Got your macros? Great!
Read on to learn more about how the keto calculator works, how to track your macros, and what foods to eat to hit your macros on the keto diet:
How a Keto Calculator Helps You
How the Keto Calculator Works
Your Keto Macros Explained
Tracking Your Keto Macros
How to Know if You’re in Ketosis
Foods and Meals to Hit Your Keto Macros
Using the Ketogenic Diet for Optimal Health
This calculator helps you discover your unique needs, so you can:
- Reach your weight loss or weight gain goals
- Easily enter and stay in ketosis
- Accurately track your macros on the keto diet
- Stop guessing what and how much you should be eating
- Enjoy optimal health.
All you have to do is enter a few key details.
Wonder how the keto macro calculator finds your daily macros? Here’s exactly how it works:
Step #1: Enter Your Details: Gender, Age, Height, and Weight
The keto calculator uses your gender, age, height, and weight to find something called your basal metabolic rate (BMR), which is the amount of energy you spend per unit of time while resting.
Basically, how much energy you burn while doing absolutely nothing.
This calculator uses the Mifflin-St.Jeor Formula to find your BMR, which is among the most accurate formulas. One study found it shows a strong correlation between the predicted BMRs and the actual BMRs[*].
This is why your details affect your BMR:
- Gender: Body composition is different between men and women.
- Age: Your RMR decreases with age as your muscle mass declines, especially after age 30.
- Height & weight: Needed to know your unique body composition.
Next, the keto calculator determines your energy consumption when you’re not resting:
Step #2: Enter Your Activity Level
Your physical activity level (PAL) measures how much energy you spend daily when you’re active.
The calculator combines your BMR and your activity level to find your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE), which is the number of calories your body burns in 24 hours.
Your TDEE tells the calculator how many calories you need to eat daily to cover your expenditure.
Step #3: Calorie Intake Goal
Here you can tell the calculator if you want to maintain, lose, or gain weight by picking a calorie deficit or surplus.
For example, if you choose a 10% calorie deficit, your total daily calories will be 10% lower than you actually need. This will help you lose a moderate amount of weight.
If you put a 10% calorie surplus, your daily calories will be 10% higher than you need, which helps you gain weight.
Here’s how the calorie bar works:
- To maintain weight: Keep the bar at 0%.
- To lose weight: Move the bar between 0 and -50 (calorie deficit). Stay within 10-20% for moderate weight loss.
- To gain weight: Move the bar between 0 and +50 (calorie surplus). Stay within 10-20% for moderate weight gain.
If you chose the keto calculator at the beginning, the journey ends here and it will give your macro targets. If you’re using the specialized calculator, you have a few more details to fill in:
Step #4: Advanced Fields (In the Specialized Calculator Only): Body fat %, Protein Ratio, and Total Carb Intake
Body Fat %
Your body fat percentage is used to determine your lean body mass and contributes to a more accurate estimation of your TDEE.
This helps the keto calculator figure out how many calories from protein you need per day to lose weight without reducing your muscle mass.
If you don’t know your body fat percentage, you can measure it at home, the gym, or in a health facility. These are the two most accurate methods:
- Skinfold Calipers: Skin calipers are affordable and easy to get on Amazon. Your local gym most likely has them too. A skinfold caliper works by pinching one area of your skin that folds easily (like your belly and back), in three to ten different areas of your body to measure your subcutaneous fat. That measurement is then used in a formula to calculate your body fat percentage. If you’ve never done this before, let a physician or coach do it first and teach you how to read the measurements accurately so you can do it at home next times.
- DEXA (Dual-Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry): If you can afford it, a DEXA scan will give you the most accurate results. A DEXA is an X-ray treatment that measures body composition and can detect bone mineral density, lean body mass, and fat mass with great accuracy. However, they can only be done on a health facility and a comprehensive session can cost up to $160.
Other methods at home like online calculators and bioelectrical scales can be wildly inaccurate, so avoid these.
There are other techniques done in health facilities like air-displacement plethysmography and hydrostatic weighing, but these are pricey as well and not as thorough as a DEXA scan.
It’s recommended you measure your body fat percentage every six to eight weeks.
Now that you know your body fat %, you can measure your lean body mass (LBM) and then pick your protein intake accordingly.
