The Keto diet has been all the rage in the past few years as a weight loss tool and to bolster overall health such as blood sugar control. It can be quite confusing to know what combination of carbohydrates, protein, and fat is best for you to reach your individual goals.
Whether it be to lose weight, gain muscle, or do both, the proportions of these three macronutrients are pivotal for success.
To help you out, this article will cover the science behind the Keto diet and offer a step-by-step guide to figure out your perfect carb, protein, fat ratio for weight loss and muscle gain.
We’ll also look into why it’s essential to identify your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) and Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE). By the end, you’ll be prepared to create a personalized Keto diet meal plan that’ll get you to where you want to be. So, let’s have some fun on this Keto journey!
What Are Macros And how Are They Important?
Macros or macronutrients are the main focus of our diets – protein, carbohydrates, and fats. They’re like the leading actors of the nutrition world, while other vitamins and minerals are more like the supporting cast.
If you’re diving into Keto, you’re probably looking to eat a lot of fat and very few carbs, usually fewer than 50g a day. This form of eating puts the body into a metabolic state called ketosis, where it burns fat instead of carbs for energy. Here’s the macronutrient breakdown for the Keto diet: fat should make up 70-75% of your daily calorie intake, protein should take up 20-25%, and the remaining 5-10% should come from carbohydrates.
So, what exactly are carbohydrates? They’re a type of molecule made up of sugar units, and they come in three forms: simple, complex carbs and fiber
Simple carbs are your candy, cakes, and cookies- they’re quick sources of energy, but they don’t stick around for long. Complex carbs are your fruits, veggies, and whole grains- they provide a slow release of energy and keep us feeling full for longer. Finally, let’s talk about fiber- it’s a type of carb that’s essential for good digestion and gut health.
Carbohydrates play a major role in the body, from giving us energy to sustaining our muscle glycogen and keeping the brain and nervous system running. But not all carbs are the same, and some, such as sugary and heavily processed foods, can have a detrimental effect on our health.
For those on the Keto diet, being conscious of carb intake is a must, since the aim of the diet is to restrict carbs and enter a state of ketosis, wherein the body uses fat as its main source of fuel. That’s why the daily intake of carbohydrates should be held to only 5-10% of total calories. As a result, it’s important to watch the types of carbs consumed and to make sure you’re you don’t exceed the daily limit.
Foods that are rich in carbs such as grains, sugar, and starchy vegetables should be kept to a minimum and more emphasis should be placed on consuming healthy fats and proteins. For a detailed beginner’s guide on Keto, check out our other article here.
Proteins are made up of long chains of amino acids. It’s an essential part of our body’s functioning, from forming muscle mass to keeping our metabolism and bones healthy. It’s also necessary for the manufacture of hormones, enzymes, and the upkeep of the immune system.
For those on the Keto diet, protein is a critical macro-nutrient to focus on. This diet is all about a high intake of nourishing fats and a low consumption of carbs, which shifts the body into a state of ketosis where it burns fat for fuel rather than carbohydrates.
To sustain this metabolic state, it is important to take in sufficient protein to preserve lean muscle mass, but not too much that it throws the body out of ketosis. For the Keto diet, the recommended amount of protein is 1-1.5 grams per kilogram of body weight.
Fats are a type of macronutrient that is essential for good health. They play many important roles in the body, including providing energy, helping absorb certain vitamins and minerals, and maintaining cell structure. Fats also help regulate hormones and keep our skin and hair healthy.
If you’re on the Keto diet, fats are the main course- they make up 70-75% of your daily calorie intake making you burn fat for energy and helping you lose weight in the process.
Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are considered ‘healthy’ fats. They can aid in the maintenance of healthy cholesterol levels.
Keto sources of monounsaturated fats include:
· Olive oil
· Nuts butter such as Almond butter and macadamia nut butter
Keto foods containing omega-3 are plenty of polyunsaturated fats. They include:
· Fatty fish such as Salmon, mackerel, and sardines
· Shellfish such as oysters and crab
· Chia seeds
· Hemp seeds
Omega-6s also contain polyunsaturated fat but you shouldn’t consume too much omega-6 than omega-3 to avoid inflammation. Some healthy omega-6s for Keto include:
· Sunflower seeds
· Free-range eggs
· Olives and olive oil
· Grass-fed beef
· Pumpkin seed
Trans fats, on the other hand, are regarded as ‘unhealthy’ fats. They are solid at room temperature and can raise ‘bad’ cholesterol levels in the blood. Trans fats are synthetic fats found in commercial baked goods like cakes, and cookies, as well as fried foods like French fries, and doughnuts.
