Keto Diet Macros

The ketogenic diet is relatively simple, fat is good, carbs and sugar are bad. The keto diet is even easier to understand when described in terms of macros.

When discussing nutrition, food falls into two distinct groups, macronutrients and micronutrients. Micronutrients include vitamins and minerals which your body requires in small (micro) amounts. Adversely, macronutrients, or macros for short, include three categories of nutrients that provide energy: protein, carbohydrates and fats. If you hear someone say they are counting their macros, they are counting the grams of proteins, carbs or fat they are consuming.

Macronutrients are particularly important when following a ketogenic diet as the bulk of your calories must come from fat while you severely restrict your carbohydrate intake to 5% or less. By doing so, your body must convert from burning carbs and sugar for energy to burning fat as energy. If fat is available and carbs are not, your body must metabolize (burn) fat to survive. Once your body becomes a fat-burning rather than carb-burning machine, it will release and burn your stored body fat as fuel.

The typical keto diet has a macronutrient breakdown or ratio of: 60-75% of calories from fat, 15-30% of calories from protein, and. 5-10% of calories from carbs. For simplicity, let’s use 70% fat, 25% protein and 5% carbohydrates.

Using this example ratio, you can easily calculate how many calories and how many grams of each macronutrient you should eat each day. There’s a simple equation to help you calculate how many grams of fat, protein and carbs you should be eating on, say, an 1800 calorie per day keto diet. First you need to know that:

  • One gram of fat has nine (9) calories.
  • One gram of protein has four (4) calories.
  • One gram of carbohydrate has four (4) calories.

Using this information and your example 1800 calorie daily target, you can calculate the number of calories and grams you need from each macro:

Fat – Calories per day (1800) x percentage of calories from fat (70%) / Number of calories per gram in fat (9). 1800 x .70 / 9 = 1260 calories / 9 = 140 grams of fat per day.

Protein – Calories/day (1800) x percentage of calories from protein (25%) / Number of calories per gram protein (4). 1800 x .25 / 4 = 450 calories / 4 = 112.5 grams of protein per day.

Carbohydrates – Calories per day (1800) x percentage of calories from carbs (5%) / Number of calories per gram in carbs (4). 1800 x .05 / 4 = 90 calories / 4 = 22.5 grams of carbs per day.