Your LBM is simply the remaining percentage that isn’t body fat.
Here’s an example:
If you weigh 150 pounds (68 kg) and your body fat percentage is 20%, then your lean body mass is 80%, which in pounds would be:
- Body fat %= 20%*150 lb= 30 lb (13kg)
- Lean body mass=150 lb-30 lb= 120 lb (54.4kg)
To maintain your muscle mass while losing weight, input 0.60 -0.80 grams per lb of lean body mass (1.3 to 1.7 grams per kg LBM).
In this example, you would input 72-96 grams of protein (0.60*120 lb or 0.80*120 lb).
To gain muscle mass, the protein ratio should be between 0.8 to 1.2 grams per lb of LBM (1.7 to 2.3 grams per kg LBM).
In this example, you would input 96-144 grams (0.80*120 lb or 1.2*120 lb)
Total Carb Intake
Here you simply input the number of carbs you want to eat. It’s recommended you leave it in the standard range of 20-50g of net carbs.
Finally, the keto calculator takes all this input and creates the perfect macro targets for your goals.
Let’s recall that for the classical ketogenic diet, your food intake will be:
- 70-80% of calories from fats
- 20-25% of calories from protein
- 5-10% of calories from net carbs (Net carbs are the grams of carbohydrates in a food minus the grams of fiber in it)
With this distribution, a person eating 2,500 calories per day will eat:
- 208 grams of fat
- 125 grams of protein
- 30 grams of carbs
However, since your personal calorie intake can be lower or higher than this, the specific grams of each macronutrient will look different for you.
For most people, a range of 20-50 grams of carbohydrate intake per day is ideal for the keto diet. Some people can go as high as 80 grams per day to stay in ketosis, but the majority should stay in the 20-50g range for best results. Each person’s metabolism is different.
If you used the standard keto calculator, then your target carbs should be in this optimal range.
Carbs are the easiest nutrients to overeat, so it’s important you read labels to avoid hidden sugars and eat only low-glycemic foods that let you stay in the target range, for example:
- Leafy greens (lettuce, collard greens, spinach)
- Berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries)
High-glycemic foods like sweet fruits (banana, dates, watermelon), starchy veggies (potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes), and refined grains like bread, pasta, and cookies are off-limits.
Protein should be kept to adequate proportions. Eating around 1.5 to 2g of protein per kg of lean body mass (0.68 – 1g of protein per lb. of lean body mass) is ideal. Your protein intake goal will only be higher if you want to build muscle, lift heavy weights almost every day, or follow a high-protein keto diet.
Fatty protein sources are preferred, like:
- Fatty cuts of grass fed beef
- Chicken and duck
- Fatty fish (salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel)
Don’t worry about eating too much protein — it won’t kick you out ketosis (yes, really). Your body has a metabolic process named gluconeogenesis (GNG), which has three parts to it:
- Gluco – coming from the Greek root glukos – meaning “sweet wine.”
- Neo – “new”
- Genesis – “creation.”
GNG is in charge of making glucose from non-carb sources, including protein, lactate, and glycerol. This is a normal process crucial for:
- Fueling the few tissues that can’t use ketones, such as part of your brain, red blood cells, and testicles
- Maintaining proper blood glucose levels
- Building glycogen
Without gluconeogenesis, ketosis wouldn’t be possible. Ketones are an excellent fuel source, but since they can’t fuel 100% of your tissues, GNG steps in to fuel the rest.
GNG is also a highly stable mechanism, so even if you eat more protein than the standard keto macros allow, you won’t increase the rate of GNG enough to get kicked out of ketosis.
The remaining 70-80% of your calories come from fats. Since fat is the main source of nutrition on a ketogenic diet, it’s important to source high-quality, healthy fats.
Part of your dietary fat will come from fatty proteins like the ones mentioned above, and the rest will come from other fat sources such as:
- Coconut oil
- MCT oil and powder
- Dairy (sour cream, butter, ghee, cheese, cream cheese, heavy cream)
- Nuts and seeds (macadamia, chia seeds, flaxseed)
- Nuts and seed butters (almond butter, sunflower butter, peanut butter)
- How Much Fat Should You Eat on a Ketogenic Diet
- Good Fats vs. Bad Fats on the Ketogenic Diet
- Keto Nuts? The Pros and Cons of Nuts on a Ketogenic Diet
Your calorie target is measured based on:
- Your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE)
- Your calorie intake goal (to lose, gain, or maintain weight)
For instance, if you need 2000 calories to cover your basic energy expenditure, but you want to lose weight, then your target calories can be 1800 (a deficit of 200 calories per day).