Calculating Macros for Low-Carb Diet
How do I calculate my macros for low carb? Calculating your low-carb macros for fat loss or muscle gain may be a wonderful approach to ensure you’re receiving the nutrients you need while still meeting your health goals. On a low-carb diet, you should strive for a reduced carbohydrate intake and a higher protein and fat intake.
A typical low-carb diet might include 20-50 grams of carbs per day, or 5-10% of total daily calories.
To calculate your macros for a low-carb diet, you can use our free calorie calculator to help you start your low-carb journey
How To Calculate Keto Macros for Weight Loss
If you’re asking how do I calculate my macro to lose weight? And also wondering what the perfect carb, protein, fat ratio for weight loss and muscle gain is for people on Keto? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
Step 1: Determine Your BMR
Your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) is the amount of energy (in calories) that your body requires for its everyday operations. It’s an indicator of how much energy is used up to keep things like breathing, circulation, and cell production going.
Factors like your gender, activity level and weight all play a role in the final figure you get when you calculate your BMR. You can use our free keto calculator to calculate your Keto Macros or you can use the Mifflin-St Jeor Equation given below if you’re feeling adventurous:
BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) = 10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (years) + 5 (for men) or -161 (for women)
Let’s consider an example of a 35-year-old woman who weighs 70 kg and is 170 cm tall. Her BMR would be calculated as follows:
BMR = 10 x 70 + 6.25 x 170 – 5 x 35 – 161 = 10 x 70 + 1062.5 – 175 – 161 = 700 + 887.5 – 336 = 1261.5
Step 2: Determine Your Total Daily Energy expenditure (TDEE).
TDEE, which stands for Total Daily Energy Expenditure, is a measure of how many calories a person uses up in a day. It considers a person’s Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) plus the energy used for physical activity and other non-resting activities.
TDEE provides a more complete description of a person’s daily energy requirements, incorporating the calories burned through exercise, work, and other daily tasks. To calculate TDEE, you multiply your BMR by a factor that reflects your level of physical activity.
If you have a sedentary lifestyle (no or little exercise), use a factor of 1.2; if you’re lightly active (like playing sports one to three days a week), set it to 1.375.
If you’re moderately active (moderate exercise or sports three to five days a week), use 1.55; if you’re very active (hard exercise or sports six to seven days a week), utilize 1.725; and if you are extremely active (tough exercise or sports and a job that requires a lot of physical activity or double training), use 1.9.
Now that Sarah has calculated her BMR, next she needs to calculate her TDEE which takes into account her BMR and physical activity level.
Let’s consider our 35-year-old woman as moderately active, her TDEE would be approximately 1.55 x BMR = 1.55 x 1261.5 = 1953.
Step 3: Determine Keto Micronutrient Ratio
The ideal Keto Macros ratio is typically 70% fat, 25% protein, and 5% carbohydrates. This is because the Keto diet aims to reduce carbohydrate intake and increase fat intake to put the body in a state of ketosis where it burns fat for energy.
Step 4: Calculate the number of grams for each macronutrient
For our 35-year-old woman, if her TDEE is 1953, she would need:
Fat: 1953 x 0.7 = 1367.1 calories from fat, which is approximately 152 grams of fat since fats have 9 calories each.
Protein: 1953 x 0.25 = 488.25 calories from protein, which is approximately 122 grams of protein since proteins have 4 calories.
Carbohydrates: 1953 x 0.05 = 97.65 calories from carbohydrates, which is approximately 24 grams of carbohydrates since carbs have 4 calories each.
Step 5: Eat your heart out (in moderation, of course)!
Now that you have your macronutrient targets, it’s time to hit the grocery store and start planning your meals.
How To Calculate Keto Macros for Muscle Gain
The Keto Macros for Muscle Gain are slightly different from the Keto Macros for weight loss. In the Keto diet for muscle gain, the focus is on building and maintaining muscle mass while still being in a state of ketosis. The ideal macronutrient ratio for this purpose is 60% fat, 35% protein, and 5% carbohydrates.
Let’s say your TDEE is 2500 calories, you would therefore need:
Fat: 2500 x 0.6 = 1500 calories from fat, which is approximately 167 grams of fat.
Protein: 2500 x 0.35 = 875 calories from protein, which is approximately 220 grams of protein.
Carbohydrates: 2500 x 0.05 = 125 calories from carbohydrates, which is approximately 31 grams of carbohydrates.
How to Track Macros
It’s one thing to count your macros, but it’s another to ensure you’re tracking them accurately to ensure you get the perfect carb, protein fat ratio for weight loss and muscle gain. To avoid losing this game, here are a few tips: firstly, invest in an app like MyFitnessPal or My Macros+.
The latter enables you to keep track of your daily macro consumption while also creating tailored meal plans – perfect for hitting specific macro goals.
