Understanding Macros and How to Calculate Them - Shape and Supplements

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Understanding Macros and How to Calculate Them

What are macros and how do I calculate macros? If you’re new to the ketogenic diet, this will be one key question begging for an answer. So, here’s our helpful guide on how to calculate macros stress-free!

salad on a plate

What are Macros?

Macros are short for the word macronutrients when talking about nutrition and the keto diet. Calculating macros is the most effective way to be and remain in ketosis. Findout more about ketosis here.

Macros are foods with a varied composition of energy that help to fuel your body. Macronutrients include protein, carbohydrate, and fats, and these serve as the source of all your calorie consumption.

Required Information to Calculate Macros

Your body can do without carbohydrate as a macronutrient because it is not a must for survival. There are essential amino acids and fatty acids to help in the building of fats and proteins, but no essential carbohydrates.

When counting carbs on the keto diet, consider the following formula;
Formula: Total carbs – Fiber = Net Carbs

What are Net Carbs?
Once you have subtracted fiber, what you have left is sugar and starch. The net carb count are your macros - a tally of the net carbs you consume helps you arrive at your daily macronutrient supply. So, check product labels to know fiber and carbs volume for calculating macros.

For a beginner, 20 grams net carbs is an excellent target.
Note: carbohydrate gives 4 calories per gram
Example; 4 x 20 grams = 80 calories per gram

Protein is helpful for immune system boosting, rebuilding tissues, preserving lean muscle, hormonal functioning and enzymes. Protein can serve as an energy source in place of carbohydrate.
Protein produces the 9 amino acids which the body lacks and needs to function adequately to develop lean body mass. To be in ketosis your protein level will determine the amount of lean body mass you possess.

    0.7 – 0.8 grams of protein = one-pound muscle for preserving muscle mass
    0.8 – 1.2 grams protein = one-pound muscle to gain muscle mass

How do you calculate?
For a person who weighs 160 pounds weight and 30% body fat. To calculate:
160 x 0.30 = 48 pounds of body fat

To know lean body mass:
Assuming you have 112 pounds lean body mass
160 pounds – 48 pounds of body fat = 112 pounds lean body mass

To know required protein intake:
112 pounds lean muscle x 0.8 grams protein = 89.6 grams of protein

Therefore, your daily intake of 89.6 grams is what would help you preserve lean muscle mass.
Note that protein gives 4 calories per gram.
4 x 89.6 grams = 358.4 calories from protein

Dietary fats are what you need to keep energy levels high, and keep body organs and cell membranes functioning adequately. Also, to get the needed supply of Vitamins A, D, E, K and carotenoids you need the right amount of fat-soluble vitamins. What the body needs is linolenic and linoleic acid as essential fatty acids.

Note: Fat gives you 9 calories per gram

 9 x amount of fat calories = total calories

What’s your goal? To keep current weight status, eat just enough fat-rich calories for total daily energy needs. To reduce weight, you need to allow yourself to become deficient to the degree of fat calories you need.

How to Calculate Macros

Of course, you understand other factors about your age, sex, work life and goal for wanting to be in ketosis. Consider this example:

Your base metabolic rate is:  1465 kcal
Daily energy needs are:  1614 kcal

So, you would need a total of 90-grams protein (360 calories), 20 grams net carbs (80 calories) and 86 grams fat (774 calories) total daily calories intake would be 1214 with a 23% protein, 5% carbs and 72% fat intake.

It might be quite stressful or maybe confusing at first, but you should get used to calculating your macros and this whole ketogenic diet stuff with time. Just keep burning fat, not carbohydrates. Happy ketosis!

understanding macros and how to calculate them