The best way to hit your keto macros is to measure your daily food intake. You can easily do this through an online app where you log everything you ate during the day.
My Fitness Pal is a clear favorite in the fitness space because it has a massive nutrient database.
You don’t have to measure your macros every day of your life, but it’s important you do it for the first few months until you’re able to accurately hit your macros without needing to measure every meal.
Step #1: Calculate Your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)
Your basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the number of calories your body needs to support your vital functions (like breathing), without added stress (like exercise)[*]. The more mass you have, the more energy (calories) you need to support daily processes.
While it’s tough to get an exact calculation of basal metabolic rate, you can get really close by using the Harris-Benedict equation below. (If you use the metric system, the Mifflin-St.Jeor formula will be easiest for you.)
- BMR for men = 66 + (6.2 x Your current weight in pounds) + (12.7 x Height in inches) – (6.76 x Age)
- BMR for women = 655.1 + (4.35 x Weight in pounds) + (4.7 x Height in inches) – (4.7 x Age)
Here’s why the equation includes these factors:
- Height and body weight: The more of “you” there is, the more energy you will use. In other words, the greater your body mass, the more calories you will need per day.
- Age: Since muscle mass gradually declines as you go past age 30, BMR decreases over time as well. That’s why this equation factors in age.
- Gender: Since body composition is typically different between men and women, gender plays into the equation.
Step #2: Calculate Your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE)
BMR accounts for the calories needed to support vital processes only — breathing and digesting foods, or processes you need to survive. Your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) takes into account your activity level and exercise routine. By multiplying your BMR by your level of activity, you get the total amount of calories you will burn per day[*].
To do this, you will multiply your BMR by these numbers (choose the number associated with your level of daily physical activity):
- 1.2: Little to no exercise
- 1.375: Light exercise 1–3 days per week
- 1.55: Moderate exercise 3–5 days per week
- 1.725: Hard exercise 6–7 days per week
- 1.9: Very intense exercise
Exercise can include what you do all day at work,for instance, if you’re on your feet all day as a waiter or lifting heavy boxes.
After selecting your corresponding number, multiply it by the BMR from your calculations in step one. For example, a woman with a BMR of 1500 who does moderate exercise would multiply 1500 by 1.55 to get her total daily calorie expenditure: 2,325.
Step #3: Know Your Body Fat Percentage and Lean Mass
Measuring your body fat percentage is important for calculating how much lean body mass you have and how much protein you’ll need to maintain muscles. Why? Because muscle burns more calories — even in a sedentary state — than fat[*].
A person with a lower body fat percentage will burn more calories than someone who weighs the same but has a higher body fat percentage.
You can measure body fat in a few different ways:
- DEXA scan: This is the most accurate method but takes the most time and money. It’s a type of X-ray that measures your bone mineral density and can give you a good reading of your body fat percentage.
- Skinfold calipers: This is probably the most popular method. They’re cheaper than a DEXA and most gyms and doctor’s offices will have these. You can even purchase them yourself.
- Body measurements: This involves using a measuring tape to get the width of your neck, hips, and waist to estimate body fat composition. While not the most accurate, it can give you a good idea.
- Visual estimates: If you’re not able to apply the above methods, you can estimate your body fat percentage visually. This means looking at your body and making a guess about how much fat vs. muscle you see. Keep in mind this the least accurate method and will only give you a basic estimation.
Once you know your body fat percentage, you can also determine your lean body mass. For example, if someone weighs 150 pounds and is 25% body fat, they can figure out their body fat in pounds:
150 pounds x 0.25 = 37.5 pounds of body fat.
To get lean body mass, use this equation: 150 pounds – 37.5 pounds of fat = 112.5 pounds of lean body mass.
You will use these numbers to calculate your protein needs. But first, you need to calculate for a caloric deficit or surplus — depending on whether you want to lose or gain weight.
Step #4: Adjust Your Calorie Intake for Weight Loss or Weight Gain
If you’re not looking to change your weight, you can skip this step.
