Basically, a keto diet consists of low carbs and high fats. However, you just can’t simply eat foods that are high in fats but low in carbs as the keto diet is more complex than that.
First, the keto diet forces your body to use a different kind of fuel. More precisely, instead of using glucose from carbohydrates, a keto diet makes your body rely on ketone bodies from fats, which are byproducts when fatty acids break down, resulting in ketosis.
Ultimately, your goal is to get into ketosis, but why do experts often mention the term ‘counting macros.’ Is there something you don’t know about keto diets? If you want to engage in the keto diet, this term is something you should know, which is what you’ll be dealing with in this guide.
Let’s start by defining what ‘macros’ is.
Introduction To Macros
Basically, macros (macronutrients) consist of nutrients that are essential to the body. Generally, it includes three nutrients–fats, carbohydrates, and protein.
From ecological observation to sophisticated laboratory techniques, proportional macronutrient intake is inextricably linked to health.Venn B. J. (2020). Macronutrients and Human Health for the 21st Century. Nutrients, 12(8), 2363. Article available at https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12082363
Here are the sources of the following nutrients:
- Fats can come from fatty fish, nuts, avocadoes, and oils
- Carbohydrates can come from grains, beans, dairy products, and fruits
- Protein can come from tofu, fish, poultry, and eggs
While eating foods that burn fat can be quite helpful, that’s not the only thing you need to remember when getting into a keto diet. In addition to knowing what macros are, you also have to know how to count them.
Defining ‘Counting Macros’
Counting macros means counting the exact amount of fats, carbohydrates, and protein that you need to consume every day. But why do you need to count your macros?
For starters, it allows you to determine how much macronutrients you need to consume so you can achieve the best results from your diet, particularly your keto diet. Think of it as calculating the angle and amount of force required to shoot a three-pointer in basketball.
Likewise, counting macros also consist of calculations, which is why experts often suggest using a free keto macro calculator for those getting into a keto diet.
However, if you want to understand how the calculations work, you’ll need to know a few things, such as the ideal macronutrient distribution for your body.
Experts suggest distributing your macronutrients in such a way that your diet, or more specifically, your calories, will consist of 45-65% carbs, 10-35% protein, and 20-35% fats. With this distribution, most people can achieve a healthy body. But that’s not everyone’s ultimate goal. More precisely, depending on your goal, you can change some things here and there.
If you want to get into a keto diet, the suggested distribution would be 5-10% carbs, 15-30% protein, and, most importantly, 60-75% fats.
However, each individual will require different amounts of calories per day, which is an important factor before counting your macros.
Total Daily Calorie Needs
Naturally, a person with a bigger body will need to eat more than those that are smaller. However, there’s more to it than that, such as the person’s BMI, gender, and age.
On average, men should take 2500 calories a day, women require 1800 per day, and children need 1300 calories a day.
Counting Keto Diet Macros
Counting macros can be pretty tricky, especially if you don’t have much experience. However, at the very least, you’ll have to know the following:
- 1 gram of fats contain nine calories
- 1 gram of carbohydrates has four calories
- 1 gram of protein consist of four calories
Let’s say your total daily calorie needs are 2000, and you want the distribution to be 10% carbs, 15% protein, and 75% fats. With this, the calculation for each macronutrient will be:
- Fats: Total calories a day (2000) x macro distribution (75%) ÷ Calories per gram (9) = 166.67 grams per day.
- Protein: Total calories a day (2000) x macro distribution (15%) ÷ Calories per gram (4) = 75 grams per day.
- Carbohydrate: Total calories a day (2000) x macro distribution (10%) ÷ Calories per gram (4) = 50 grams per day.
Counting macros might seem like an unnecessary chore, but this practice can be beneficial in the future. For one, it removes all the guesswork from your diet since you’ll know exactly how much you should eat, what food to include, and such. Also, you can use this knowledge if you want to lose weight or gain muscles.
By knowing how to count macros, your keto diet will be a success in the long run, allowing you to live a fit and healthy life.