
  • Dark chocolate (with very high cocoa content);
  • Meat, especially red meat, sausages, and ham;
  • Green and white vegetables – cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, green peppers, salads;
  • Fat bombs.

Fat bombs are no-bake snacks with an extremely high fat percentage. You can make them out of chocolate, cream cheese, nut butter, cocoa powder, or coconut oil. Adding nuts and seeds will make them even more delicious!

If you’re craving a keto-friendly snack, you can also try nuts, handfuls of berries (such as strawberries or blueberries), or cheese bites. You should avoid typical fast food snacks such as chips or burgers, though – not only do they contain a lot of carbs, but they’re a source of unhealthy trans fats.

Eating all that fat will increase your water intake. It’s a natural process, so make sure you’re drinking a lot of water!

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