If you want to lose weight, you need to eat at a calorie deficit each day. A reduction of 10–20% of calories is usually a good range to start with for weight or fat loss.
To reduce by 10%, multiply your total TDEE by 0.10, then subtract that amount from your original calorie count. This is the max amount of calories you’ll want to want to consume each day. Free apps like MyFitnessPal are a great way to track your daily caloric intake.
If you want to lose weight at a more rapid rate, feel free to increase the percentage — just know that it’s not recommended to increase your calorie deficit by more than 30% each day long-term.
If you want to gain muscle, you’ll need to eat at a calorie surplus each day. A 5–10% calorie increase is a good range for putting on muscle. Start by multiplying your total calorie expenditure by 0.05, then add that number to your total calorie expenditure. This is your daily calorie count.
Step #5: Calculate Your Carbohydrate Intake
The ketogenic diet is a very low-carb diet, where net carbohydrates only make up 5–10% of your total calories. Remember: Net carbs equal your total carb count minus the amount of fiber you consume. For most people, that equates to 20-50 grams per day. To calculate this, you will take:
TDEE x (% of calories) / 4 = Grams of carbs per day, or:
Take your total calories from your TDEE calculated in step 2 (or step 1 if you are maintaining your weight) and multiply it by 0.05 to get your 5% of calories number. Divide the end number by 4 to calculate your carb intake in grams.
Follow the same process to calculate 10% of your calories (take your total calories times 0.10 then divide that by 4 to get grams). These two numbers will be the range in which you want to keep your carb count.
For example, someone with a total caloric intake of 2,000 per day who wants to stay within 5–10% carbs from total calories (2000 x 0.05 or 0.10) would calculate between 100–200 calories from carbs, which is 25–50 grams of carbs per day.
Step #6: Calculate Your Protein Intake
On the keto diet, protein accounts for roughly 20-25% of total calories. While many keto dieters used to think that overeating protein would send your body into gluconeogenesis and raise your blood sugar, that’s not necessarily the case.
Your protein intake depends a lot more on your fitness level and body composition goals. And eating more than 25% of your calories from protein won’t kick you out of keto.
If you’re someone who’s sedentary, a good protein ratio is 0.6-0.8 grams of protein per pound of lean body mass, calculated in step #3.
If you’re moderately or lightly active, stick with 0.8-1.0 grams per pound of lean body mass. A person who wants to gain muscle (or lifts weights) will need to be in the 1.0–1.2 grams per pound of lean body mass range.
Use these ranges to determine a range for your protein needs in grams, then multiply the result by 4 for the same number in calories.
For example, a moderately active female who weighs 150 pounds and has 112.5 pounds of lean body mass will need 90-112.5 grams of protein per day. Then multiply that number by 4 to calculate 360-450 calories from protein per day.
Step #7: Calculate Your Fat Intake
Most experts believe that fat on the keto diet should make up at least 70–80% of your total calorie intake. But this can change a little, depending on your protein intake. To calculate your fat needs, add your protein and carbohydrate percentages together, then subtract from 100.
The end percentage (whatever is leftover) is your fat needs. Be warned: the amount of fat people need to consume to enter ketosis can be surprising.
You will need to eat large amounts of high-fat keto foods, like coconut oil, fatty fish and avocados.
There you go. You’ve just become your own keto calculator. This is all you need to know about how to calculate macros on the ketogenic diet (as well as get an overview of your body mass and goals).
Eating according to the macros the keto calculator gives you will help you enter and stay in ketosis, so you can use fat as energy and accelerate your natural weight loss (if that’s your goal).
However, you might come out of ketosis without realizing it if you exceed your carb intake.
Blood tests are the most reliable way to test ketone levels because ketones can’t get diluted in your blood (like they can in urine) and blood carries the main ketone your body produces: BHB (beta-hydroxybutyrate). BHB is the only ketone that gets turned into ATP, the energy molecule.
The most accurate tool to measure BHB levels in your blood is the Precision Xtra meter. You’ll have to draw blood from your finger every time you want to measure your ketones, so keep that in mind.
The blood level of BHB is measured in millimolar concentration, or “mmol”. Studies have shown the most optimal ranges of BHB levels for benefits of ketosis are between 1.5-3.0 mmol, however, this may vary per person.