You can also get creative with tracking them yourself. Get a notepad and jot down the macros that come with each meal or snack. Or if you’re feeling up for a challenge, count those carbs in your head – it’s like playing hide-and-seek but more fun (and filling). Whatever you pick, make sure you know exactly how much of each macro you should be taking in every day!
Weight Loss and Muscle Gain in Women. Is it different from Men?
Even if you’ve mastered the science of macronutrients, there’s still the matter of the gender gap when it comes to muscle gain and weight loss. Men and women can both benefit from macronutrients—and you should definitely be paying attention to them—but there are some fundamental differences between the two.
For starters, men tend to gain muscle more easily than women—they usually have more testosterone on their side, after all! While it’s possible for women to gain muscle, it will likely take longer and require more precise macronutrient tracking.
Women’s weight loss goals are often different too: they require fewer calories than men and are more likely to focus on burning fat in a healthy manner rather than just cutting down on calories altogether. So ladies, embrace the details of macros – your body will thank you!
How To Lose Weight While Building Muscle Mass
The key to losing fat while building muscle is a simple concept called “calories in, calories out.” Basically, you need to be in a calorie deficit, meaning you consume fewer calories than you burn, to lose fat. At the same time, you need to be in a calorie surplus, meaning you consume more calories than you burn, to build muscle.
So, how do you balance these two opposing forces? Easy! Just make a smaller calorie surplus! That way, you’re still building muscle, but not enough to offset the calorie deficit, which will help you lose fat.
But wait, there’s more! You also need to ensure that you’re getting enough protein, carbohydrates, and fats to support your muscle-building goals. And, of course, you need to incorporate a weight training routine and get enough rest. In this way, you’ll be able to achieve lean mass gains and lose fat simultaneously.
How Do Weight loss and Muscle gain goals differ in people following the Keto diet?
People on a ketogenic diet have different weight loss and muscle gain goals than those on a balanced diet because the focus and macronutrient ratios are different.
Keto dieters typically strive to achieve and maintain ketosis, a state in which the body burns fat for energy rather than carbohydrates. To accomplish this, they adhere to a high-fat, low-carb, moderate-protein diet, which results in a significant decrease in carbohydrate intake and an increase in fat intake.
This macronutrient ratio differs from the balanced approach to weight loss and muscle gain, which typically consists of a moderate-fat, moderate-carbohydrate, and moderate-protein diet.
If you’re a Keto dieter or looking to start Keto, we have a Keto Calculator to help you calculate your macros.
FAQs About Weight Loss and Muscle Gain
Is it better to lose fat or gain muscle first?
The optimal strategy will depend on your body composition, degree of fitness, and personal objectives, but generally speaking, if you have a lot of excess weight to shed, it’s best to concentrate on losing fat first.
This is due to the fact that it might be challenging to perceive the muscle definition that you are developing with weightlifting and other strength-training exercises when you have a considerable level of body fat. Additionally, shedding fat first can enhance general health and facilitate muscle gain afterward.
However, if you’re currently a healthy weight and only need to reduce a tiny amount of fat, you might prefer to prioritize muscle growth first. Your metabolism may be boosted as a result, laying the groundwork for future fat loss.
What is the best Keto macro split for fat loss and muscle gain?
It largely depends on the individual, but a good starting point would be 70% fat, 25% protein, and 5% fat. If you want to make adjustments to this, consider your age, gender, weight, and activity level. But don’t forget, it’s not just about the macro split, you also need to pay attention to the quality of the food – aim for healthy fat sources such as Extra Virgin Oil, Avocados.
Why am I gaining muscle but not losing fat?
Well, it’s because they’re two totally distinct processes, influenced by various factors. Here’s why you might be seeing gains but no losses:
If you’re taking in more calories than your body expels, you’ll probably put on weight. To drop fat, you gotta create a calorie deficit.
Strength training will help you bulk up, but if you wanna ditch the fat, add some cardio and other forms of exercise to up your heart rate and burn calories.
Protein is essential for building muscle, but it can also lead to a caloric surplus if you’re not careful.
Everyone reacts differently to exercise and nutrition, so some people may have a tougher time losing fat or bulking up.
In conclusion, achieving the perfect Carb, Protein, Fat ratio for weight loss and muscle gain on the Keto diet. The key is to determine your BMR and TDEE, and then calculate the number of grams for each macronutrient based on your personal goals.
While the ideal Keto Macros ratio for weight loss is 70% fat, 25% protein, and 5% carbohydrates, the ideal ratio for muscle gain is 60% fat, 35% protein, and 5% carbohydrates. However, it’s important to remember that everybody is different and may require different amounts of each macronutrient.
You should monitor and adjust your macronutrient ratio regularly to ensure optimal results and stay in ketosis. With the right Carb, Protein, and Fat ratio, you can successfully achieve your weight loss or muscle gain goals on the Keto diet.