Taking exogenous ketones can also help you stay in ketosis for longer and boost your BHB levels.
As Benjamin Franklin once said, “by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
The best way to set yourself up for success is to source healthy keto-friendly foods that nourish your body and help put you in ketosis. This means you’ll have to give your grocery list and pantry a makeover.
The best keto-friendly foods are:
- Meats: fatty cuts of grass-fed beef, veal, game meat, chicken, turkey, poultry, pork, lamb, goat, fish(salmon, sardines, catfish, tilapia, tuna, trout), and seafood (shrimp, mollusks, lobster, etc).
- Oils: olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, MCT oil, walnut oil.
- Whole Eggs: preferably organic, free-range.
- Dairy: full-fat cheeses, sour cream, full-fat (unsweetened) yogurt, grass-fed butter, ghee, milk, and heavy cream.
- Nuts and seeds: macadamia, hazelnuts, brazil nuts, almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and nut butters.
- Low-carb vegetables and fruits: spinach, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, and other leafy greens. Small quantities of blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and avocados.
- Low-carb sweeteners: Stevia, Erythritol, Monk fruit, Swerve
Wondering how to use these foods to make actual meals?
Get started with these recipes:
- Cheesy Bacon Brussel Sprouts Casserole
- Bacon, Egg, & Cheese Breakfast Casserole
- Keto Brunch Spread
- Turkey Sausage Frittata
- Keto Power Breakfast With Green Sauce
- Easy Ketogenic Breakfast Tacos
- Avocado Breakfast Bowl
- Keto Oatmeal
- Flourless Matcha Latte Pancakes
- Superfood Pumpkin Waffles
- Chocolate Pancakes with Blueberry Butter
- Chocolate Sea Salt Smoothie
- Micronutrient Greens Matcha Smoothie
- Low-Carb Acai Almond Butter Smoothie
- Keto Collagen Chocolate Smoothie
Lunch & Dinner
- Spring Keto Stew with Venison
- Low Carb Keto Lasagna
- Low Carb Keto Chili
- Slow Cooker Taco Soup
- Mushroom Bacon Skillet
- Loaded Cauliflower Bake
- Portobello Bun Cheeseburgers
- Cheesy Broccoli Meatza
- BBQ Pulled Beef Sando
- Easy White Turkey Chili
- Low Carb Crispy Keto “Fried” Chicken
- Keto Chicken Hemp Heart Tenders
- Lemon Balsamic Chicken
- Lemon Chicken Avocado Boats
- Roasted Chicken Stacks
- Creamy Mushroom Chicken
- Easy Keto Chicken Salad
- Crispy Skin Salmon with Pesto Cauliflower Rice
- Keto Poke with Ahi Tuna and Citrus
- Smoked Salmon Pate with Cucumber
- Rosemary Cauliflower Mash and Gravy
- Celeriac Everything Oven Fries
- 4 Ingredient Low Carb Cloud Bread
- Creamed Spinach
- Jalapeno Parmesan Crisps
- MCT Powder Garlic Dressing
- Keto Bread
- Keto MCT Matcha Fat Bombs
- Pumpkin Spice Fat Bombs
- Perfect Keto Mocha Fat Bombs
- Macadamia Nut Fat Bomb
- Anti-Inflammatory MCT Fat Bomb
- Perfect Keto Collagen Mug Cake
- Keto Brownies with Peppermint Crunch
- Healthy Homemade Keto Chocolate Bars
- Chocolate Sea Salt Peanut Butter Bites
- Mint Chip Popsicles with Micro Greens
- Low Carb Gingersnap Cookies
- Keto Superfood Nice Cream
- Perfect Keto Chocolate Mousse
The ketogenic diet is so much more than a weight-loss approach. It’s a profound lifestyle change that can give you the tools to upgrade your health in many significant ways, including:
- Balancing your metabolism
- Improving your exercise and physical performance
- Boosting your productivity and mental focus
- Increasing longevity by reducing age-related diseases
- Improving your body’s wound-healing capabilities
- Treating and managing several medical conditions such as:
Now that you know how to eat to succeed on your ketogenic diet, you’ll be able to crush your health goals, while also optimizing many areas of your physical and mental health by default.